Wow! All of a sudden everyone is doing Community Meetings.
From the Board Calendar section of the School Board meeting agenda:
District II Community Meeting (Carr), Saturday, September 19, 8:30-10a, Greenwood Neighborhood Service Center (8515 Greenwood Av N)
District I Community Meeting (Maier), Saturday, September 19, 10:30a-noon, Lake City Public Library (12501 – 28th Av NE)
District V Community Meeting (Bass), Friday, September 25, 6-9p, Garfield Community Center (2323 E Cherry)
District III Community Meeting (Martin-Morris), Saturday, September 26, 9:30-11:30a, Diva Espresso (Lake City Way & 80th NE)
So, to be fair, Mary Bass has been doing her community meetings nearly every month for eight years. Harium has been keeping "office hours" at a Coffee House on about a monthly basis as well.
But it is something to see Directors Carr and *gasp* Maier doing community meetings in September.
I don't know what structure these meetings will take, but I presume there will be some opportunity for conversation. Since those extended silences in a conversation can be awkward, here are a couple of things you could ask - just to keep the talk rolling:
The Board is supposed to get quarterly updates on the progress of the Strategic Plan, but hasn't had one since March 11th. What benefit came from skipping a quarter?
Speaking of quarterly Strategic Plan updates, why aren't most of the projects meeting the Community Engagement Protocols? Why are so many of the projects so far behind schedule (district dashboard, science curriculum alignment, performance management, school scorecards, etc.)? Where are the timelines and detailed action plans for each project that were supposed to be posted to the District's web site?
Someone could ask Director Maier if he has voted against a staff recommendation yet. I don't believe he has.
You could ask them if they think that accountabily has been improved in the District. If they say yes, as they almost certainly will, ask them to provide you with an actual example of accountability from the past year. I can't remember one. Ask them if the schools in the Southeast Initiative have met their accountability goals and what have been the consequences of failing to meet them.
I would really love to know how it was possible for the District to report in January that we have all of the space we need for north-end middle school students through the year 2013, and then, just a couple months later, to report that we are totally out of space in the north-end middle schools. Doesn't that call into question all of the data used in the capacity management project? Doesn't that call into question the decision to move 200 APP students into Hamilton?
Does the District want to match capacity to demand? If so, then why haven't they added capacity in the North-end to meet demand? Why haven't they added capacity in alternative programs to meet demand? Why, instead, did they close alternative programs and reduce the available capacity in the north-end through program placement decisions?
Speaking of program placement decisions, why did the Board accept the non-explanation of program placement decisions? Why didn't the Board demand a rationale for each of them? Why isn't the north-end elementary APP site in the north-end?
Ask the board members if they are in favor or opposition to Social Promotion. They will almost certainly say they oppose it. Then you can ask them why they haven't taken any steps against it.
Ask them if they are in favor of equitable access to programs. They will almost certainly say they are. Ask them why nearly every school north of downtown has an advanced learning program while hardly any schools south of downtown has them. Ask them how the new student assignment plan provides equitable access to language immersion programs (it doesn't). Ask them how the new student assignment plan provides equitable access to Montessori programs (it doesn't).
Oh the questions you could ask.