I did manage to hand out information about TFA to about 25 people and only one of them had heard of it (and he was a teacher). I had to leave before the "reports out" but here's what I wrote Tracy:
- I think maybe you should not do as big/long an overview. I think parents were confused and it seemed to take a lot of time. It's not that it wasn't good information but I think parents want the time to ask questions and/or discuss.
- I think the number of transition plan topics are too many. I think you should be asking about geographic zones, open choice seats, and capacity and building management/utilization. I think asking parents, especially in other regions, about West Seattle or Rainier Beach or Garfield isn't going to help you or them. I think the majority of parents want to know about the zones, the open choice seats, non-attendance area siblings but most of all how we are going to face capacity management are really the key issues.
- Which brings me to the discussion tables. My suggestion is to scale back the topics (see above and depending on region) and then ask people if they want to self-divide into one topic tables. I got the feeling from my table that some people really wanted to suss out middle/high school capacity issues. It might get you some better info/suggestions if people do want to concentrate their efforts in this way. You could still have a couple of tables where any/all topics could be discussed.
- Also, I thought you were pretty clear about the non-attendance area sibling issue and surge capacity being maxed out but maybe you should just state what you did say last night and tell people that's it. Meaning, you said that there is no ability to do more surge capacity this school year BUT that some attendance area sibs do get in. Then say, we really can't and won't be able to do more. Because while I see it wasn't on the topic list, it came up anyway and I didn't know how to tell this guy that there wasn't much more that could be done.
I am hoping that things might be tweaked by the next meeting. I really think there might be more useful information/suggestions to come out of these meetings for both the Board and the staff if there were more time for questions/discussion, fewer table topics, and one-topic tables for those who want to discuss just one thing (with a couple of tables for those who want to discuss all topics).