Meeting Notes (Feb. 27, 2019)
Click to download the meeting notes and documentation from Feb. 27, 2019
Approximately 45 parents and community members attended the first parent conversation held on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.
The session started with a welcome from Dr. Dave Webb, SSP superintendent, and was followed by a discussion of the purpose of the session, including desired goals and effects, by facilitator Susan Brott, director of communications.
- Share current efforts underway in SSPPS
- Acknowledge concerns and clarify misconceptions
- Engage parents in solutions
- Inform future engagements and partnership activities
- New awareness and deepening insights
- Build shared agreement around ways to improve
- Generate energy and excitement to make improvements
NOTE: The original agenda included time set aside for generating suggestions and solutions to help improve the climate and student support system in SSP Schools. However, given the engagement and involvement of the group, the facilitator opted to set that work aside for a future session so as to allow more time to process concerns, appreciations and questions.
Introductions were then made by district leaders and resource personnel who were present (including principals, district administration, counselors, and school resource officers). Additionally, four SSP School Board members were present to listen to the discussion.
Brott gave a brief contextual presentation highlighting the current reality as known by district leaders, what leaders have heard thus far from parents and community members about the current climate in SSP, and some clarifications of potential misconceptions circulating in the community. This context setting helped set the stage for the next phase of the session, which focused on gathering insights and information from participants.
Participants were asked to talk in small groups and identify responses to three questions:
- What CONCERNS do you have?
- What do you APPRECIATE about what the district is doing?
- What QUESTIONS do you still have?
Groups were then asked to share their top concerns, appreciations and questions for the large group. Clarifying discussions were then held to ensure that all ideas were captured and understood.
Participants identified the following concerns about the climate and culture of SSP Schools:
- Behavior expectations: How are they defined and taught to students? What if they are not followed?
- Are cameras being used effectively?
- Restorative space for those disrupting classroom learning
- Restorative justice disappeared
- Need 7-period day to have time for health class and electives
- Ability to support staff to discipline in the classroom
- Lunchtime: not enough time to eat; basic needs not being met
- Student confidentiality threat
- Child feels discipline isn’t hard enough
- What are staff allowed to do related to discipline?
- Follow through with promise (i.e. kids not supposed to be in class)
- Follow through say do things (i.e. child not suppose to be in class with bully)
- Holding staff accountable for rules, policies, and laws
- Child not comfortable with her counselor
- Testing, overvalue on testing
- Failure to follow laws. No bullying records kept.
- Accountability of all staff to talk to parent directly about issues. (i.e. specialists)
- Lost academic learning due to ongoing behaviors in classroom
- Better communication
- Partnership between parent/teacher regarding discipline
- This process is killing the purpose of a community forum. People want to be heard.
- Too many punitive actions and responses to age appropriate behavior
- Support in classrooms for kids with challenging behavior so it does not impact other students and each have their needs met
- Opportunities for students performing above grade level
- Students of all levels having the ability to be in a productive learning environment. Not just IB or honors.
- Behaviors and supervision in less structured areas
- Bullying and safety threats
- Discipline problem = perception problem
- Support in classrooms for behavioral challenges
- Behavior and suspension of students with behavioral needs
- Ratio of students to support staff
- The adults are modeling poor behavior and bullying on social media
- Overwhelmed, overloaded staff - how is burnout addressed
- Over-valuing testing and too focused on college
- Not sure how my kid is always doing in school
- Lack of parent accountability for child’s behavior
- Parent has to get outside diagnosis for IEP in school even when teacher says it’s needed
- Outside specialist to get diagnosis for IEP even when child’s teacher says child needs it.
- Need to have a 504 to get rice milk
- Lack of anti-bullying program
- Vaping in school
- Opportunities for students who are performing above grade level.
- Supervision in the lunchroom and on the playground
- Lack of representation of diversity in leadership
Participants identified the following appreciations about what is currently happening in SSP Schools:
- Staff that take the time to get to know my child and me
- Dedication of teachers
- Extra activities offered during the school day
- Amazing teachers who really care
- The dedication I see staff put into their profession
- Staff at the CLC
- CLC fights for kids to succeed and they show they care
- Mrs. Moore, Stickler, Jaakola (special ed) are the best.
- Meetings like this. Caring principals.
- Caring, committed staff
- Presence of police at dismissal at elementary and SROs in our schools
- Acknowledgment of educational and behavioral issues by staff
- Career pathways
- High levels of student achievement. IB program.
- Appreciate IB program and sticking with what works.
- The addition of counselors and student support workers
- ACP partnership is a plus for student support and supportive to teach skills for student learning.
- Appreciate this opportunity.
- More community involvement for secondary needed.
- ACP partnership is a plus
- Programs around food and needs (i.e. free breakfast and food distribution)
- Lots of extra-curricular choices for many interests
(note that an FAQ to answer many of these questions is in development and will be posted here soon)
Participants identified the following questions about the climate and culture of SSP Schools:
- What are the supports for the teachers? For their wellness?
- How can we increase recess, lunchtime and physical education?
- As parents, how do we know about expectations regarding behavior?
- How/when/where are specialists used/involved?
- How do we have representation in staff that better matches our student population?
- How do things vary between buildings regarding discipline, support, what is tolerated, and admin/staff/student relations
- What’s the level of follow-up with parents, teachers, students, after a discipline issue?
- What’s the level of follow-up with parents, teachers, students relative to discipline?
- How is the transition going to the middle school model?
- What are the action steps for moving forward and creating change?
- Overwhelmed, overloaded staff
- $1.3 million per year for November 2017 referendum. Where does it go?
- How is academic progress monitored? Low or higher?
- Is there a consistent expectation for homework?
- How do we encourage and support a more diverse turn out by our parents to functions/meetings?
- How many special education students are open enrolled? Cost? Why are needs unable to be met in home district? Impact?
- It might be worthwhile to have a separate elementary and secondary dialogues.
- When do you stop pushing the victim?
- Can child change counselors if not comfortable?
- What are the plans if a threat is made during the school day?
- What is your plan with the innocent classroom grant?
- What is the appropriate response to concerns by the district?
- What are trend statistics on disciplinary issues at the schools?
- Are we following handbook policies on behavior? Admin support?
The meeting closed with a commitment on behalf of the district to continue the conversation with parents, as well as hold similar listening sessions with students and staff. Meeting information will be archived on the district’s website at www.sspps.org/PSS-SSP. There the district will also build an FAQ to help address and answer questions raised at the sessions.
The district has tentatively set aside Thursday, March 28 for the next parent listening session. Confirmation and additional information will be shared with the community when details are finalized.