Comments (not given) at last night's School Committee meeting

Here are my intended remarks to the South Kingstown School Committee yesterday (Dev 8). Due to the meeting running late I was not able to stay until the Community Comment portion of the meeting. (I left at 9:30, some 2 hours into the meeting.)

Good evening,

When I have first considered speaking at tonight's meeting I intended to address the Strategic Plan. I wanted to raise concerns that the Plan does not address long term financial planning, long term physical infrastructure planning, nor long term technology infrastructure planning -- a rapidly increasing and continuing cost.

I was hoping that today's agenda would have an updated Plan that at least addressed adding an historical perspective on the changes with regard to the 2010-2015 Plan. This perspective was requested at the last SC meeting by committee members. Unfortunately, the agenda does not include a copy of the Plan and so I have to assume that it has not changed.

But then I realized how large the meeting's agenda was and I wondering how a 3 hour meeting was going to cover

  • Dual Language Initiative,
  • Late Start Survey Results,
  • PARCC results,
  • Grading Policy,
  • Strategic Plan,
  • Resolutions to the General Assembly,
  • the recognitions,
  • the pro forma actions,
  • ...

Any one of these subjects should be expected to have significant discussion and take up many hours. And for the community we can not address the SC for more than 3 minutes. 3 minutes to cover 8 subjects with all their entangled details. I clean my teeth for 3 minutes. How can I or anyone else speak to the agenda's issues in such a short time?

How can I ask for a statement of the progress of replacing Simone Palmer's role of 1:1 leadership and STEM coordination?

How can I point out that the proposed grading policy does not allow for summative grading range that does not have a zero? That is, it has no bottom.

How can I point out that the PARCC results speak to a very bad test design and a very bad vendor review?

How can the HS score of 29.5 in Math and 38.3 in Literacy be anything but a dismal showing even in relation to other school districts?

How can we have wasted so much instructional time, money, and energy on PARCC?

So I have decided to address the issue of pacing for the SC meetings.

My understanding is that the Thursday before the public meeting the chairwoman and the Superintendent set the meeting's agenda. Why pack in so much? The SC members non-verbal communication, body language, clearly reveal the weight of the material to cover.

Is there too much to cover in the number of scheduled meetings?

Luckily, the 2016 Meeting Schedule is is also on tonight's agenda. This schedule is notable for its lack of information on the known work for the 2016 year's meetings and the number of open time slots per meeting. This seems to be a minimum aid to help guide the pacing of the SC's work.

Let's not bump the Strategic Plan from its next meeting, its 3rd "first reading" meeting.

Thank you for your attention this evening.