Friday, June 22, 2012

Before we start blaming parents - let's make sure that the District is doing what they are required to do to include them...

Board Policy 8:96 Community Relations - Parental Involvement adopted Aug 18, 2008
In order to insure collaborative relationships between students' families and the Board of Education and District personnel, and to enable parent(s)/guardian(s) to become active partners in education, the Superintendent shall develop administrative procedures to:

1. Keep parent(s)/guardian(s) thoroughly informed about their child's school and education (09/18/08) School Board Proceedings 45

2. Encourage involvement in their child's school and education.

3. Establish effective two-way communication between all families and Board of Education and District personnel.

4. Seek input from parent(s)/guardian(s) on significant school-related issues.

5. Inform parents/guardians on how they can assist their children's learning.

6. Train district staff to work with and accept input from diverse groups of parents/guardians. The superintendent shall periodically report to the Board on the implementation of this policy.

District Parent Involvement
1. District 150's district plan, its parental involvement policies and the district's process for reviewing its district plan must all be jointly developed by and agreed upon with the parents of the district's participating children, including parents of participating children enrolled in private schools.

2. The District will inform all Administrators, staff and parents of District 150's Parent Involvement Policy, changes to that policy and opportunities to participate in the eduction of children.

3. District 150 must submit any parental comments with the District's plan when it is submitted to the State if the plan is not satisfactory to the parents of participating children.

4. District 150 shall establish a District Parental Involvement Committee comprised of representatives for all District programs, including preschool, along with representatives from groups such as Even Start and Head Start. This committee shall meet at least one time per semester.

5. Each District 150 school Principal shall establish a parental advisory committee consisting of parents, teachers, staff and administrators. This committee shall be involved in decisions regarding how the District uses funds to increase parental involvement.

6. Each District 150 school shall develop a plan for building strong parental involvement programs. This plan shall be included with the school's overall SIP plan.

7. Each District 150 school will actively promote appropriate professional development programs for teachers,parents,pupil services personnel, administrators, and other staff in order to raise the academic standards and performance of the students.

8. The District 150 administration will provide technical assistance and materials to the schools as they support district parents to help promote learning at home.

9. Each District 150 school shall require parents of participating children to provide necessary feedback and suggestions for planning, developing and implementing effective programs. The responsibilities of the school and parents as partners in education will be outlined in a signed school/parent compact.

10. The District 150 administration will provide regularly scheduled conferences for teachers to communicate actively with parents and actively involve the parents in the school curriculum.

11. The District 150 administration will coordinate the district program and collaborate with other agencies providing services to children, youth and families including health and social services.

12. The District 150 staff will provide services to eligible children in private schools and hold timely and meaningful consultations with private school officials and the parents of participating schools.

13. The District 150 administration will be responsible for verifying that the district carries out parental involvement requirements as mandated by law.

14. District 150 Schools will annually measure the progress that students are making towards meeting State student performance standards through the use of high quality student assessments and report the information to parents, students and teachers.

15. The District 150 Parent Involvement Advisory Committee will annually evaluate the effectiveness of the district's parental involvement policy.

16. The District 150 administration will use the evaluation findings in designing strategies for school improvement and in existing parental involvement policies at the District and school levels.

CROSS REF: 6.250 (Community Resource Persons and Volunteers), 8.90 (Parent Organisations) ADOPTED: August 18, 2008 On roll call, 6 ayes. Motion carried.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Four more years of Us vs. Them? For the sake of the children in this District, I hope not...

"Meet me half-way, but don't use hate to criticize. 
If you're going to criticize be constructive about it, but don't use hate to do that."

I don't think it's a stretch to say that many teachers and members of the Peoria community are saddened by the fact that last night, the Board  of Education (BOE), extended the contract for Superintendent Grenita Lathan for four (4) more years.

I'm thinking that this BOE must be privy to some pretty interesting data about progress, if they made this decision. You people in comments who keep talking about not making AYP, this move by the BOE would indicate that we will be seeing improvement (because we know they already have preliminary scores).

All pull quotes are from the Ungurait deposition, click images to enlarge.
Citizens should be able to expect that the BOE reviewed their employee and acted in the best interest of their constituents when making this decision.

It sometimes seems as though the BOE and Administration is caught up in a bubble (or some may say ivory tower), the Us vs. Them bubble and as a result, doing what's best for the children gets lost. I know people (especially on blogs), say mean things about them, but that kind of goes along with the territory of being a change agent, doesn't it? They just seem to be a little too busy being defiant, you can see it on their faces and in their posture.


Surely they know that every citizen in Peoria is not against them, but that doesn't stop them from constantly using fighting words and double entendres to hit at certain people, every single time the camera is in their face. It's just not nice, it's not good customer service and for the money we are paying, we deserve better.


We have seen in the Ungurait deposition allegations of the mean spirit that permeates through the District. When the Superintendent gets awarded a very nice contract, (thanks to the taxes of citizens of Peoria) did she step up and smile and say anything nice? No, she didn't; instead she came across very defiant, almost (dare I say), angry. I really expected better. It's past time to rise above the drama - that interview could have been a new start. Unfortunately, it seemed like a promise of more of the same (with just a hint of...  or, you can kiss my ***).

Quotes from the Ungurait deposition, click to enlarge.
The Superintendent says that she would like to receive constructive criticism that is not riddled with hate, that's a reasonable request. I hope that in reviewing her, extending her contract and then giving her a raise, that her employers (the BOE) asked her to at least give her employees and citizens of this community the same respect.


However, judging from the most recent television interview, I doubt that discussing the issue of civility with the Superintendent was a part of the BOE's decision.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cut if off! Why not just ask the cook to wear a hair net?


You don't have to look far these days to see somebody sporting a full head of dreads; they are all the rage among black men and women of all ages. Within my family alone, I have at least four relatives who are sporting beautiful, luscious dreadLOCKs.

Dreads are not a trend. Everybody I know with dreads have had them for at least the last 3-5 years. Do they have some religious connotations? Perhaps, but probably not in the ways of the true Rastafarian. In the case of most black women I know, these "dread locks" are actually called 'sister locks."

There is a difference between Dreadlocks, Traditional Locks, and Sisterlocks.

Par-A-Dice job applicant
Many people believe that locks are all the same. But there are key differences in both the appearance of locks and the techniques used to create locks. Although there are various types of locks, the 3 discussed below are Dreadlocks, Traditional Locks, and Sisterlocks™.

Dreadlocks are associated most closely with the Rastafarian movement. Dreadlocks are often very large in size and require virtually no maintenance for people with tightly coiled hair. There is no particular parting structure implemented during the locking process. With dreadlocks the hair simply grows and mats together in random areas throughout the hair.

local high school teacher
Traditional locks tend to be smaller than Dreadlocks and require hair products such as gel, shea butter, beeswax or other softening agents to start and maintain. Deliberate parts are made at the scalp to separate the hair and to enhance styling options. Because soften agents are applied to traditional locks, clients are required to wait several months before washing their hair.

Sisterlocks are even smaller than traditional locks. Sisterlocks generally range from 400 to 800 locks and require a specific parting structure that allows for maximum styling options. Sisterlocks are installed utilizing a weaving technique and patented tool. Sisterlocks do not require hair-dressing. 

Because Sisterlocks do not utilize gels, grease, shea butter, or any other softening agents, the hair remains light in weight as the hair grows longer.
Superintendent of Schools

There is a new term in the black community, that I am absolutely in love with... it is "transitioning." Yes, the Movement is on... ladies are putting down the perms, and the men are no longer cutting all of their hair down. We are growing out our beautiful wavy hair in many ways and locks are just one of them. Just like I have relatives with dreads locks, I also have several relatives that are now sporting Afros - my beautiful daughter included.

Dreads Locks are hair too! Asking an employee to cut off their dreads locks to get a job is senseless. Simply requiring an employee to wear a hair net - regardless of the hairstyle would solve the problem. In my opinion, if a potential employer is asking the potential employee to cut their dreads, they are hoping you walk away.

I am personally offended that the Par-A-Dice has now decided that they will be questioning folks about the nature of their dreads locks. Hopefully they will re-examine this practice and move away from it. However, this being Peoria, I doubt they will.

Dreadlocks prevented Peorian from getting Par-A-Dice job.