Thursday, March 19, 2015

North High update

Superintendent Boone: tonight's update is to report on the common themes that have been seen through meetings with teachers, parents, and students
met with 100 students, then with entire junior class: discuss issuess North is taing, and the safety plan as it is unfolding
very clear set of themes across group of parents, teachers, students
"North is a great school and there are a lot of great things that are going on at North."
"of particular note...has been common agreement that there are students who have chosen to be disruptive"
"that is a clear challenge at the school"
"learning of what is making a difference at the school" with hall monitoring, lead teacher
fewer students out of class, bathrooms open on every floor (positive for students)
issues of consistency as it relates to application of Student Code of Conduct
"the actions associated with those is resulting in greater cooperation of students"
transitions, managing transitions better
faculty increased presense at classroom doors during passing time
police liaison presense at school being evaluated on an ongoing basis: police are there in a liaison role, "not as an occupying force"
meeting with families of students who have received a significant number of referrals to discuss impact of student on school
"the right to a public education, but the right not to interrupt everyone else's education in the process"
98% of students are in a place to learn, and that's the right place to be
small number of students who have become the disruption
what do students want to see happen at their school? Not having the 2% of the students being disruptive getting 100% of the media attention
safety and improvement team lead by lead teacher
climate and culture committee
both made by students, parents, and teachers to talk about community and culture
"greatest place for change for North High School takes place wtihin the halls of North High School"

Lisa Dyer, principal: North High School is a great school with an extremely hard-worker staff and wonderful students
work very hard to educate every student
many students are self-motivated, others need extra help: welcome both
"hope to set record straight"
"victim of four bomb threats this year" why people think we are the perpetrators, also, is beyond me
have fights, more than we'd like, sometimes staff get hurt in breaking up
none of conflicts are random
appropriate discipline as under state and federal law
"kid have come a long way"
love kids and want the best for them
appreciate concern students and teachers
role model respectful behavior
mentor a North High student
attend school council meetings second Wednesday at 6 pm
make informed judgment rather than judging secondhand
"come to North High to see why I have always felt safe at work"

Lead Teacher for Safety
"along with my colleagues, establishing and maintaining a school environment" where students can learn
physical environment, schoolwide protocols
crtical areas for safety in the building: hallways and lunchtime
adjustment to protocols for students and staff: assigned duties to gaps that existed
a lot more work to do, but thus far (might seem minor, but these are big things in terms of how the school flows):
  • open hallways, traffic out of halls during classways: bathrooms open on all four floors (bathroom monitor also monitors hallway)
  • bathroom passes are colored by floor, thus students can't wander unchecked
  • bathroom swipe machine: eliminates lingering 
  • hall monitors have walkie-talkies
  • nurse seeing fewer visitors, as well
  • more faculty on hall duty in the building; rearranging duties (plus additional IAs)
  • three monitors during lunch period: students in lunch or alternative solution
  • three monitors during first and last period
  • students not allowed passes out first and last ten minutes of class
  • protocols to see support staff 
  • safer lunch: evaluated classes that were coming into lunch; lunches redistributed based on size
  • additional support staff for duties: spread across cafeteria
  • cell phones, hats, outerwear...students held accountable for policies; reenforced each day
  • protocol and consequences for misbehavior
  • reprinting IDs for students who have lost or creating for students who don't have
  • phone list in every classroom for support staff
  • class cuts and tardies: teachers felt strongly about; protocols pending discussion with administration
  • climate and culture: students have taken charge on commitment to kindness: students and faculty valued 
  • boys and girls groups still running
  • academic interventions, especially for seniors
"creating a sustainable growth...deserve time to thrive...appreciate support received thus far"
Boone: "if you listen to what has happened with our students on a daily basis; faculty seeing change"
not using issues to divide
incoming eighth grade parents coming to dinner on Wednesday

Priscilla, student at North High: it's not fair to a lot of students and many adults
police in building: more of a chance that students will be arrested if something happens
North is a very good school
every morning, start with quotes of kindness
groups on Wednesdays for students who struggle with anger
downsize classes
"North deserves to be appreciated instead of trashed"

Chris Robarge, ACLU
getting reports from folks we just heard from was informative and helpful
a snowball effect on how the school function
comment quickly on cameras: awaiting legal review, do not support streaming to police station
understand and appreciate comments of superintendent on police
what we do know from school-based arrests: if there are more police in the schools, there are more arrests in the schools, tend to be for public order offenses, would like to know if there have been arrests since increase in police, and what those arrests are for
informative to have
chapter 222: very important piece of state legislation, would urge caution before suggesting or proposing changes to chapter 222
don't seem problems as result of chapter 222

David Jerry: thank faculty and staff
concerned about type of officer placed in the school: gang force officer not the right person to have
don't have question if there is a gun in the school; we now know that there is
student shouldn't start his life off with a charge
happy that my son is safe, reconsider the type of officer is in there

Junior at North: never felt unsafe at North in the first place
"I knew that nothing was going to happen, that nothing was going to happen to me"
linking of cameras to police: we are innocent until proven guilty
assume hallways do not need to be monitored by criminal justice system
violation of 4th amendment: no probable cause
schools must have probably cause before searching students (citing Supreme Court decision)
will impede the learning environment at North High

Rev. Davenport: give you encouragement, parent of two graduates of South High
can successful as a city when we come together as a collective body
parents came together to work with administration of school
second minority police lieutenant is his son
stop looking and pointing fingers at one another
so many successful people who could come out of North High
work as a team

Len Zalauskas, EAW president
"there could definitely be lawyers at North High"
superintendent needs to reach out to the teachers more
different groups have met, need to be all on the same page
"many, many smart people"
"we have the best urban system in the state of Massachusetts, we are, no doubt about it, number one"
"we can fix (issues), we can get there"
"again, it goes back to the budget...we have issues at that school because we don't have resources"

Rev. Talley: believe Worcester has some great people
with this thing at North High, have seen worst of some
have to learn to cooperate
have seen a lot of name calling, have seen a lot of blaming
demographics have changed, "and everything's on the up"
"there is a sense of accomplishment that has been achieved"
I want to be the voice of the one...cites letter to the editor in WoMag
"a few kids here give us an undesired reputation"
"fear is blinding the public and some teachers"
"we don't need to continue the stigma...they're all our kids"
we as adults should not be name calling
"they're not saying, but they're watching how we handle things 'as adults'"
"you don't have to like someone to work them"

Gordon Davis: my kids went to North, coached soccer at North
there was a prejudice against these kids
weren't allowed to build a new North; tried to combine North and Voke, and Voke parents said no
"I got into fights, and I went to Catholic schools. I was never suspended..they're making our kids into something they're not"
"this school system is supposed to educate them, not put them in jail"
came the budget hearing, schools being underfunded because the kids are here
Take a look at the budget in any community around Worcester; better funded than Worcester
"our job is educate all the children, even the ones we don't like"

Bruce O'Connell, assistant principal: I look forward to going to work at North High School
tremendous kids
"not celebrated in the media, not enough"
"we could use that as a celebration moving forward"
Ellie Lupafya: 1996 graduate of North High, now assistant principal
Completely opposed to having police in the building, have now seen the other side
went to Belmont Street, Worcester East,
"we will survive any storm and come back even stronger"

Mayor Petty:
work together, buy in by teachers, parents
students should be very proud of North High
move on positively
climate report: confirm everything's on the right track
always had police liaison in school: community policing model
police chose because of the type of police officers they are
building relationships with those students
legal review about using cameras: emergency access to police
about graduations, where kids are going to school, made the playoffs
"adults should act like adults, let the children be"
information to delegation about discipline regs

O'Connell: struck me as I heard detail after detail
how much common sense underlies what you're doing
focused on key issue; maintaining a school culture
have teachers who care passionately about their schools
students who care deeply about their school
can watch students assembling to go to North at 6:30 in the morning
"they're entrusted to us"
"do we give the resources they need to success academically"
"ultimately the School Committee needs to address that in June"
comend focus on communication: need to be heard and to be part of the discussion
people of all denomination get together
step in the right direction
close communication and listening

Foley: glad we're talking about North again
time to talk about college acceptances
"don't have to worry about civics in the schools" 4th amendment comments
positive change is going to come from within
parents, teachers, students
short-term steps...longer term culture change

Monfredo: thank for coming
another report in May

Novick: pleased to hear directly from principal and assistant principals; many words put in their mouths, good to hear from them
impressed that students showing up given treatment by community; not sure I'd trust adults at this point, after name calling of community
kicking the story: point at which story feeds on itself
unless stories are going to be about college graduates, etc, reports only on all secondary schools

Bianchera: road to recovery, success stated this evening
support for principal there and continue to be there
class of 74
parents meeting? Dyer: school council meeting
making a specific recommendation about who should be at which meeting 
expert on cameras at meeting
thank WPD

Mayor's task force on youth violence

Ramirez: thank community for being here, for coming out
thorough report

Biancheria: asking for reports at School Committee
Novick: in Friday letters, enough of superintendent's reports on this
Biancheria: waited months to support North, don't want to see it swept under the rug
Boone: have to address "waiting months" comment
happened at next meeting after bomb threat
asked for support after incident four years ago:
Monfredo: asked for an update for May
Bianchera; not personal, looked for what happened at what happened was in place
should keep at forefront
can go back and forth

Petty: kids of North High are tired of being on the front page
after a series of motions, we'll be getting Friday letter updates on North, but it is not forecasted to appear on the agenda

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