Thursday, March 5, 2015

Update on North High

updating as we go (Friday note: the full meeting is now posted online)
Boone: framework and beginning of an action plan

status report of what has happened in the last month
parent meeting on Feb. 11 with small group faciliation by community partners
Feb. 23-27 first full week of implementation
Lead teacher transitioned into new work
IA for hall monitoring started worked
NHS faculty meeting (rescheduled twice due to snow) Feb 23; EAW and MTA both were there
fight on Feb 25: assistant principal injured
meeting of CM, Superintendent, Mayor, WPD chief, NHS principal on March 2
WPD liaison, plus additional time from another officer as needed until further notice
fourth lunch shift next week
Q &A with faculty on March 2
March 3 first meeting of safety improvement team: 12 teachers attended, support staff & students
Climate and culture improvement team established by principals
student meeting still to be scheduled; assessment window extended for testing
update tonight
Further update on March 19

Issues at North: "not a single issue we're focusing on"
"none of the issues have been connected"
yesterday's fight was a result of parents who had a fight the day before
From December to February, ten students issued suspensions of a year or more
13 total students have been on year long since September
37H 3/4 is suspensions up to 90 days: 9 since Dec, 14 since Sept
14 received 11-45 days of suspension
"to be clear, we have implemented all available to us that is allowable under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts statute"
parents have option of tutoring or long term placement of students
"have upheld every long-term suspension that has been issued for which an appeal has come before me"
liaison is in a community policing model
dealing with the culture and climate piece
"no way that we can predict or prevent a fight that happens between parents in the community"
"many, many adults and students who want to see changes" who alert school admin as has been notified
plan is not a finished product
"it is important to state exactly what needs to happen"
"as the media is not in faculty meetings or in student meetings, the parents were accorded the same respect"
faculty received information on Monday of this week; compiling information going forward
"have been out front on this...if there were a single issue, we would be doing it"
"issues that have played out in these issues have not had (a gang link)"
work with police squad
students with a great deal of need have been enrolled in other programs with support
"the idea that we can just cherrypick students and put them in another location...that's no longer is what the law allows"
suspensions that have been put in place are in accord with policies of School Committee and the law
"I have never, ever shied away from the difficult issues...I have been upfront, outfront, and honest about everything"
"want to commend faculty who have rolled up their sleeves to improve the school"
"there who committed to the work" of improving graduation
"we can either be part of the solution or we can divide"
"at what point do we get back to being able to talk about the student who has early acceptance at WPI and those who are waiting for acceptances from Ivy League schools"

Petty: "there's nothing more important than the safety of our students and teachers...that goes to the whole foundation of what we're all about"
"students should be proud of that school
teachers safety is paramount also; need to provide right resources
have put other resources up there: thank support of CM,
"this is a team effort...need to work to get it right"
"need a few weeks just to break the cycle...people are working hard at that school to make it better"
"has to be a solid plan" for students, teachers, and parents
"hold people accountable to make sure this job gets done"
parents, community supporters need to be engaged
Plan has to be nimble, has to be adjustable
someday when we're ready have a parent-teacher meeting, opened up, have the discussion
"there's a lot of good things happening at that school"
climate report, conference call, with Mayor
additional adult presence, the right people
Ch 222, seems to be an issue with the WPS, not just here
"not an expert in the law..." concerns about ch 222
less than 90 days left in the school year
"promote the good things at school" cites Nancy Lopez Ramirez, Posse Scholar
"we will get it done"
Petty: working with Rep. Keefe and Sen. Chandler on ch. 222

Len Zalauskas, EAW
in support of North High School
"we care about North High School"
"have had enough, sick and tired of it"
"taking things back classroom by classroom"
city is putting money buildings, that's a 50 year funding
"I don't agree with you that the funding's coming forward"
"and it isn't acceptable in Worcester"
"people choose to work at North High School...and I'm grateful to them"
"we can't let this continue"
Legacy has been lack of funding
"cannot continue...just because it popped up at North High School, doesn't mean it won't pop someone where else"
"We want to support North High, how can we do it"
"We are North High"

depending on the press for names here
Senior at North: looking for a date of student meeting

Teacher at North High: a lot of things I'm not understanding when I'm hearing these things
discussion is two party, that was one party
problem with transitions, fight happened during transitions
back to basics, actions for specifics

former staff at North High
left for reasons of my own
"put through more stress and strain trying to do a good job"
showed up every day when gonig through dialysis
"students need people to be there"
"environment is unfair and it makes me sad"

Cotey Collins, student at Worcester Tech
listening for students asking for help,
voted to extend Superintendent contract by three years
"five members not listening and have been out of school way too long"
have decided to run for School Committee this year
"be the change we need"

Nancy Casewell: faculty singing with Doherty Madrigal
supporting colleagues in the EAW
grandson attended WPS for many years
contrasts with support of Southborough "they put their money where their mouth is"

Ron Madnick: most disciplinary matters should be handled by school department, not police
once line has been crossed, it has been crossed
every effort should be made, to be sure that students don't end up in the juvenile justice system

Priscilla: handling students the wrong way
arrest students is not the right way of handling it
"help them out"

Julius Jones: "not an advocate for having more police in the schools...should be lessening of violence, but not police"
"culture that's more similar to a prison than a school"
"investment that we make in education is dwarfed by the amount that we spend in our prisons"
in Massachusetts, it's an average of $15K per pupil versus $45K per prison
army of youth workers, willing to show up and do something "but without a gun"
"I don't think a guy with a gun is solution"

parent at North High attended meeting, leadership training
situation out of hand
"if my son gets injured, holding each of you accountable"
"no reason to have students safety jeapordized"
chose to come again this evening
what has been done so far is not enough
"climate is not going to change overnight"
"we don't have two years"

Monfredo: democratic process is alive and well tonight
cornerstone of action
needs teachers students and parents
everyone needs to be in or it doesn't work
"one of many issues that's been discussed is how to be deal with students"
students placed in an alternative placement
citing Michael Gilbert from MASC, transfer to a different school is possible
seek legal advice for definition of suspension
change of placement rather than suspension
parttern of behavior must be addressed
"let's just do it and do it as a team"

O'Connell: proof that North has a bright future, proved this evening
teachers here in multitudes
teachers of all grade levels, "also suffer with the teachers of North"
disagree that issues are complex
"the right to be able to teach students in an environment of safe"
students ask for an environment that is safe
superb educational institution
heart of what can be done for the students and the faculty
focus on statistics doesn't accomplish anything
"doesn't carry a lot of emotional weight"
"focus on the sitiution we confront"
may not work together
go to North High School and give a speech
listen to what concerns are from faculty and from students
substantive action planning changes
Boots on the ground, create a safe environment
say to principal, be a leader, listen to staff and students
what North needs for safety and an environment
"I know what my school needs, I don't really care what downtown tells me to do"
position to do so

Biancheria: thanks crowd for being here
was asked if I stood with North High School, if I agreed with police in the school
do I see them long term? Once we get reports, once we get follow-up
want to have a recovery for where we are
no one can go back and make a brand new start; anyone can go back and make a brand-new ending
support staff
actual discussion takes place at a meeting that is a discussion
what we will do to begin to recover
"breath of fresh air" in meeting with police and CM
action plan that was made by two people
need to extend out to the community
can't break olive branches that are extended to us
open to have Mayor have conversation (of updates)
resources that we need to go out and talk to; no harm in having a discussion
how we're going to agree to a memorandum of understanding with WPD
want to see "it was an oversight"
taxpayers dollars that are being spent to keep those schools safe in those walls
needs to get done not only for those who are here tonight, but for those who weren't able to make it tonight
thrilled that City Manager is sitting in tonight's meeting
thrilled that principal is here tonight, to continue to have an open dialogue with staff
have to be our action plan

then I spoke (online, from about 1:06:45 to 1:12:26); I'll work on notes later; for now a few tweets: 

And then I asked for one from the City Solicitor

This last directed at those issuing press releases and editorials...politicians.
hearing the word accountabilty a lot tonight
for School Committee to be accountable, have to be part of the process
increased police presence, escalating a lot of issues that are going on
bigger issues that are going on
huge trust issue
between adults and students; check what's going on
if we're not trusting each other, really need to clear that
very difficult to make the right decisions with the right information
requires an investigation of an external source, that's not biased
"really beyond fights"
decison making hasn't been good
adults are making the decisions, students aren't making the decisions
being watched constantly is not something students should have to deal with

not hearing enough from the students
school safety one of the most complex issues facing schools
safe schools essential
tough task balancing strong learning community
safe in a learning environment
part of the challenge, really
as we're trying to make our neighborhoods safe, challenge across the entire community
taken some serious steps
sending a clear message to parents and students
if people feel safer with police in building, I'm okay with that
what was presented was not a plan but a framework
culture and climate where that is not tolerated
want everyone at the table, collectively moving forward
will take some time
have to stop unproductive back and forth in the media and the social media
not helping the students


jb said...

Is the WPS Code of Conduct

available on-line?

Tracy Novick said...

Yes, it is. It's part of the student policy handbook that goes home the first week of school each year; because it was updated last year separately, it (by itself) is posted here: