Tuesday, December 20, 2016

December Board of Ed: Mattahunt

Mattahunt: public comment then discussion
and I'll apologize in advance for no doubt missing names
her daughter who is in third grade wanted to be there
quoting here her daughter: current principal is her third principal
"education unlocks your dreams"
wants to be a fashion designer: make clothes that are not just pretty but functional
"always cold in the cold weather"
mother: been very frustrating for her
need for wraparound services: only one school on transfer list does
"have to be at work at 8:30, finish work at 6"
can drop off early, goes right into extended length of day
"cannot get these kinds of services at any other type of school"
students at school do not learn like students at other schools

early childhood centers: are longer time, schools are not (or may not be)
a lot of confusion and anger from parents
"can't say if teachers will be teaching there next year"
parents went to welcome centers and staff had parents fill out transfer forms for this year
some transfers went through and were removed from the rolls
parent who refused to fill out form as she wanted to visit schools first was told she'd lose her slot
parent who doesn't want to move her son again at the end of the first grade
another, daughter in third grade, has been in three schools already; son has IEP and his location will depend on services
"mother is adamant that she is not moving her daughter a fourth time"
parent who chose the Mattahunt upon moving from Haiti as cousin was there; no family priority for cousins
70 homeless families at the Mattahunt right now, citing DESE
how does Boston's "home-based plan" work for families without a home?
urges Board to obtain BPS five or ten year plan for the Mattahunt and plan for Mattahunt students

Barbara Fields, retired teacher, resident of Mattapan:
requests around information from BPS about assignment of students
chronology of events: two week period of time from informed of possible closure to school committee vote of closure
requesting vacancy by grade in schools being offered to parents
and services at schools offered
"parents are going at this blindly; they don't know if they're going at this in a reasonable way"
not only school level, but where they're at in the turnaround, are they going up or down
"that you really look at the schools that residents of Mattapan are able to attend, based on capacity"
"schools have been disproportionately closed in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan"

"cautionary tale...don't want tale to be lost"
what questions were not asked before school was closed?
"in our view context matters...symptom of a larger problem"
"fundamental equity issue"
"there's no argument that closing schools has a perilous impact on communities, and a disproportionate impact on communities of color"
parents see school closure as a done deal
people feel they are powerless
some are fearful they'll be punished by being denied a school of their choice
community really wants to work with BPS admin; "let's look at what successful turnarounds have done"
successful parent engagement
willing to work with administration to identify obstacles to parent engagement
"let's embrace the opportunity to do what should have been done during the years of turnaround, but were not for whatever reason"
no ability to sustain change with turnover in administration
funding was "primarily devoted to two hours of extended day"
"that in and over itself was not enough to move the turnaround"
asks for an independent evaluation of turnaround work in Boston
this happens, but those reports aren't always public
Stewart: parents who have extraordinary barriers in front of them right now
"who is the champion for the students at the Mattahunt right now?"

Sagan now takes the Mattahunt out of order
Sagan's understanding is that Boston School Committee has now reconfirmed their decision
"we do not run those schools"
to the question of oversight, "some of that resides with this Board"
Chester: comfortable with plan of BPS admin
"what's been happening under the authority that the school district has basically flatlined the school"
runs through again the Dearborn school
(citing this as a positive plan with DESE, as opposed to history cited by Boston School Committee)
comfortable with Mattahunt students ending up in a better place
"nothing that has transpired in the last month has changed my mind" with regard to the decision of the School Committee
spoke with Supt Chang, mayor's staff, Chair O'Neil
Boston School Committee "they're comfortable with where they've landed"
"I see no further action that is warranted here."
will continue to follow through with parents and kids
30% English Language Learners; reflective of district as whole
wonder how many are former ELL?
spoke to students at the Mildred Avenue School "and students were quite" outspoken on difference between Mattahunt and Mildred Avenue Schools
(positive at Mildred Avenue and negative at Mattahunt)
Sagan: seeing gap between services offered and those seemingly being offered
very close contrast with Boston and "how it's being operationalized"
open enrollment in Boston schools opens January 3; families find out in March
Boston has informed parents that there may be further changes to their choices
If there are other schools that are closed, schools will follow up with parents
DESE has said can't be lost year
residency in school now; support schools in social emotional
concern on early literacy, PD for teachers
"acceleration academy" during vacations
student rep notes that majority of sessions are in weekday mornings
DESE will follow up
Noyce: that the school was truly failing appears to have caught the community by surprise; how to make that better?
was a local stakeholder group that informed that plan
one of the goals was parent engagement
worry that students are not proficient; make sure that communities are well informed about progress of schools
community meetings at Dearborn with use of "data dashboard"
Doherty: no effort on part of school system to change their minds in the past month
information that parents are looking for that they haven't been able to get
Craven: progress of Level 4 schools
needing context
Dorchester Collegiate Academy: wanted follow up of what has happened to students; don't recall getting updated
calls out involvement of Morton in keeping Board informed on Springfield
"don't have larger perspective" of district
"magnitude of what we're dealing with in Boston
"change our context around Boston"
Stewart: appreciate comments of Craven
do have structure of monitoring: technical assistance teams in BPS
coordination of assistance to Boston Public Schools in turnaround
McKenna; assume when we're talking about monitoring Level 4's "not just in Boston"
asks for a report on Holland and Dever again "they're our schools"
Board will get update on all Level 5 schools in January

Chester: while we rely on local school districts to run local schools, state judicial court has made it clear that state has a responsibility to education
law codifying lowest 20%,
"giving districts additional authority and schools" to turn those schools around
and then giving state the authority if those efforts don't work
"not to take full responsibility for efforts at Level 4"
"it's a balance on our part...we want nothing more than to see every one of those efforts be successful"

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