Elementary Work Group – April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014 – 6:00 to 8:00 PM

Meeting Topic: Facilitated Meeting with Cindy Lewis

Location: Ray Bjork Learning Center, 1600 8th Avenue

Meeting Materials:

Meeting Summary:

Facilitator Cindy Lewis thanked the work group members for their hard work on a difficult process, recognizing that many members have become focal points around the schools, neighborhoods, dinner tables and community. She made the following comments:

  • Reminded members of their shared sense of responsibility for the kids in the community and the community itself in each member’s Best Possible Outcomes;
  • It is OK not to be in total agreement, but it is important for the group to feel the process is fair, that each viewpoint was listened to;
  • Most of community members have no kids in school but still want to support education, and need a reason to do so.

The work group is here because:

  • Pocketbooks are limited for both schools and community;
  • School buildings are not good places to learn for many students;
  • The district needs to consolidate resources so all students have better opportunities to succeed;
  • Services are not equally available for all students, especially those in small schools with specialists dividing time between 2 or 3 schools.
  • The middle school issue of overcrowding cannot be addressed until elementary operational costs are reduced
  • Many members have commented on lack of time. The Board feels strongly that students cannot wait any longer for better places to learn and that the community is looking for leadership to move forward. The process has gone on for more than 2 years and this group has been asked to move ahead.
  • Members will have an easier time arriving at consensus if recommendations are based on data and numbers as many said earlier in the process. Members were referred to the Facts and Assumptions sheet from a previous meeting.

Grounding: Members were asked to share one element of the group outcome so far that will be a strong point for community support of this board.

Small Groups:

  • Members were asked not to defend any particular group – as a parent, teacher, taxpayer or administrator – but to serve the community and our youth and come to consensus in a bigger way. They were reminded that they are capable and ready to come together if they focus on data and not emotion; focus on responsibility as a group members; and focus on the Purpose of the group and collective Best Possible Outcomes. Facilitator Cindy Lewis told members they cannot make a mistake if recommendations are based on sound data and facts.

Questions for small groups:

  • Which schools would you rebuild into larger schools and why?
  • Which schools would you close and why?

Guidelines:

  • It is too late for out of the box ideas; the group needs to move forward.
  • The group is not responsible for recommending which students go where in school closing and consolidation.
  • The group agrees that Jim Darcy should be rebuilt as a larger school.
  • There is substantial agreement on 4 other schools to rebuild as larger schools: Warren, Smith, Central, Kessler
  • There is substantial agreement on which schools to close: Hawthorne and Bryant.
  • Technology can be incorporated into new schools as they are rebuilt and into remodeled schools.

Closing: Based on tonight’s outcomes, please share one additional element of the group outcome that will help meet the group’s Best Possible Outcome of a bond that will pass in this community.