Saturday, November 7, 2009

What was not discussed at the APP Advisory Committee meeting?

From the previous thread, it is clear that both the APP Advisory Committee meeting on Nov 3 and the discussion afterward was dominated by APP parents concerns over safety at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School.

As parents wrote in the thread, this was for valid reasons, as many parents feel their children are not safe at recess, there have been many incidents and injuries, and many parents feel the response has been inadequate. As one parent said, in obvious frustration, "Until we can even agree on a basic fact ... violence in the school will not be tolerated ... nothing will change." Others argued the safety issue threatens the very future of APP. Several demanded the safety problems be addressed immediately.

As important as safety is, there were other issues that people wanted to raise at the meeting. As one parent said:
Almost the entire time for elementary APP discussion was used to discuss safety issues at TM.

Other issues on the agenda which didn't have a chance to be discussed were: perceived disparities between the schools, perception of confidence in the APP program, communication between staff and parents, time outs between ALO and APP classes for disciplinary reasons, bullying, how safety issues are handled by the staff, ways to build community, what can parents do?
Leaving the other thread for continuing our discussion of safety, perhaps we could discuss the unaddressed issues here?

From what I see in the discussion threads, the questions people wanted to discuss but were not able to included:
  • What happened to the transition teams we were promised? Did the district properly resource the merger and, if not, what can we do to get them to?
  • What does APP and ALO mean (and has it changed due to the split)?
  • Since one of the reasons for the split was to give greater access to APP, was that goal achieved? Did more students enroll in APP this year compared to previous years? What does it mean for the split to work?
  • What disparities do parents and students perceive between Lowell and Thurgood Marshall and what can be done to address them?
  • How confident are parents in the APP Program? What can be done to improve our confidence?
  • What level of support does the APP Program appear to have in the district? What can we do to improve that?
  • How can we build community between APP/APP at the separate schools and APP/ALO at same school?
  • What can parents do? One parent felt that we all are just "wringing our hands ... in hapless despair." Other than that, what can we do? What can we do to get better results?
I tried to pull everything I found in the comments to recent posts. If I missed anything or there are topics that is not yet in the comments, please feel free to add more in the discussion for this post.

So, what do you think? What are your answers to these questions?

Update: Minor change, merged two similar questions in the list.


Robert said...

"Since one of the reasons for the split was to give greater access to APP, was that goal achieved? Did more students enroll in APP this year compared to previous years? What does it mean for the split to work?"

Bob V mentioned a large spike in requests for testing this year. Who knows if that is going materialize into more placements but at least it didn't reverse the trend of more request every year. Going to be interesting to see if there are more students (and if there are increases where they are)... But I am afraid that it will take a while for that to play out.

lendlees said...

I wonder where and what grade those requests are coming from. Could it be more middle school now that there is actually a location north of the ship canal?

Being that I'm a data junkie, I tend to want to know more of the detail behind statements indicating that there are more requests for testing. If the requests are similar in demographics, just a greater number then maybe the split did increase access. Or the economy is finally translating into fewer kids going to private schools, or folks aren't thrilled with their new school in the SAP and are looking for an alternative now that school 'choice' is gone. Lots of hypotheses out there.

TechyMom said...

Teachers at Lowell are really pushing testing for ALO kids too. My daughter's teacher even sent home the form in her folder with a note asking if we'd filled it in. I wonder if this is happening at other schools too? That would be one thing that the district could do to really increase access: require teachers to follow up with families.