Please post any questions you have for the APP Advisory Committee in the comments!
Update: It looks like the Q&A is winding down. I wanted to summarize this long thread, but was struggling trying to do that. Fortunately, someone else already provided an insightful comment that may summarize the reason for much of the turmoil in this Q&A:
I think the APP AC should be recognized for what it is, and not expected to be something it is not. That's why I asked the very first question in this thread, in a (I hope) neutral tone. Stephanie has taken a bit of a beating in this thread and I hope everyone appreciates her willingness to do this, even if you disagree with her.I want to thank the APP AC for its work on behalf of APP parents and students. And, I especially want to thank APP AC Chair Stephanie Bower for coming here for the unenviable task of enduring questioning from parents, many of which were quite upset about the past and planned disruptions to APP. Thank you, Stephanie, for being willing to do this.
Stephanie is visibly walking a line so fine it almost doesn't exist, trying to balance the desire to be responsive to parental concerns with the fact that the APP AC is deeply embedded with the existing district process.
As is usual with all similar positions (ombudsman for the press, citizen review panels for the police, the CBO, presidential debate moderators), it is staffed with well-intentioned and capable people who work hard to balance everything they hear while appearing neutral, but they have no real power...and they develop long-lived relationships with the powerful institutions on one side of the process (the district) while the other side (the parents) comes and goes. It's almost inevitable that the conciliatory tone they strike sounds a lot like capitulation, because they are looking for a midpoint between the powerful and the powerless.
Update: In addition to the summary by the parent above, Stephanie pointed to her answer to the very first question in this thread as a good summary of the work and role of the APP AC. She asked for it to be added here:
We are not elected officials so we don't really "represent" parent concerns in that way, but we use multiple methods to communicate to and get communication from the APP community.I want to thank Stephanie again for doing this sometimes contentious Q&A. I hope APP parents, Stephanie, and the other members of the APP AC thought that the Q&A was useful and helped to clarify what the APP AC does for APP parents and what the APP AC probably should not be expected to do.
We hold monthly meetings, email minutes and many emails out to now 1323 people, and some email us with their concerns and thoughts. People email us with all kinds of questions. In the past, we have done surveys, held special meetings (sometimes very large ones), had workshops. We constantly invite people to email us with their concerns. Many on the APP AC are involved in our school buildings, so we talk to parents, staff, and principals.
We are also parents with kids in the schools, so our experience of the program is first-hand. Even several of our staff reps have been or are APP parents. I have 2 in APP since first grade who are now at Garfield, one who also has an IEP/Special Ed for health issues.
The collective information, together with our history and experiences, inform what we say and do. When you are a committee of 16, you get quite a broad representation of the program. We usually send out emails to the list telling people what we are doing, what we are saying, and inviting anyone and everyone to contact us.
We are open to suggestions for better ways to do this!