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October 6, 2005

Can we Talk 2

I previously wrote about the lack of information received via email, internet, etc...from the school district. Since I posted that blog the District has been "experimenting" with two software systems they deem worth evaluation by parents and staff and are asking for feedback. (please go to the for more info)

But not all the communication problems with MMSD have to do with modern technology. Let me give some examples........

1. Last year I did not receive a real report card from MMSD teachers for my 1st, 4th or 6th grade students until the first week of Feb. Does this seem weird to anyone else? I contacted Jane Belmore, my principals, the teachers and was told this was MMSD policy. The first quarter is Parent/Teacher conference in November with no formal report card or grade required........the second quarter IN FEBRUARY is time for a formal grade. My problem; I have a child that is struggling with Math and by February it is "Too Darn Late" to know she is struggling to make a C. After contacting everyone listed above I was told if it was serious, I would be contacted before Feb. Here is my problem with that answer; to the MMSD staff serious seems to be a D or F, for me it is a C, because my child will never survive Math at Memorial or college with a C and I want to intervene (which I did with night classes at Kumon which is ridiculous since I can afford such a service and other families can not) before we have a C, low confidence, and more than half the year gone by!

2. The Jefferson "Back to School Night" this year was in the "Target" magazine and that was it! Jr. High students do not speak....they mumble and grunt and they are not going to tell me about "Back to School" night,or class expections (or anything else). I called the school to confirm when Back to School Night was occurring because my expectation was so low for any parental correspondence. (I later discovered this was listed on the "for a fee" calender sold on the day of registation.) Please send home a flyer to inform parents when events occur!!!!

3. Jefferson has traditionally informed students who their teacher will be, the day school starts. NOW..........I hate to tell MMSD but Jr. High students are nervous about their clothes, hair, braces, shoes, pimples, starting a new year, coolness factor, etc.......... I find it insulting that my son has to show up the first day of school to "discover" who he has as a teacher for the year. Can you eliminate the suspense so they can have some control over their lives? I find this a bazaar system and another example of no communication or the attempt to include parents in the educational process.

4. If the district is seeking to implement a new computer system of grades and information via the internet, there needs to be some (a lot) improvement in staff having a grade prior to February. No computer program is going to work or be successful if the staff is not required to have information or grades for parental review.

The NUMBER ONE factor in the success of a student is PARENT EXPECTATION (read the studies).....not the school.....not peers.....not Snoop Dog or Brett Favre.......not how beautiful or cool they are.....BUT THE #1 reason students succeed is PARENT EXPECTATION...Want to make grades across the board better......MMSD has to do a better job of informing parents so OUR expectations are HIGH and OUR students know OUR expectations are high......Talk to us.....communicate.....share......give parents the power to assert OUR control. I send my children to the black hole on a bus with no seat belt, a school with no information, a district with poor communication and I am suppose to be content with no information?
I have a vast interest in my children's lives and the lives of the students around them. Homeschooling and charter schools are succeeding because they offer parents with high expectations some control and respect. I guess that is all I am asking for is some respect for the information I have about my children, their school and their grades. Can We Talk....I hope so...Are all parents listening....I do Not Know, but give us all the benefit of the doubt and EXPECT a lot from us because I expect A LOT from you and my child. Let's talk, communicate, improve our primary goal which is to educate our children.

Posted by Mary Battaglia at October 6, 2005 10:41 AM
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