Middle School Focus Group – Parents

Pam Nash (Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools) emailed this notice:

Many of you have expressed an interest in participating and discussing the changes to our middle schools. There will be a middle school focus group meeting for parents on Thursday, November 10, 2005, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at the Doyle Building, 545 W. Dayton Street in Room 103. [Map]
At this meeting, we will be gathering thoughts of what parents would like to see in the middle schools in Madison. There will also be an on-line survey available for parents to complete if they were unable to attend the meeting.

4 thoughts on “Middle School Focus Group – Parents”

  1. We need a hard copy of the survey as well. I’d estimate that only 40% of Blackhawk parents have internet access at home….and how will those that do know to fill out the survey?

  2. David raises a critical point. When the middle school review was raised at a board meeting, there was discussion of including the greatest number of people in the discussion. Particularly people from our growing communities of Hispanic, African American, and Southeast Asian families.
    At that time, I raised the possibility of holding listening sessions in community centers during times when people who may work 2nd or 3rd shift might participate. The structure that I am seeing here replicates the basic problem of targetting only those people whose lifestyles reflect our own.
    The district often goes to great expense to translate written materials into Spanish and Hmong and then points to those materials as evidence of inclusion. What we learned when we did community meetings on East last year, was that:
    a) some parents were much more likely to show up if we held the meetings in Northport, Kennedy Heights, and other neighborhood enters that are part of apartment complexes;
    b) while many parents speak a language other than English, that does not mean they read the language therefore it is useless to translate written materials – especially when parents rely on their English-speaking children to translate for them;
    c) there is no substitute for face to face discussion.
    I had hoped that we would see a model that was more inclusive and user-friendly, but perhaps that is coming at a later date. We all should be concerned that parents who are not comfortable speaking out in the schools are not going to be helped by holding meetings exclusively in the Doyle Building.

  3. For those who can attend, be prepared for a loooong Power Point presentation from MMSD staff, if the meeting follows the usual course for MMSD-led public meetings.
    In fact, the presentation will probably take so much time that many people will leave before it’s over, and those who stay won’t have many minutes to ask questions or discuss much.
    If I were to attend, I’d ask the MMSD staff at the very beginning of the meeting to limit their presentation to no more than 20 minutes.

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