Superintendent Recommends Tabling Master Plan Until May

CSD just sent along this announcement from Superintendent Phyllis Edwards…

Dr. Edwards has requested that the Board of Education table tonight’s original Action Item concerning Master Planning until the May 14th Board of Education meeting. Details for previously planned community events will be announced after spring break, and will be held at Decatur High School and Renfroe Middle School in the weeks following spring break.

91 thoughts on “Superintendent Recommends Tabling Master Plan Until May”

    1. Why? This looks like an obvious slow down, with a chance to hear from the community, after getting input from the community that it felt blindsided. Or are you being ironic?

        1. Thank you. Fairly sure “ironic” was what I was looking for if not what you meant.
          Irony, Merriam Webster definition 2:
          a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning
          b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony
          c : an ironic expression or utterance

          … but I saw your remark and then the outrage seemingly expressed by Just for Thought and was perplexed.

  1. This I fear will be another huge waste of money! They should have never closed Westchester Elementary, Should have never gone to a K-3 system, should have never built the 4th and 5th Grade Center and I see the same pattern of consultants and little communication! (going to send mine to private school!!!!)

      1. Well 4/5 (four-fifths) of the existing school board used too much political capital to make it happen to change course now.

      2. 4/5 enrollment 2006: 333
        4/5 enrollment 2013: 625

        The market-slash-facts don’t agree with your assessment.

          1. Assuming he means that anything that attracts use, to the tune of doubling, rather than driving people away, might not constitute the ideal scenario but it hardly meets the definition of epic fail.

            1. I am not saying Rob is right, but enrollment numbers alone and some silly “market” analogy do nothing to prove 4/5 work (there is no alternative and thus no market). Whether you just move here for the schools or whether you, like me, lived here decades before you had kids, you are pretty much stuck with the 4/5 model, which means you may just be compromising because the good outweighs the bad. It’s just not an evidence based or logic based conclusion and it was a bit annoying.

              Unless of course you are rich like J_T and send your imaginary kids to private school.

            2. Growing enrollment does not mean it is working. There is no other choice but 4/5 unless you have the money to go to private schools. Ask the kids what they think & the most used word is that it feels institutional and classes are overcrowded.

              Test scores are rising due to more parental involvement not because of the new steucture

              1. Did you really ask kids and get the answer that “it feels institutional?” If they are speaking like that, the current model must work. Very impressive.

              2. Ask the school nurse at the 4/5. Huge spikes in nurse visits in 4th grade, largely due to the increased stress.

                And my kid’s MAP score has gone up a lot this year, but only because I’ve employed a private tutor.

        1. I don’t think a market analogy fits well because we have no other choice in Decatur public schools. It’s the 4/5 or nothing. So the increase could be 292 people who love the 4/5, 292 people who hate it, or 292 people who don’t care, or anywhere in between.

            1. Or whom choose to homeschool. My youngest was homeschooled, then started 4/5 middle of the year last year (4th). My eldest is still homeschooled and will start DHS in August. And, before someone asks/comments, I have been employed the entire time I’ve homeschooled the girls. And the girls are at or ahead of their peers in everything (but the “mean girl” coping mechanisms).

              1. Really cool, especially if you work. I always wanted to homeschool but my children never wanted to be home schooled! And no problem if your girls never get the mean girl coping skills–by high school, the girls have matured and don’t need them anymore. Unless they blog. Anonymous blogs and yahoo/google groups seem to bring out the mean girl in all of us. Luckily, DM moderates this one….

                1. I’ve always worked while homeschooling- though 50% and “out of the office” – for a software company. Because of my work and homeschooling, we’ve traveled extensively, which I wouldn’t have traded for anything, not even CSD šŸ™‚ And there’s a GREAT homeschool group that meets here in Decatur at the Oakhurst Boys and Girls Club (LEAD); my eldest has taken six years of Latin (earning medals in the National Latin Exam and National Mythology Exam) and is now taking high school chemistry and “history of Rock and Roll” with the group.

                  As for “mean girl” issues, my youngest, a sensitive, caring girl, had a horrid year at FAVE last year. I won’t go into it here, but her issues there have left me feeling less than warm and fuzzy towards the 4/5 school. Thankfully, this year (new teacher, new kids, tougher skin) has been much. much better. Hoping her Renfroe experience will be even better because of her “transition years” at FAVE.

                    1. My first thought is not to fault the school system but to wonder who is raising these mean, bullying children? Kindness and respect begin at home. There’s only so much the school can do if those values and behaviors are not being taught from birth.

            2. I’ve given up but I always urged us to get a handle on those numbers, especially the families that started out in CSD and then chose to leave. I think there’s some lessons to be learned about what matters enough to families that they will pay for their children to be educated elsewhere. Some of it is religion, snobbery, special needs or talents, or tradition but those reasons don’t cover all the ordinary non-wealthy non-brainiac kids whose families choose the Friends School, Waldorf, Paideia, The Children’s School. St. Thomas More, the new Sudbury (?) School.

              But nowadays, I guess we’re just grateful that all the private school students aren’t taking up seats in CSD.

              1. What we really need is for several dozen more families to live here because the bar and restaurant scene is unbeatable and send their children elsewhere to school. Has word not gotten around yet that Decatur schools are really getting crappy?

          1. Well I don’t think the “epic fail” description works either, because this school system has been an unquestionable success since the advent of the 4/5.

            Rob has taken every single opportunity to bash this school system, it’s administration, and board here in the comments section. He’s got an axe to grind and reason is not going to stop that. So I take his comments for what they are worth. Still, it’s fun to mess around with the cranks every now and then (easy Juan).

            1. I have no axe to grind but do not appreciate the fact that everyone seems to have been sold the success of 4/5. It is not successful because it was created. The students and parents at the school that I have talked to say it forces kids to grow up faster, the classrooms are overcrowded (can a teacher really teach 30 9-10 years olds?) and feels institutional. Sad that everyone only looks at test scores

              1. “forces kids to grow up faster,” — you say that like it’s a bad thing. It’s not as if they’re being sent out to pick fruit or work in factories to support their families. I’ve seen plenty of 10-year olds in recent years who apparently weren’t being taught that they could (and should) stop acting like kindergarteners. Growing up is natural and desirable.

                30 in a classroom sounds like maybe too much of a handful — depends on the teacher and the kids. (If most of the students are acting their age instead of behaving younger, it might work just fine. Not ideal, obviously, but not necessarily calamitous.) It’s worth remembering at the end of the last K-5 era, some of the schools didn’t even have 30 kids in a whole grade. There’s such a thing as too small, and that’s one of the issues in play at that time which was effectively addressed by the 4-5 model. Striking the optimum balance is a challenge and it’s a moving target.

                I know several families with kids at F.AVE and have never once heard it characterized as “institutional” — not by parents and certainly not by students. (Although I grant you, it is common for 4th graders to critique their surroundings in such terms. Not.) In fact, I have not heard anyone complain about it at all. If it feels like a bigger pond than the K-3 school they’re coming out of, that’s good. Our K-3s are intended to be warm and fuzzy, cozy, reassuring nests where the youngest children find their feet. By the time they finish 3rd grade, they should be feeling a bit cramped and ready for a bigger pond, which will feel a little daunting on arrival but that’s as it should be. Children need opportunities to discover they can rise to meet challenges; to prove to themselves that unfamiliar doesn’t have to mean threatening; and that they can always be confident of knowing more and being more capable and skilled in May than they were the previous August.

                1. STG – Yes! thank you. We had this experience. I keep hearing from parents about the “tough time” their kids had at FAVE (and to some extent RMS). They blame they school for their kids’ tough time. I’m now deaf to it. Kids have tough times everywhere. There are mean kids at our schools, yes. Not every kid (including my own) will come home sprinkled in fairy dust every day. It’s not always the school’s fault. Sometimes, you have to chalk it up to “growing up.” In the K-3 schools, yes, your kid will be sprinkled by fairy dust most days. And then they join the real world. And our real world is better than most . . .

                  1. Not only are you deaf to it, the administration seems to be as well. When a teacher has poor classroom management skills and cannot maintain an environment that is conducive to learning, that is a problem that needs to be addressed by the schools. The issues my child faced last year went much deeper than what can be chalked up to “growing up”, and I’m sure the counselor at FAVE (so grateful for her presence and guidance), who saw my daughter often, would agree with me on that. Thankfully this year at FAVE has almost made up for the challenges of last year.

                2. STG – did you have kids go through 4th/5th? If you haven’t heard complaints, you should come to our parties.

                  I DO like that the kids in the system get to know each other before the hormones kick in – I think that might go a long way to curbing some of the jr high growing pains.
                  But it supposed to be an elementary school, not a jr high. I had high hopes for a 4th/5th “Academy” but it just hasn’t seemed to live up to expectations.

                  I do NOT like the 30 kids to a classroom. Neither teacher my kid had could not handle that situation very well and did not seem to get much help from the administration. Also, the construction after one-year shows and amazingly inability to plan.

                  I also do not like the lack of communication or seeking input from parents. We are a community school system, with very passionate and helpful parents out there ready to help. The community building at the K-3s are one of the best aspects of our school system – it’s a shame to squander that in 4th/5th.

                  1. Arriba – I’ve been to those parties – maybe we’re at the same ones? – the buzz of the helicopter (parents) is so deafening that I have stopped listening. My kids had great experiences with 4/5 concept. Every situation is different, and a dinner party consensus should not be the deciding factor in running our schools. You would agree with that, right?

                  2. Arriba: You just cannot win as a parent. If you too involved with your child’s school experience, you are a helicopter parent. But if your child is noisy in a restaurant, or a mean girl, or not following the design principles, or not contributing to AYP, then you are not engaged enough in your child’s upbringing and education. If you or your child misses a critical test signup or sports tryout deadline or school system meeting, it was on a website somewhere and you should be scanning all websites at all times. Face it, if you are not walking the exact millimeter-in-width line of proper parenting, you and your children are doomed. Actually, it gets easier once you accept that you already blew it–then you can relax and just try to muddle along using your common sense.

                    PS: Whose house do you feel more comfortable having your kids hang out at, especially as preteens or teens–the helicopter parents’ house or the ones with no buzz? I am happy when I hear a buzz!

                    1. I don’t think helicopter parenting has anything to do with how present you are. To me, it’s reflective of an unwillingness to set clear boundaries, provide increasing levels of responsibility for kids as they grow, and hold them accountable for their missteps. Parents are not supposed to be man-(or woman)-servants. They are supposed to be mentors and leaders.

                      Baby Boomers and Gen Xers (speaking for my cohorts) were raised in homes where Dad was gone 12 or 14 hours a day and asleep for another 7 or 8. That didn’t stop a whole lot of men from being excellent fathers.

                      Helicoptering, in my opinion, is parental malpractice.

                    2. Wow, parental malpractice! Kudos for having this all figured out. I find the lines between overprotection vs. helicoptering vs. monitoring vs. laissez faire vs. free range vs. avoiding vs. inadequate supervision much more challenging to define and negotiate. Best I can do is trust my instincts and my knowledge of my own children, each of whom is an entirely different and ever-changing creature with entirely different ever-changing strengths, weaknesses, and needs. Once I have this all figured out, probably 10 years after they’ve left home and their frontal lobes have finished developing, I’ll think about judging others’ parenting. Meanwhile, I maintain that you can’t win, someone will criticize whatever approach you take.

                    3. Uh, I’m not judging anyone’s parenting. I’m defining helicopter parenting, from my perspective, and saying I disagree with it. What did I say that was judgmental to any individual or suggested that I had any mastery of the obligations I think matter?

                      All the tools and tactics of parenting that you mention can be used for all types of kids in plenty of ways that don’t put the parent in the servant-role that I find to be at the core of helicoptering.

                    4. I’m still happy when I hear a buzz at the homes where my children stay. Maybe not a cut-throat razor blade helicopter rotor, but a nice warm, fuzzy bee buzz. After some of the stories I’ve heard in recent years of basically nice well-trained Decatur kids doing some incredibly stupid things, some with permanent consequences, I think a little ceiling-level hovering, a distant buzz, a long, long tether, is in order until those frontal lobes finish developing. (See National Geographic brain images.) You can always decrease the buzz over time if kids prove themselves ready but once they’ve made made a huge mistake with life consequences, you cannot turn back the clock.

                      There’s such a thing as too much Tiger Mom, too much helicoptering, not enough ordinary childhood bumps, bruises, and healing. But I also think that the term “helicoptering” or “teens need to be more independent” is used defensively by folks who just don’t want to deal issues brought up by parents. A long-term experienced middle school staffer recently told me that she observes many more problems with parents distancing themselves too much from their children once they become preteens and teens rather than vice versa. You are still your child’s one best advocate, supporter, disciplinarian, guide, and comfort.

                  3. Arriba, why would I want to go to a party that’s mainly a parent whine fest? šŸ˜‰

                    I don’t have any children. That doesn’t mean my opinions are not valid. I enjoy children who aren’t being reared as brats (which is entirely different from any child having a bratty moment). And I have all the respect in the world for people who are parenting the hard way, i.e., setting boundaries, expressing expectations and enforcing consequences, and maybe above all, setting aside their own needs and anxieties and making choices that will benefit their kids. In any case, I have many close friends, casual acquaintances and neighbors with kids in Decatur schools and have had a chance to watch and listen to their experiences for more than 10 years.

                    Pretty confident about these current numbers for F.AVE:
                    4th grade = 11 classes ranging in size from 25 to 27 students each
                    5th grade = 10 classes ranging in size from 28-29 students each; a number of kids enrolled in 5th grade after the year began, otherwise they probably would have added a teacher and maintained smaller classes

                    So, “30 kids in a class” is not quite accurate and bandying the phrase about as if it’s the norm at F.AVE doesn’t really bolster one’s credibility.

                    1. Some FAVE parents ARE reporting 30 kids in a class but I don’t have personal knowledge of such a class. Probably kids transferred in after the official numbers are posted. For demographic reasons I do not understand, numbers always creep up over the year.

        2. Exactly… back in 2006 when enrollment at 4/5 was 333 and our schools had been segregated for years… 4/5 was a good idea. Now at 625 and with our elementaries being as diverse as possible…. 4/5 no longer a good idea. I don’t see why anyone on the board has to feel like they are admitting they are wrong if they move away from the 4/5. Circumstances are completely different now than they are today. It’s like saying I was wrong for buying my daughter size 13 sparkly pink shoes in 2006. Now she’s wears a 7 adult and would rather die than wear pink sparkles. That doesn’t make my shoe decision wrong back in 2006. It has just become wrong over the years as she has grown and matured. Same is true for the 4/5.

          1. As a total aside, I just cried a little thinking about my current size-13-sparkly-pink-shoe-wearing daughter as a size-7-wouldn’t-be-caught-dead-in-them in a handful of years.

            1. Wait, and then we’d have to have form a separate Sixth Grade Academy to mix the students all together they become mean girls Sharks and Jets in 7th and 8th grade……….

            2. Oh and I think we should form the two 4/5 zones alphabetically by name, not by residence. Then we won’t have to worry about any southside vs northside, eastside vs. westside tensions.

                1. Yeah and parents trying to manipulate the system by choosing whatever mother/father/grandparent/random last name got their precious children into the more “gifted” 4/5. Never mind, it should be a lottery.

          2. I don’t have any numbers at my fingertips, so anybody who has numbers (as opposed to an unsupported opinion) should certainly feel free to correct me… My understanding is that we achieve significant economies of scale through having all the 4th & 5th graders (and most importantly, their teachers) in one place. If we distributed the 4/5 population across 5-6 schools, we’d have to hire more teachers and we’d have much less elasticity in terms of class size to accommodate fluctuations in enrollment which would almost certainly mean sending kids out of their district from time to time. And that shuffling would probably not only affect 4th/5th graders but would ripple down through the younger grades.

  2. I applaud the Superintendent’s decision to delay the vote and look forward to the community meetings. This is the way these very important items need to be addressed; get feedback from the community first, then vote.

  3. TinMan, I agree but feel that the only reason for the delay was because so many people went crazy. Had this gone quietly I bet you would be reading about the approval of the plan and not the proposed plan!

  4. I am all for a slower process that brings in community input (and allows time for those that haven’t been paying attention to tune in and develop an informed opinion).

    That said, a lot of the reaction here over the last couple of days seems overheated. The reconfiguration from a few years ago came about because of DECLINING enrollment, and underpopulated schools. It wasn’t just Westchester, but also College Heights and before that 5th Ave were closed as elementary schools. (And much of the current growth today is much closer to CH than to W.) CSD is not staffed by experts in demographic projection (or PR) but education, and I’m willing to cut some slack for not foreseeing that the reconfiguration would fuel such incredible growth. They’re on the case now and I interpret this current set of proposals as a sign of how worried they are about keeping pace with enrollment growth. Slow it down for community input AND community education.

    1. Why isn’t there someone on staff who could monitor demographics and strategically plan facilities? The number of missteps in operations made by CSD and its HIGHLY paid consultants seems to warrant moving demographics in house and making these decisions locally rather than through consultants.

      1. +1 (or at least find capable consultants)

        I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to ask CSD (or CoD, for that matter) to seek the expertise needed to address particular problems rather than just trying to “wing it”. There are lots of competent & experienced people out there – many who live in our fair city – who can help address these issues.

        As an extension of this line of thinking, I also don’t think it’s wise to just have educators at the helm of a school district. CSD has to deal with everything from real estate/facilities to food service to transportation in addition to providing quality education for students. I think it’s critical to match administrator skill sets to the wide range of functions necessary to run a school system (and, as a corollary, to allow educators to focus on education).

        1. In theory, that makes sense. But then again, when you’re most comfortable using a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I would hate to have people in charge whose core competency(s) were anything other than (or even on par with and therefore possibly competing for attention with) education. Education should always be the priority that drives all other considerations. And there’s also the potential to have “jack of all trades, master of none.” I think it’s fine for them to hire consultants for input on specific stuff. If they were trying to maintain too broad a portfolio internally, then people would be screaming in protest that educators have no business trying to be in the business of demographic projection and facilities planning, that’s what specialized consultants are for.

          1. STG, funny you use the hammer/nail saying…it was in an earlier version of my reply to Nellie (and got edited out). I’m not advocating that CSD take its eye off of its responsibility to educate our kids. Far from it.

            I am, however, advocating for educators to focus on educating (and not on facilities planning, population forecasting, etc.). It seems there is a need both internally and via hired consultants to tap into expertise that CSD administrative leadership just doesn’t have. Not a knock against them, just the reality of specialization limiting the ability to effectively manage breadth.

            Having a “jack of all trades, master of none” isn’t a bad idea, particularly if s/he recognizes his/her limits and can engage specialized expertise when needed.

          2. Universities do it all the time. The facilities people at Emory and Agnes Scott have nothing to do with education. The development and admissions staff at the schools are not professors. People get training in particular fields for a reason.

            1. Universities on any of a number of different financial models than a very small public school system.

          3. All of the consultants listed on the master plan are contractors and architects. Is there a consultant providing demographic/education projections? If there is they are not listed in the Power Point. It looks like the projections are coming out of CSD. The consultants, who get paid to build buildings, are responding to the data.

            1. DM might be able to clarify here. I was under the impression that the projections were the work of the Enrollment Committee which, as I recall, was made up of residents, parents and school officials.

                1. It really seems that the enrollment committee did their homework. I applaud the quantitative approach cross-checked by a common-sense consultation with realtors and others. I wonder then, what actions have been taken on the recommendations of the committee?
                  a. Is the analysis being revisited on an annual basis as suggested?
                  b. What about the pre-registration website to provide a glimpse into future student populations?
                  c. What about acquiring city-level birthrate information?

                  1. Great questions. I’m sure anyone on the committee would be happy to answer those questions. Their names are listed in the presentation.

                    Erin Wheeler

                  2. Agree that the committee did good job, both in terms analysis and in terms of providing a good model of the process. Hope recommendations are followed.

        2. Meant to add: Finding and engaging capable consultants is the key. And that’s an area where maybe CSD could tap knowledge and expertise from within the community — screening and selecting consultative support.

      2. Enough with the consultant-bashing, dear, you’ll be putting half of the town out of work.

    2. I’ve been curious on your position in all this, since it combines your too favorite issues. Taking out bond funds for capital improvement and growing enrollment!

  5. It’s all in the framing… “Final Report”, “Vote TOMORROW”….”$58MM” ….is all a bit shocking.

    If it had been pitched as..”.Board to hear consultants assessment of master plan options for increasing enrollment.. future community input planned for big changes required” There would have been less confusion.

    I hope that our community reacts kindly and doesn’t make it seem futile to get input. If getting input enrages people just as much as not getting it, which would you pick?

    Given that we’re talking about doubling enrollment here, I don’t think there is anything that could be categorized as epic failure….

    But circumstances do change, and it’s important to assess goals and whether the current situation meets those goals.

  6. Yeah I totally agree. All of this hullabaloo could have been avoided.

    Reading the reactions on this blog are amazing. People can be so self important and impetuous. Fact: we need more space for middle and high school. All the complaining about how CSD has not been “open” does not change this. Am I upset about paying more in taxes? Sure I am but it doesn’t change enrollment.

    We can fault CSD for not going about this the right way, but sooner or later everyone will need to accept that this is going to happen.

    1. A voice of reason is refreshing to hear.

      Let’s acknowledge that we are facing a challenge that is a result of just how attractive 1. our community is and will be and 2. how good our school system is and will be.

      This is a great problem to have and folks like us who like to keep abreast of activity in our town should figure out how to solve. I would be happy to aid in projections / forecasting — though beware, I used to be a consultant…

  7. The cheapest alternative Is to limit the number of families with kids who move into Decatur and also limit families to only 2 kids. Single parents can only have 1.

    1. True. This worked well in China. Except why would single parents be allowed 1? If mom and dad don’t consort, you must abort!

      1. Geez, I would settle for just some consideration for those of us who remain child-free and willingly pay those high taxes for other people’s kids. Is it really too much to ask that we occasionally dine without the rug-rats? Salute the single, the sterile, the infertile, the old, and those of us this way by choice!

    2. Re working well in China: I hear that there’s now a shortage of women for the men to marry since, somehow, the one child policy ended up with an unusual proportion of families with boys. So what we could do in Decatur is specialize in having girls only, advertise in China, and then charge enough of a surtax on international marriages that families in Decatur become revenue-positive.

      Or there’s my School to Condo to School modular unit idea.

      1. I’ll bet we could hire a consultant from Agnes Scott to help with implementing this policy.

  8. We’re 2-years-ago transplants from Atlanta Public Schools where we had kids in school for over a decade before becoming exhausted by the mess they created on what felt like every possible front and finally moved to Decatur. The schools are not perfect – we all know that nowhere is perfect – but they are SO MUCH BETTER than the turmoil in surrounding areas that trickles down to the students in a million annoying and/or disturbing ways. (Which, of course, is why people like me have flocked here – and we were in the best schools there). If overcrowding is the biggest problem (and only real one aside from individual situations that can happen anywhere, including at high dollar private schools), it seems like a real opportunity for the community to quit judging and complaining and put some positive energy into solutions that are realistic and sustainable. Crowded classrooms are not a crisis. They are a challenge.

    1. Re “positive energy into solutions that are realistic and sustainable.”: That’s one of the things that School Leadership Teams should do–get input from families and the community and suggest solutions. It’s happening but only by pushing very, very hard. Hopefully, the involvement of SLTs will eventually become more automatic the way it is in a few charter school systems.

      1. Agree completely about the SLTs. This forum is useful for sharing information in the broader “community”. But if anyone wants to have genuine influence over the process, it has to be done top-down (CSD board members) and bottom up (SLT members) simultaneously. I also agree that the SLTs should solicit input but remember, half of the SLT members are teachers/staff who may not want to buck the leadership and the other half are busy parents like us. If they can’t always be as proactive as we would like, we need to be clear with them that these issues need to be on their radar screens.

    2. I love M3’s perspective! Anyone who comes from one of the surrounding metro school systems knows we’ve got it good. Let’s focus on what IS working well in CSD and make sure we don’t lose sight of that. Community input on this coupled with thoughtful, and TRUTHFUL discussion about the problems we have or believe we will have is essential. We are a community filled with brilliant, innovative minds – we can come up with a plan that makes sense and at the end of the day benefits our children and their futures.

        1. Very interesting! Really! Especially Figure 3. Love that Kamchatka was involved with the Siberian migration—that was one of my favorite territories in Risk!

    3. M3: +1
      Namaste! Please. Some of the nattering nabobs of negativism fixated on bashing our schools, which by any reasonable measures are outperforming all of our intown Atlanta peers, and most of the state of Georgia (admittedly a lowish bar), need to breathe. Yes, we have some issues. Generally all first world problems. Can we please approach this with a positive attitude? Our school officials are not out to get us. And have generally proven themselves competent (or better) over a long period of time. How about we keep an eye on them, yes, but give them support and only CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, and otherwise let them do their jobs?

      1. SLTs are an underutilized way to share constructive suggestions and information and have been successful in a few projects over 5 year period of our first charter, e.g. the Clairemont Math Academy, Decatur 101, RMS school improvement plan input, RMS gifted plan. Other SLTs should chime in with good examples. But SLTs need to be used more often and more automatically. SLT members have had to push awfully hard to get as far as they have. A book is coming out soon that highlights our system and other area charter systems. There’s good examples and models for how charter systems can use SLTs productively to build teacher and parent engagement, buy-in, and school improvement.

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