"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015 Community Meetings and Attendance Follow-up

Two Issues:

1. 2015 Community Meetings
2. Follow-up from Oct. 27, 2015 Attendance Discussion with Judge Bazelle

2015 Community Meetings
District personnel will be holding community meetings at every school in the district over the next month.  The purpose is to provide information about the projects that were part of the 2011 bond.  Where we are, and what was done.  It is also to provide information about our growth situation and to provide the community information about how we plan to address those needs.  One of the options would be a bond next year.  The board has not yet decided on a direction, but this is a good opportunity to see what the concerns are, and to voice your opinion on these issues.

In my area, two of the schools, Ridgeline and Highland, have already had their meetings.  The rest are as follows. 

Thursday, Oct. 29, 10:00 am: Lone Peak HS
Thursday, Oct. 29, 1:30 pm: Mountain Ridge JH
Thursday, Oct. 29, 1:30 pm: Timberline Middle
Thursday, Nov. 5, 1:30 pm: Deerfield Elementary
Friday, Nov. 6, 10:00 am: Cedar Ridge Elementary
Thursday, Nov. 19, 10:00 am: Westfield Elementary
Thursday, Nov. 24, 10:00 am: Alpine Elementary

Here is a link to all the meetings taking place in the district.  Feel free to attend whichever one is the most convenient for you.  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzUjUSlTes-4QlZEV1dHZ2xYc0k/view?usp=sharing  I ask that you share this information on the community meetings with at least 5 of your neighbors. 

To provide follow-up on the meeting, please use this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1pqI5BzSttELzPm0dED0frhCltcf05U5H1AWr75bc48M/viewform

Attendance Policy Follow-up
Quite a few people showed up for the Study Session last Tuesday for the discussion with Judge Bazelle about our Attendance Policy.  We had 9 people comment in the public comment portion of the Board Meeting, 7 of those specifically on the current Attendance Policy. But all commenters, including those who came about the Cherry Hill ALL program, were in support of keeping our current attendance policy as it is.  I appreciated all the comments from my fellow board members about keeping parents in charge.  The Judge also said that it has been shown that the Judicial system should be the path of last resort because those that can be helped out prior to getting into that system are better off.  She would prefer that the schools work through a non-judicial process for helping any children that might need it. 

It is important to note that the Obama Administration has an attendance initiative.  And a lobbying organization, Attendance Works, regularly lobbies the state legislature to pass laws tracking chronic absenteeism, not just truancy.  It is important to keep this in mind and to follow these developments.  I greatly appreciated the comments last evening because it will help our Board should we need to weigh in on any proposed attendance legislation come from the State or the Feds. 

One final note on attendance, most studies either do not include parent-excused absences or they don't separate them out to see whether there is any difference between parent-excused absences and truancy on academic outcome.  Of the three studies that I have found that do delineate between excused absences and truancy, there was not any correlation between excused absences and performance.  None!  In fact, one study said they couldn't tell whether the academic performance drove the absence or the absence drove the academic performance.  In short, if a parent is excusing their kids, there is no risk, despite what you are hearing.  Please confirm this for anyone who is concerned that there is no difference.  There is no difference for the majority of the studies because they failed to track excused absences separately from truancy. 

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