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Monmouth-Roseville School Board Meeting Tonight

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If you wish to voice your concerns about the “Wacky Wednesday” changes in the school calendar for the 2012-2013 school year, please come to the M-R 238 School Board meeting tonight at 7 PM.  The meeting as the District Office in the old Willits School, 105 North E Street.  Don’t be late – the time allotted for public commentary is at the beginning of the meeting.

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Monmouth-Roseville School Board Needs a Lesson in Open Government

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I went back to the Monmouth-Roseville school district website to see what information was available regarding the March 13 meeting.  The minutes aren’t yet published online, but the agenda was available.

I read through the agenda.  The first thing that I noticed is that the public input session is at the beginning of the meeting.  So, unless specifics of the meeting are published beforehand, the public doesn’t have a chance to comment on anything being discussed and voted on in that particular meeting.  We only have an opportunity to get up and complain after the fact, which is what I’ll be doing at the April 17 meeting.

Secondly, there was NO information published in the agenda about the proposed “Wacky Wednesday” schedule change for the 2012-2013 school year.  The recommendation for this schedule change came out of the District Goals Committee, and this is all that was published in the agenda:

10.2 District Goals Committee Report to Board
Committee Co-Chairs Presentation
Recommendations
This agenda item is intended for information only. No board action is anticipated,
but the board may act upon information presented if they so move.

Does anyone see a heads-up that the council is going to be voting on a schedule change for the 2012-2013 school year?  I sure don’t.  There’s no information at all.

So far, Bobbi Uddin, who voted against the schedule change, is the only school board member who has responded to my email.  I think there are some Monmouth-Roseville school board members who need a lesson in open government.

Wacky Wednesday Comes to Monmouth

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Wacky Wednesday” is a term Peoria blogger C. J. Summers of the Peoria Chronicle used to describe a plan to dismiss students from District 150 schools 90 minutes early on Wednesdays.  While the proposed 60 minute late arrival on Wednesdays at Monmouth-Roseville schools may not be as onerous and absurd as a 90 minute early dismissal, I find this concept equally “wacky.”

If teachers want collaboration time, it should be done before or after or in-between class hours.  There are also numerous “teachers institute” days throughout the school year when collaboration activities could be organized.  Throwing off the regular arrival schedule one day every week is an unacceptable burden on working parents.  I doubt there are many parents in the district who are going to be happy with this plan.  As a parent of five Monmouth-Roseville students, I am completely enraged that this is even being considered.

This issue requires significantly greater consideration and public input before it is put into effect for the 2012-2013 school year.  Before I would even consider supporting such a schedule change, I would need to see hard evidence that cutting into classroom time with “teacher collaboration” time provides a measurable educational benefit to the children in districts where it has been instituted.

I emailed all the M-R 238 school board members on Thursday voicing my opposition to this proposal, and I have yet to hear back from any of them.  I would encourage anyone reading this to do the same.

Written by Matthew

March 17, 2012 at 2:21 am

M-R238 Strategic Plan: Is Wheaton-Warrenville an Appropriate Comparison?

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On Tuesday, January 25, Monmouth-Roseville District 238 held a public meeting to ask for community involvement in developing a strategic plan for the district.  Superintendent Woehlke discussed how district finances are still very tight, and academic achievement in the district has hovered just above or just below the state average for the last five years.  As a part of this meeting, Margo Sorrick, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services at Wheaton-Warrenville District 200, gave a presentation on how her district has consistently maintained high and yet steadily improving levels of academic achievement.

While I think we can always learn from the experiences of others – both successes and failures – I’m not sure how applicable Wheaton-Warrenville’s situation is to M-R238.  Comparing the districts on the Illinois Interactive Report Card, there are a few notable similarities, but also numerous glaring differences between the districts. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Matthew

January 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

Update on Roseville Christian School

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Michelle Nutting @ the Warren County Newswire has posted a good piece on the new Roseville Christian School.

I was rather critical of the idea of a private school opening up in Roseville when the idea first floated.  The anger underlying the criticism in that post stems from my belief that private schools take away from public education.  The passion in that anger stems from my belief that quality public education is essential to the success and well-being of our country.

My anger has cooled with time and the knowledge that there have not been major shifts in local school enrollment.  I was correct in my assumption that the initial interest in the new school was largely fueled by the anger over District 238 closing Roseville Elementary.  While over a hundred residents showed up for the initial informational meetings, only three students were enrolled when the school first opened (per the WCN post linked above, enrollment is now up to four).  I’m sure that the reality of paying thousands of dollars in tuition annually made a lot of Roseville residents realize that the 14 mile bus ride to Monmouth isn’t so bad.  Some students at United & other nearby rural school districts spend 2-3 hours on the bus every school day!

I also know that for one Roseville Christian student, the small class size & personalized educational environment has been a true blessing.  For that student’s sake, I hope this educational experiment succeeds.  However, I wonder how it can possibly be sustainable with so few students.  We’ll just have to see what the future brings for Roseville Christian School.

Written by Matthew

January 26, 2011 at 5:01 am

Moment of Silence Returns

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Like a zombie that just won’t quit, the moment of silence is back in our public schools.  The waste of time, money & ink on this issue appalls me.  How is 15 seconds of silence going to further the education of our children?  Do conservatives really think that this will bring the children of Illinois closer to God?  Do the people who came up with this collective kumbaya think that it will somehow solve all the problems of our broken education system?

UGH.

Written by Matthew

January 21, 2011 at 7:36 am

Protests Across Afghanistan

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The BBC reports protests across Afghanistan over the now-cancelled plans to burn Korans on the anniversary of 9/11.  Can anyone still tell me with a straight face that all the hysteria generated over this “ground-zero mosque” nonsense hasn’t endangered our troops in Afghanistan???  Even though Terry Jones has “suspended” his planned Koran burning, too much damage has already been done.  I’m sure some ingrates will still burn Korans tomorrow, and the media will likely oblige those idiots with international coverage.

Want to strike a blow against the Taliban and Al Qaeda on the eve of 9/11?  If so, then support charities like the Central Asia Institute, Arghand and Beyond the 11th.  Education, employment and empowerment of women in Afghanistan and other Muslim nations – those are the cruise missiles that will destroy Islamic fundamentalism.