Monday, April 04, 2011

Odyssey Principal/PTSA Flexing Muscles Over School Choice & Sibling Rule


Ongoing Internal Politicking Getting
Attention Across The Greece School District
  
Special Meeting on Schools of Choice
Monday April 4th @6:30 pm in the Auditorium

SCATS ~~It's obvious from recent and ongoing activity (see links on PTSA site) that this school is feeling threatened by the Attendance Committee's recommendations to the Interim Supt. and other ideas presented to the BOE. Following the BOE meeting of March 15, Odyssey school's principal Sue Meier sent a letter on school letterhead to the BOE attempting to downplay the significance of the differences that may favor Odyssey students over those attending other district schools. Once the BOE showed little chance of making any School Choice changes that could eliminate Odyssey, their tactics changed.

Via an email, I was told their PTSA met again March 23rd following the BOE meeting of the previous night. Again, School Choice topics were pushed to the top of their agenda for discussion. (I confirmed both items were true.) A second letter was crafted by Meier and sent to the BOE, this time focused on a campaign to keep the sibling rule*.

Tonight, I received yet another email (from a different individual) expressing serious concerns over the activities of the Odyssey School's PTSA which just happens to be planning another "special meeting" about School Choice tomorrow night. 

All of this internal politicking, plotting, planning & campaigning by the Odyssey School Principal and her school's PTSA to the BOE leads to questions in the greater Greece community about whether or not these activities are within the bylaws of operating an active PTSA and possibly whether or not they are strictly legal and within GCSD policy and regulations.

SCATS URGES ALL INTERESTED PARTIES TO ATTEND THE PTSA MEETING AT ODYSSEY MONDAY NIGHT. You do NOT need to be a PTSA member to attend a PTSA meeting. Just don't drink their Kool-Aid ;)

*From letter #2: "Approximately 50 percent of every incoming sixth grade class consists of siblings. Knowing the parents and families of students is a major advantage in providing quality services in a school for counselors, teachers, and administrators. The proposal to eliminate sibling priority would splinter families while increasing transportation costs."

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

If odyssey is such a great school, and it's principal is so wonderful - I'm sure they can get the same results with a student population that is more on par with, shall we say olympia or apollo.

Show us how its done!

Anonymous said...

Where an when is that meeting?

Anonymous said...

If more than 50% are siblings that equates to less than 60 opening for incoming 6th graders 60 of 12000, it is like winning the mega millions...tax dollars and a dream.

Anonymous said...

50% are there because of the sibling rule!? Blatantly unfair. If the district is going to have a program like Odyssey (which is a great program to offer) every kid in the district should have an equal shot at attending! The second letter convinced me even more to be against the sibling rule!

Anonymous said...

What I find most troubling about the letters is the lack of acknowledgement by the principal as to why her school is successful. By eliminating the sibling rule more student's are given the OPPORTUNITY to take advantage of what OA has to offer. I believe the real issue is if the school population becomes a true representation of what our other schools are they result will not be the same.

The IB program serves Less than 40 students in the 11th and 12th grade. And even less complete this program. There is no reason that we can not have the IB in another HS and kids that meet the academic requirements could participate via web classrooms taught by the specially trained staff. OA does not have to exist in it current form to maintain the IB program.

And I want to address the have have nots....what OA has is a small population, less behavior problems and is a school of families. The have nots go to school in large settings, with students of all family backgrounds, and thus the get what they get. It is a class system in our public education.

If OA is successful based on staff and the uniqueness...I suggest the district take the staff at OA and place them in various classes through out the district set up a 6-12 OA at apollo and olympia where by which the students are tracked for 2 years, they only have OA teachers in sequence from 6-12 and then compare results to that of OA students taught by the teachers swapped from Apollo and OA. The classroom should be normal classes not AP or IB. I surmise that the result will not be the same as the educational setting is not equal and will prove that OA is a private school in a public system.

Shan

SCATS said...

To 7:08AM ~~ It's TONIGHT. It's posted at the top of the BLOG on the front.

Anonymous said...

Close Odyssey. What arogance!

That principal made a damn good case for return to neighborhood schools. And Odyssey, if it is to remain open , should be the first those "new" neighbordhood schools or maybe it should be the school for problem students.

Anonymous said...

Divorce splinters families... Not eliminating the sibling rule...

SCATS said...

To 12:32PM ~~ While I agree with your point in this situation, at the K-5 level, not having a K-5 structure feels like your kid's school "divorces" them at the end of grade 2! The bigger issue is that EVERYONE IN GREECE SHOULD HAVE THE SAME ... i.e. equity :)

Anonymous said...

To Scats; she way over stated her point... my kids loved their k-2 school but they loved their 3-5 school too... really felt like they were sister schools and did not feel divorced at all and were excited to move up! - just our experience.

SCATS said...

To 1:45PM ~~ Some schools have NO communication between grades 2 & 3 other than what is written on a slip of paper. What everyone knows is that CONTINUITY is very important for young children, even more so for children facing certain problems. What we also know is that from the School Choice forums, that continuity is at the top of the list for why people choose K-5 schools. It allows continuity of instruction, counseling, parental involvement, etc. For older kids, I'm sure continuity helps too. Even as adults, it's easier to adapt to other changes when the overall structure remains the same. It's really a no-brainer.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the main reason people choose PB and WR is because of K-5. I think they choose it because they believe it is better. I think that the K-5 reason is secondary to the reality that many do it to escape their homeschool in the hopes that the education is better based on who attends WR and PB.
If the K-5 was the reason that the schools were successful then why is LR not seeing the benefits of the K-5 experience?
Shan

Anonymous said...

1;45 SCATS: my kids are easy and would do well in any of our schools! I get your point and agree- disadvantaged kids always get the short end of the stick when it comes to program cuts. The BOE and district officials should keep that on their minds-always!

SCATS said...

To 3:58PM ~~ What I said was based upon the "testimonials" given at the School Choice Forum held in December at Olympia HS. Person after person touted the K-5 structure for its continuity, parental involvement and the like. These are comments made by people who chose and have that option.

To 4:16PM ~~ Count your blessings.

Anonymous said...

what a sad state of affairs this "Schools of Choice" has led us to...
I hope Shan is not right but suspect she is...

Anonymous said...

11:37- I don't think OD should be closed- it is an excellent school afterall. However changes must be made to make ALL schools as good as OD.

Anonymous said...

The "splintering of families" that's referred to in the second part is a joke. Perhaps what they're saying is that the change back to neighborhood schools should be abrupt and instant for everyone, regardless of where they attended the year before, but I seriously doubt it. Otherwise the "splinter" argument will always be there.

I also find it comical that now the attempt is to downplay the differences between OA and the other schools. When it suits there agenda, they beat a drum saying what they offer is different. When they need the opposite effect, they beat this drum saying it's not so different. Pathetic!

Anonymous said...

Hey Shan, not for nothing but if your idea about K-5 was correct, there would be a lengthy waiting list a Longridge. There ain't. And don't lump WR into the conversation with Pinebrook. Pinebrook didn't need to have rallies and sell ice cream nights to fill it's classrooms. People select Pinebrook (and only Pinebrook) to get their kids away from the town's undesirables, period. Ridding a particular school of that element makes for a better learning environment, much the same as our town's beloved Odyssey. A hand picked student population will always perform better. It’s no coincidence that both Pinebrook and Odyssey have the lowest percentage of minority and financially challenged students, yet have the best performance among our district’s schools.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever looked at the socio-economic background of the kids that attend odyssey vs. it's two nearest neighbors (olympia and apollo)? Just looking at the free and reduced lunch numbers shows that odyssey is a have vs. have not situation.

Another area of disparity is minority representation. Odyssey has a significantly lower minority population compared to it's two nearest neighbors.

Having a private school for wealthy white families in a public school district is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Scats
Listening to the board study session and they are already talking about a "contingency budget".
How ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

I smell another lawsuit coming to Greece - the lack of equal opportunity for all students in the district...it has happened in the nation in the past, and some parents I'm sure will file this complaint soon against the district. The BOE probably has not insight at all into the fact that having Odyssey could be deemed as unconstitutional by the courts...and therefore Greece is liable.

SCATS said...

To 7:08PM ~~ They rattle off enough numbers to make the BOE member's heads spin & then talk contingency because even they know what they are doing is hogwash. This is a lack of all accountability on their part.

Anonymous said...

They ought to have the admin prepare a budget which would:
a. include the immediate end of SOC, signature schools and secondary option.
b. go to a complete neighborhood, k-5 model.
c. cut all extra curriculars by 10%.

Show the community what that option would look like and allow us to make the choice.

Anonymous said...

Scats @ 4:30 I understand what parents say as they reason they want the SOC and am not convinced that it is the truth, but it sounds better to say it that way rather than be honest. I have no shame in saying I would choose a school that had a lower rate of behavior problems, less class interruptions and smaller learning community. If I had a choice I would make it. I don't so why is it that my children that go to the same GCSD as those that are chosen must be subjected to the behavior, and distractions that impedes learning? I oppose a system that creates a private education in a public school for even less than 10% of our population.

@ poster 4:47
They other testimonial that I have heard is " why end a program that is successful, just duplicate it in all the schools". What is always missing is that the PB and WR OA educate the students that CHOOSE to be in those schools, as opposed to all the other schools that educate the children that they are GIVEN.

SHannon (shan)

SCATS said...

To 8:32PM ~~ I agree 100%!!

To Shannon ~~ In the larger picture, continuity, smaller classes & greater parental involvement probably do foster fewer disruptions, poor behavior, etc. Re: your response to 4:47PM ~~ Keep in mind that SOC parents switch from "There's really nothing better about a lottery school" mode to "Why end the most successful schools in the district?" mode literally at the snap of your fingers ;)

Anonymous said...

To 5:29 - I'm not going to pretend that I know what goes on with the OA lottery but I will say this with regards to OA and minorities...I took my child to the informational session back in the fall for interested families and their 5th graders. I didn't count exactly how many families were there but I would estimate somewhere between 50 and 75 families were in attendance. Do you know how many minority families were there? One. Yes, one minority family was there. I'm sure there were other minority families who were interested but weren't able to attend due to scheduling conflicts, but then again there were probably plenty of non-minorities who couldn't make it to the meeting also. So, the socio-economic make-up of OA seems fairly on par with the demographics of the informational session attendees.

Anonymous said...

Went to Odyssey SOC info mtg. last night; it was very informative and enlightening. Dr. Meier does know her school; especially the kids. There's something to be said for parents who fill out the paper requesting a choice. That is the first step of becoming a stakeholder in your child's education. But along with that paper comes a commitment from that family to work closely with the educators to support their child's education. I saw a real family oriented school of parents that LOVE their school. Wouldn't it be nice if ALL families in Greece loved their school (for what it is and has ) and supported it that way; everyone SHOULD think their school is the best ! Imagine the district we would have; truly one to be modeled after. And BTW the kool-aid was delicious .....

SCATS said...

To 5:52AM ~~ I hope you didn't hurt anything patting yourself on the back like that. By the way, the antidote for the Kool-Aid doesn't come until after your kid stands on the stage with 1/3 of their graduating class as "valedictorian." Enjoy how "special" you'll feel then ;)

Anonymous said...

Still not appropriate to give special admission to siblings. Two of the biggest predictors of a students success in school are 1. parents income level and 2. Mom's education level... I dare say both are high at OA. It may "feel" like the school is successful because of the sibling rule but that "feeling" does not make it so...

Anonymous said...

10:32pm
I am not sure how you can tell by looking at people if the diversity of the population was represented. You can not tell by looking at a child if they are hungry, have a home with 2 parents, if the parents are sick, have lost a job. I hope that you are aware of how many children in your community that are hungry and go with out, and that diversity is not solely about race.

Here is a start, the definition of socio economics:
of, relating to, or involving a combination of social and economic factors.

Note that "those" parents too want better for their children. There are 200 students that attend lottery school from LR.



Shannon

SCATS said...

To Shannon ~~ The other person was talking about ETHNIC DIVERSITY, a very sore topic in Greece Central. By looking at the figures on the school report cards, you can clearly see that a few schools have very few minority students while others have large numbers. Greece distinguishes between diversity (ethnicity) and socio-economics (income mostly) in talking about student populations. You must also remember that for years District Office has pounded on the fact that large numbers of students have come from city schools to Greece increasing the numbers on free & reduced lunches, etc. ... and they weren't talking about Caucasians ;)

Anonymous said...

I am the 10:32pm poster, Shannon, and I was referring to the previous poster who mentioned race being an issue at OA. While income level may not have been easily identifiable, I could definitely observe race easily at that meeting. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Is this where Shannon apologizes to 10:32 pm for insulting the wrong poster? You people are crazy and need to get a life! Why don't you start by going INTO the schools and reading to kids or helping at the clothes closet or food shelf or anything that shows compassion and caring ! MOST SCATS posters are mean spirited bitter people; and NO it does not include me !sorry I have to say this. Wake up people

SCATS said...

To 7:47PM ~~ How does going into to read to kids resolve the SOC issue, reduce the bloated school district budget, get transportation on a strictly reduced diet, etc, etc. etc? It doesn't ;) While you keep your head in the sand about the issues plaguing the district, some of us are sick & tired of attitudes such as yours. It's high time to make a difference for most kids, not just one you read to.

PS ~~ SCATS has more volunteer hours invested for his age than most folks do in their entire lifetime and it INCLUDES helping the Greece Volunteer Ambulance, The Greece Ecumenical Foodshelf, the local fire dept. and other organizations our family values.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that it's not 7:47's head that's in the sand. 7:47 would just rather everyone else keep their head's in the sand so that life can continue to be grand for 7:47's kid.

Anonymous said...

To 7:57PM It doesn't; but it's a start in doing something productive for the overall district rather than just post mean things to say ! Do you really think that even a good portion of the general public reads SCATS or even knows about it- NO! It's the people who promote this mean spirited blog and those of us who access it to be aware of what you SCATS followers spew out to inform the others of just how the Greece community (SCATS believers) support the children of Greece. No I don't mean masking support by your vile accusations and comments. I do not like SCATS and what it represents but I do access it from time to time. You know what they say; keep your friends close; your enemies closer......
As for all of your community spirit; that's all well and good. Why don't you continue on the right path and stop being so mean spirited- shame on you !

Anonymous said...

I think 955 is right. That's like the 3rd stage of life for most the pro-school of choice debaters. 1st: The system produces great results (for their kids), why change it? 2nd: The differences between what happens in these schools is so small, why bother changing it? 3rd: Your all just bitter and mad at the world, so I won't waste my time being involved in such a discussion.

Look back through the archieves of this site or others discussing the issue, it's true. I swear these people were all produced at the same cloning facility.

SCATS said...

To 5:58AM ~~ Who put you in charge of deciding what "the right path" is for the Greece community? If I'm not mistaken, this School-of Choice issue is as old as West Ridge School's identity as an SOC.

There's nothing "mean spirited" about providing a place for exchanging info, ideas, issues, etc. EXCEPT THAT IT THREATENS THE EVIL STATUS QUO !

(See, I trumped your use of "mean spirited" by calling you "evil." That certainly helps fix things, doesn't it? You can go back to reading, but I'll risk making a bigger impact by blogging. Thank you very much :)

SCATS said...

To 5:%*AM ~~ By the way, PLEASE SHOW ME AN EXAMPLE OF A "VILE ACCUSATION" SCATS MADE. If you are going to accuse us of such "mean-spirited" crapple, you need to show us the goods. SCATS bets you can't.

PS ~~ Regarding the numbers who read this BLOG: It's growing fast! SCATS recently added 50 Facebook friends in JUST ONE WEEK!! As pointed out before, without the dysfunction of our school district and town govt, there would be NO NEED for this BLOG. If you want SCATS to go away, drop your book and start making the kind of difference that will bring Greece out of the bargain basement of school districts. Until the corruption is gone, we're stuck in the muck ;)

SCATS said...

5:58AM * ... typo ;)

Anonymous said...

There was historically an anonymous taunting and critical and mocking communicator. She went by the name of "...Rose". Guess who? The power is in the anonymity.

SCATS said...

To 5:43PM ~~ What the heck are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

To 10:59PM- A couple of years back you (and yes I now know who YOU are) accused a certain female BOE member here on SCATS of being drunk during a BOE mtg; u were quite vile about that. And NO I am not ROSE; but if she disagreed with you and what SCATS stands for I like her already ! No need to respond I won't be on anymore to post. I finally found out who you are..... now it's boring...and oh yeah I'm not surprised

SCATS said...

To 9:10PM ~~ Good luck on the identity thing. More than 50 names have been "outed" as SCATS so far. I've kept a list for my amusement.

Ahhh, so even if an accusation is true, it's vile?? I guess you got me there, really good ;)

Anonymous said...

where do you get 60 slots out of 12000 students of 6th graders? Last I knew there were far less 6th graders between all Greece schools. Check your numbers before you start exaggerating!

SCATS said...

To 11:05PM ~~ That figure is according to Sue Meier herself, so if there is exaggeration going on, it's coming from the top down ;)