Wednesday, March 28, 2007

SUSD teacher association president Julie Aiello

Julie Kawahara spoke with SUSD teacher association president Julie Aiello earlier this month. Here are the most relevant parts of their conversation, as noted by Julie K.

What might be the concerns of teachers regarding the REACH program?
  • Differential education – agreed that different kids learn differently and should have different learning opportunities to meet their needs. Spoke to REACH teachers are not specifically credentialed like Waldorf or Montessori. Even IBO has training program, so teachers can be replaced (discussion on bumping and whether REACH teachers had protection). Did not talk about whether an addendum to teacher contract via MOU would be or could be possible.
  • Inequalities, elitism - Spoke to this a bit. Suggested that REACH teachers attend staff meetings, that REACH parents become part of the community, participate and combine open house events, participate in Wed Newsletter. Discussed on how REACH could take in “underachievers” and maybe with REACH environment, educational philosophy, smaller class size, arts-enriched, these students would be more engaged in their education.
REACH should consider diversity and accessibility. Proposal to have teachers identify kids who would be good candidates for REACH. This would require orientation and understanding of REACH by all teachers (which would be a good thing!).

RPF Board statment to SUSD superintendent

Statement to Superintendent Wheeler, SUSD Board of Trustees, SUSD teaching, student and parent community:

The REACH Parent Foundation Board voted last Monday night to pursue developing the REACH Creative Arts Magnet Program at the Sebastopol Union School District for school year 2007-08. This decision was very difficult and took into consideration many factors including parent viewpoints, preservation of the program vision and mission, ability to actualize the vision and mission, and sustainability of the program through a partnership between a public school district, teachers, students and parents.

The REACH Parent Foundation has supported the REACH Creative Arts Magnet since 2003 at the Gravenstein Union School District. Unfortunately irreconcilable differences in philosophy and management style prompted the decision to look for alternative options.

The RFP Board believes that SUSD provides a good vision and mission match with the REACH Creative Arts Magnet. First, the district has embraced alternative educational programs that are focused on providing unique learning experiences for the students of the district and providing choices for families. The latest decision to establish an IBO program at the Parkside campus and expand the grades from a K-3 to a K-5 requires commitment, investment and a strong belief in alternative education. Furthermore, the district’s demonstrated process of involving teachers in data analysis, problem-solving and researching/recommending the solution is an inclusive process that RPF Board members believe will serve REACH into the future.

Furthermore, RPF Board members and parents have been impressed with the level of communication and involvement with the parent community and commitment to children’s education as demonstrated by the content of the district/school newsletters, website and content/conduct of SUSD Board meetings.

In making our decision to bring the REACH Creative Arts Magnet to Sebastopol Union and Brookhaven School, the members of the RPF Board understand that this a proposition of partnership. Thus the RPF Board members and parents look forward to many collaborative conversations regarding how we can collectively make REACH an asset in your district.

In spirit of great education,

REACH Parent Foundation Board