Some kindergarten teachers from Tournament Hills Elementary told the board Tuesday night that the current situation isn't working. They came to the meeting with a proposal for a solution that would work for them at Tournament Hills Elementary. Their solution was very similar to an option the board considered in May. The "Early Bird Late Bird" plan was first discussed at the May 26th meeting. The plan came up for discussion when the administration was asking the board to approve the new start times for the 09-10 school year.
Several board members informed the audience Tuesday night that they had been in favor of the EBLB plan until they gave into the wishes of the kindergartner teachers. This wasn't exactly how I remembered it so I went and reviewed my summaries for the May 26th and the June 9th meetings. I am embarrassed to say after reading my two summaries, I was completely confused. So I went to review the district's official minutes for those two meetings and I no longer felt so embarrassed.
The minutes reminded me that this was the most confused and misunderstood issue discussed in BUSD board meetings over the last two years. Here are the links to the minutes and the pages covering this issue:
May 26, 2009 Minutes Item 13.1 pages 22 - 33
June 9th, 2009 Minutes Item 13.1 pages 17 - 30
I think you will find, as I did, that the board members were as confused as I was. The only people who seemed to think they understood all the details was the administration. It was clear there had been no preliminary discussions involving teachers, parents, or even board members. With an issue as important as this, why would the trustees allow the cabinet to introduce these plans in board meetings weeks before they had to make a decision? This should have been unacceptable to the board.
Board president, Mrs. Lara, summarized the board's position at the end of the discussion when she said, "I would prefer that the principals and the teachers made the decision on how they wanted to handle kindergarten… I mean to work with Instructional Support Services instead of having us 5 decide." Mrs. Lara's suggestion this week was, "How about asking the parents to help?" I am all in favor of having the teachers, principals, and parents making the decisions and providing the solutions. So, why do we elect a board of trustees?
Before I am accused of being part of the problem and not wanting to be part of the solution, I have a suggestion. It's not too late to bring parents, teachers and principals together to work with the administration to devise a strategy and a plan to do what's right for our kindergartners. The school site councils are made up principals and elected representatives of the parents and teachers. How about bringing all the site councils together to provide the board some direction?