I've learned a lot over the last few years. I've learned that the BUSD administration likes having things their way. I've learned there are board members that like the administration having things their way. And, I've learned there are people in the community who have been around a long time, some for generations, that believe this how things are done in Beaumont and nothing is going to change.
I've also learned parents in this community want to be involved in their kids education but feel there is little or no interest from our superintendent to listen to parents or seriously include them in discussions about the direction our schools are headed. I've stated before, and been criticized for it, this administration is not interested in involving parents. I am hopeful the three new board members will see things differently.
I plan to ask the board on Tuesday to consider an agenda item to review and update BP 6020(a), the board's parent involvement policy. This policy was last updated in October of 2006. Federal law requires a district receiving Title I funds to have in place a parent involvement policy that is annually updated. The law requires the district to include parents in the development of the policy and to include them in the annual review of the effectiveness of the policy.
The BUSD's current policy begins:
The Governing Board recognizes that parents/guardians are their children's first and most influential teachers and that sustained parent involvement in the education of their children contributes greatly to student achievement and a positive school environment.
It also says:
Each year the Superintendent or designee shall identify specific objectives of the district's parent involvement program for schools that receive Title I funding. He/she shall ensure that parents/guardians are consulted and participate in the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of the parent involvement program.
This is not happening.
I will ask the board to consider updating this policy at their next meeting. I will ask them to sponsor a parent conference for parents to meet and discuss what they want the policy to include. At the conference, parents will select a group of parents to represent all parents to work with the administration on a new parent involvement policy that will then be approved by the board.
I believe in order for this conference to be successful, child care will need to be provided. I expect the district to provide the location, child care and refreshments but parents will be in charge of organizing, scheduling, and promoting the conference. I've seen too many of the district's programs fail due to poor scheduling and little or no promotion.
I am counting on our new board to recognize their responsibility for promoting parent involvement. Both of the newly elected board members mentioned more than once during their campaigns the importance of parent involvement. I think we will see early on how much we can count on them honoring their campaign promises.