Recent comments

  • Parental and Community Involvement   9 years 50 weeks ago

    I agree with other parents that the traditional methods for involving parents should shift more to engaging parents- events that are inclusive of the whole family, done at the the district level rather than or in addition to what is done school by school -so that there is more consistency as a district.
    What is your intention with regard to making sure parents are active in the brainstorming and development of the activities offered to them so that they meet the real needs of parents and families?

  • Truancy   9 years 50 weeks ago

    Many students in the Rochester City Schools perform two or more levels below in reading, yet the district has removed certified reading teachers, from their schools. What will you do to assist students who are not reading at grade level?

  • Facebook is evil?   9 years 50 weeks ago

    Facebook can be an incredible time suck, and I'm not that fond of it either. It is the social networking equivalent of junk food most of the time.

    What I do find it to be good for though is organizing groups of people on a small scale. I'm not talking about the big "Let's see if we can find a million people who hate GW" type groups - but the smaller groups - under 50 people. Here in NJ we have a new media group that meets regularly and Facebook has been a boon in finding new people and also keeping current ones informed of our actual real life meets.

    I'm actually enjoying micro-blogging on Twitter a hell of a lot more. I get really interesting and oftentimes actionable information and links from people I follow on there. Also - I get info from people I would otherwise never have access to.


  • Parental and Community Involvement   9 years 50 weeks ago

    I have had a child in the district since 1985 and my youngest is in 6th grade now! Over the years I have seen varying degrees of turn out for the various meetings at the schools where my children have attended. However we have to recognize that Parental Involvement comes in a lot of flavors! As frustrating as it can be for those of us who choose to come to the meetings and events, not all flavors require leaving the home!

    1. Understanding that most parents will do better when they know better: What will you do to empower teachers ( and principals) to arm parents with the tools they need to re-enforce learning with their children at home? Having parent education institutes is not the answer when it is not always convenient to leave home for training.

    2. What will you do to make the site more informative to parents? For instance, contact information for all teachers should be on the web site (we don't always know first names to decode the email address). Where is your email address on the site? Postings of meeting minutes (PTSA, SBPT). Allowing parents to submit questions to the various constituencies on line; handouts from the various institutes should be accessible; etc.

    3. What will you do to create / encourage an inviting culture for parents in the schools?

    4. What are your plans to engage the churches to get input, communicate and get buy-in to your plans?

  • Performance   9 years 50 weeks ago

    Many high school teachers say that to often students enter high school reading at a third or fourth grade level.

    • What are you going to do, to increase significantly, the number of students who read at grade level, in district high schools?

  • Parental and Community Involvement   9 years 50 weeks ago

    There is no structured way for the parents' and students' communities to communicate with other district stakeholders, in an organized manner (a district-based planning team, approach).

    • Are you (Superintendent Brizard).going to re-establish a district decision making table, where all stakeholders can share in the process?

  • Parental and Community Involvement   9 years 50 weeks ago

    The district has started a process, with the parent community, to develop and implement a Shared Decision Making Process. Recent Example: a little over week ago, some parents were allowed to have a limited role, in the selection process for the Administrator of Parent and Community Involvement position.

    1. Will you (Superintendent Brizard) continue the development of a Shared Decision Making Process, with the parent community?

    2. What does shared decision making means to you?

    3. Is it your intention, not to fill the position of Administrator of Parent Involvement?

  • Parental and Community Involvement   9 years 50 weeks ago

    I have the blessing of being a Parent and an Employee of the Rochester City School District. Parental involvement constitutes more than just turn-out for distrcit events. This is probably one of the least connected indicators to student success. Turn-out at District events is a result of the development of quality relationships with school staff, and a high value for education.

    I am concerned that Mr. Brizard may be chosing one stakeholder over another. I certainly want Mr. Brizard to have laser like focus on indicators such as graduation rates. However, I do not want this focus to be articluated as a witch hunt. Yes, there are individuals who work for the Rochester City School District who frankly do not care as much about children as they should. However, do not clump those who have a genuine interest in the success of students with those. The Rochester Cioty School District Human resources needs to take a closer look at their hiring practices. In addition, Unions need to take a closer look at the protections avaialble for people who clearly have no interest in educating children.

    Mr. Brizard how will you balance the Community's desire to see results with one of the number task for any great leader, according to Jim Collins, not to demotivate those who work within your organization. If you demotivate those who work within the organization, what is the probability that you are going to reach your goals?

  • Other   9 years 50 weeks ago

    I have read your Entry Plan, and am now reading Dr Cala's parting recommendations document.

    As a secondary level parent, I see that in his brief time with RCSD, Dr Cala has made a thorough and insightful analysis of the current situation (and couched it in language 'regular people' can understand!), with practical, tho' sometimes difficult to fund, proposals.

    To what degree you see Dr Cala's recommendations document as a part of your draft vision and strategic plan?

    Elaine Weinzler Francesco
    School of the Arts
    - SBPT Parent Rep
    - PTSA Secretary
    - "Active Parent"

  • Parental and Community Involvement   9 years 50 weeks ago

    - Give more notice
    - Better description of what the meeting is about
    - use e-mail in addition to 'classic mail'
    - Shift the view point from "how this is good for the district" and "the district wants parents to..."
    to "how this helps me help my kid" , directly - math homework, or long term thru reviewing policies etc.
    - site some of the meetings at schools, rather than at CO or Hart St. - on 'our turf'. (Hart St is just nasty, and CO is intimidating, not to mention inconvenient.) Advertise them as co-hosted by the schools in the neighborhood, who are inviting all of the city to come

    I am rarer bird - an "active parent" at the high school level. I sit on SBPT, I am the PTSA Secretary, and I run an e-mail news service for parents of our school, in addition to working on various school activities and events. I have attended SBPT Collegial Learning circles (headed to one shortly tonight in fact), as well as PPC meetings. I have found them largely a waste of time, poorly organized and little or no useful content. CAFEE meetings are held on Saturday when I work, but I disagree with the 'ear' they have gained in principle - PTAs and PTOs are supposed to be the voice of the parents - CAFEE captures attention because they are noisy, and do not necessarily represent parents in general.

    I agree with the comment that RCSD's parent involvement 'looks good on paper' but falls far short in reality .
    Elaine Weinzler Francesco
    School of the Arts

  • Performance   9 years 50 weeks ago

    In a district where a great many of the children are behind in reading, and therefore behind in math, history and science, it is ridiculous that the credit requirement for high school graduation is significantly above that which the state requires. For a student to be required to pass four science and math courses to graduate, for example, when that student may not be a native English speaker or may have some other impediment to achieving a full educational experience, dooms that child to fail and ultimately drop out or age out of the system.

    The minimum for graduation from all of the district's high schools should be the state mandated 22, with the possible exception of Wilson, the science and tech magnet which has a charter, but only if students admitted to Wilson do so willingly and know the higher requirement they must achieve. However, at each school in particular programs the requirement can be adjusted up to 24, 25 or 26 credits. Children and their families can choose to be either a general education student (at 22 credits) or enroll in an honors or other program (24-26 credits).

    I imagine the original thought was that higher expectations would lead to higher achievement. I think the numbers speak for themselves. More stringent requirements have lead to more frustration for both students and staff, and ultimately have achieved only lower results.

  • Reactionaries   9 years 50 weeks ago

    I would have posted this to "Ibuzza's" blog, but she has no feedback link, and I just can't let it go. She says, "If you have ever watched it you probably already know this, but, almost all of the fight scenes in Star Trek had passages from 'Bolero' underscoring the scenes."
    Um, what time-space continuum is *she* from? Bolero was not played on Star Trek. Ever.

  • My mildly desultory life   9 years 51 weeks ago

    The revelation I've had - now that I know that the word "desultory" means - is that the key to success is not to have a game plan.

  • My mildly desultory life   9 years 51 weeks ago

    Let me know if you figure out how to be desultory, because if I'm going to follow suit I'll need a game plan.

  • Review time   9 years 51 weeks ago

    The charts and graphs on his site make my head spin. Fun! Now that I've mastered the art of pies charts, I'm eager to graph other things, too, though I'm not sure I'd want to publish a bar graph of my mood swings.

  • Review time   9 years 51 weeks ago

    Hmmm. Analyzing something with a pie chart. Interesting.

    The work of Andrew Kuo might amuse you. He contributes to the New York Times music section, and takes this chart idea several steps further. He doesn't analyze concert reviews by other critics. He uses graphics to review actual concerts (Bjork at Carnegie Hall), films (I'm Not There) along with a variety of other subjects. If you have the idle time to explore it, there's an insanely detailed color-coded, letter-indexed, multi-chart spread documenting Andrew's reaction to a summer music series in Brooklyn. Among the breakdowns: quality of the concerts (predicted and actual), how upset Andrew was to miss the shows he missed, duration of sets, sponsor logos displayed, etc.

    On top of all that, he even wrote a short article. It's at...

  • My mildly desultory life   9 years 51 weeks ago


    That link has an interesting article on facebook. The Internet is a great Rabbit Hole, sucking away hours, yea, days of our lives. It's breathtaking how much time one can waste. After I throw a few sheep around and update my blog, I swear I'll start living a real life.


    P.S. PBS' Frontline tonight explores the lives of the first generation of Americans to have grown up on-line.

  • My mildly desultory life   9 years 51 weeks ago

    I think what you're seeking is the state of creative aimlessness espoused by Tom Hodgkinson in his very enjoyable book, How To Be Idle. It didn't change my lazy life so much as gave it a justification. You can get the book at the library.

    If you're feeling too indolent for such a journey, check out the Web site of Hodgkinson's magazine, The Idler It's one of the best places I know of on the Web to while away an afternoon. He's my kind of anarchist.

    Come to think of it, the Web was made for idlers, and mostly made BY idlers. But, that's enough thinking for today. I have to go catch up on lolcats.

  • My mildly desultory life   9 years 51 weeks ago

    Or Let's Call It a Day?

  • My mildly desultory life   9 years 51 weeks ago

    marlene dietrich - "the laziest girl in town"

  • Maestra Barbie   10 years 1 day ago

    Thanks, Andrew. Us, too.

  • Maestra Barbie   10 years 1 day ago

    We try so hard to keep our children off drugs.

  • A subtly shifting balance   10 years 3 days ago

    Thanks for the unofficial announcement. I'm intrigued by a program of music inspired by water and can only imagine what else might be offered. Summer festivals seem to be offering more and more themed or related concerts. This summer at Glimmerglass Opera, for example, audience members will see four new productions linked to Shakespeare, staged on an Elizabethan-style set.


  • A subtly shifting balance   10 years 3 days ago

    It's very exciting that he's coming--a world-class pianist, delightful person, and a wonderful friend to our community!

    We're not officially announcing the summer programs for a few months, but I'll let you in on a secret... Juliana and Jon are indeed playing Brahms, the Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major, Op. 78. It's an extremely tender work, and they'll play it beautifully together. The finale quotes Brahms' famous "Regenlied"(Rain Song), and this concert is all about music inspired by water. As for the rest of the program, well, I'll tell you more later on!

    Between now and then, Brahms fans might think about a concert we have next month with the Orion String Quartet, which is the resident ensemble from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Amy Sue Barston (my co-artistic director) and I are lucky enough to play the Brahms G-major Sextet with the Orion, and the concert also includes a world premiere of a new quartet by Lowell Liebermann, which we commissioned for the Orion's 20th anniversary. Lowell will be there to introduce his piece and greet the audience, and he's delightful. That's all on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Temple B'rith Kodesh, and more info will be on our website tomorrow.


    Edward Klorman
    Executive Director and Co-Artistic director
    Canandaigua Lake Chamber Music Festival

  • A subtly shifting balance   10 years 3 days ago

    Violinist Joseph Joachim urged Brahms to arrange his clarinet sontatas for viola, and I'm glad he did, even though they seem more natural on the clarinet. Of the many recordings out there, those with clarinetists outnumber the violists, but not by much. (I also realize that the de Peyer recording I love best is not on EMI but on Chandos with Gwenneth Prior.)

    I'm glad to hear Jon Nakamatsu is coming to perform in your festival this summer. Will he play the Brahms with Juliana Athayde, do you think?