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District officials have been disappointed with parental turnout for some school meetings and events. Spt Brizard is working to reach out to parents in an effort to improve improve turnout.
- 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
I have two children in the RCSD with a total of 7 years of parent involvement with PTA's, SBPT's, CAFEE, DACT, PPC, Various District Committee's and I have noticed a few things:
- there a hundrends of parents who are very involved but sadly the value of a parent is measured (by some) by how many meetings and committee's they can go to like PTA, SBPT, PPC, DACT, etc... and not understanding that parent involvement may look differently from home-to-home and school-to-school. Maybe mom or dad can't run the schoolwide newsletter but they can make sure their children are ready and able to learn each day.
- I never understood how parents who work for the district can also "wear the hat" of parent rep. on district committee's, DACT etc... Parents work various times during the day and so the times of these meeting should reflect parents availability.......
lets mix it up and get some fresh eyes and ears on these committee's/boards.
- Sometimes parents feel as if they are being "looked down on" or "judged" by other parents and staff. Families are different, we need to understand that whether someones family is headed by a very young parent, single parent, working parent, stay-at-home parent, grandparents, non-english speaking parents, parents who may or may not have finished high school or college etc. Everyone has a talent and our goal should be trying to find a place where parents are looked at as partners.
- JUST ASK FOR HELP....the question was asked to a few parents at my school why they decided to help with a very large project -...and the most common answer was " I was asked". A face to face coversation, follow-up and genuine appreciation for our thoughts and ideas as partners.
Mrs.Bakari - World of Inquiry and Wilson foundation
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?
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?
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?
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 rcsdk12.org 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?
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?
Thanks to WXXI for inviting direct comments on our city schools -- direct communication from individual RCSD parents to decision makers at the district level does not seem to be encouraged.
I appreciate that Superintendent Brizard has been making himself available to his constituents today and thank the media who provided him and us with this time. Continuing to make himself this available and expecting the same of all district staff could improve the overall climate and tone of parent/district staff interactions. I also think that the RCSD website could be much more interactive and supportive of parental comments, concerns and involvement.
My child is currently an RCSD high school student. Secondary school parental involvement is different from elementary school parental involvement -- the students have different needs. Parents and teachers need to be partners at every age level -- but I think it becomes more important to add guidance counselors and others to that mix (with the parents) as the children move along in secondary school -- in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade particularly -- sooner rather than later. If parents were asked what would be helpful to them I'm sure you'd have more than enough ideas to consider and implement. What works for one school may not for another -- but let's hold people accountable for continuing to try and for sharing what works across the city.
Parents are in the schools when they feel welcomed and expected -- whether it's open house, curriculum night, school concerts, plays, science fairs, sports events, PTA/PTO meetings or events -- I would think that most schools have had fairly good turnouts for those events. Those are the events that District staff should attend -- take the opportunity to meet parents and students in their schools and listen to their experiences and concerns along with the school staff.
I also agree with the parent who wanted District 'parental involvement' meetings to be "decentralized" -- have District parent meetings where the parents are.
Let's also not require that a parent belong to any particular organization or group before he or she has a voice. As residents of the City of Rochester, taxpayers (either directly or indirectly), parents of RCSD students, etc., we don't need to belong to any other group to have a voice. We all belong at the table. As many others have pointed out, and as CSD parents know, we have a very diverse district -- many extreme challenges, but also a lot of kids who every day do what is asked of them. Let's not forget those kids. Let's listen to all those City of Rochester voices and make use of the common sense we were all born with.
I can't believe how hard it is to reach the Mr. Brizard. You would think his e-mail address would be on his profile page. Could you please let me know how he can be reached thank yo