May 7, 2009

Parent Council Meeting Minutes
May 7, 2009
6:30 pm
Multipurpose Room

Board members present: Julia Janousek (chair and Marcy Family Network facilitator); Bettina Dehnhard (vice chair); Lisa Hondros (secretary, leadership representative); Sarah Tittle (treasurer), Sidney Orchard (parent liaison)
Admin/teachers present: Donna Andrews, Bridget Hall, Rhonda Vopava-Geyette

1. Principal’s Report
K round up, lots of people, successful; Peace Day, human peace sign – shared photos, great day; Volunteer banquet for the district, David Stromdahl, Nancy Atwater honored, Rhonda, Donna attended. Teachers can nominate volunteers to be honored.

2. Changing Schools update

District put forward a proposal about Changing School Options on April 28. Board picked apart the proposal; many parents spoke against parts of it. This Tuesday (May 5) there was a working meeting for discussion – district will now rewrite the plan. Community meetings will be rescheduled, as will the Board vote.

Sarah summarized meeting: at least 3 board members expressed disagreement with open pathway from Marcy to South – Jill Davis, Lydia Lee, Pam Costain
Davis: NE needs these students at Edison
Lee: doesn’t understand open in HS
Costain: “not defensible” but not clear what she meant; called Marcy parents “privileged”

Sarah: wrote to Board that pathway should be preserved, as have others. Encouraging more to do the same. Shared email from South parents who are organizing to preserve the open pathway.

Donna: about 75% of Marcy kids go to South

Animated discussion followed regarding proposed changes and the open pathway from Marcy to South.

Comments included:

Is Marcy’s magnet status protected? Without magnet status could Marcy keep kids? Feeling that there might not be enough kids in the immediate neighborhood.

What was Pam Costain’s concern about “equity?”
She appeared to be talking about schools being shortchanged in certain parts of the city (and seemed to be talking about Area A and maybe Area B).

Board was looking for more attention to race and equity in the district plan.

There are residents in NE who don’t believe in a pathway from Marcy to South; would rather have a community school than an open school; concern for equity in programs; why not bring open to Edison?

Much discussion of large number of NE families who don’t send their kids to MPS.

Parent Kurt Nowacki: 18% of NE high school aged kids go to Edison today
Donna: Edison has large ELL population (70+%)
Donna: recently spoke to Edison principal and invited her to visit Marcy; talked about need to better market what’s going on at Edison, idea of bussing kids from Marcy over to Edison for some classes; need to open doors and market schools

Julia: suggested a two prong approach to the district
1. keep open pathway
2. build up Edison (speaking as the parent of a seven-year-old she would like to send to Edison)

More comments:
Important for Board to hear from NE parents who want to build up Edison

We at Marcy have “walked the walk” for public schools and we should not be forced to build up another public school. She lives in NE, passionate about NE but doesn’t want her kids going to Edison. Reputation as a failing school is too strong.

District policies made families leave Edison. Need new policies to make a change.

Action Plan
Write letters to Board, set up meetings.
Consider idea of Marcy parents meeting with PEN (Public Education NE) families about developing Edison; meeting with Barton and South parents

3. Other Business
a. Teacher Appreciation
Parents Press announcement to bring in treats; lunch on Wednesday (May 13)
Need salads for Wednesday, treats any day

b. Plant Sale
Big volunteer gap end of the day on Saturday – after 5pm

Meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Lisa Hondros (serving as secretary)