Hutch 4 Pasco Schools 5

School Board Meeting Recap 06.05.18

We received over 460,000 in a rebate from JP Morgan Chase.

The Principal for Dayspring brought up the fact that they have been trying to get their contract approved since April 5, and must do so by the end of this month. If it isn’t approved by our school board by that time, it must go through a longer process from the state level.

USEP, our teachers’ union, has concerns about the evaluations process that happened this year and hopes to work those issues out for next year’s evaluations. They will also be working on Instructional and SRP negotiations as we deal with the lackluster budget from the state.

Online classes are required for graduation, but there are issues getting honors while taking online classes.

June 19th at 3:00pm, there will be a workshop for budget, magnet choice, and SSP.

Starkey K-8 is starting architectural work and plans to open August 2021.

Our school loan of 35 million dollars to build our new schools, will be at 2.8%.

Pinecrest is a charter school with their contract to be approved at the meeting today. Pinecrest’s contract stated they would be opening August 2018, but their representation today said they are using a one year deferment in opening so they will open in August 2019. The concern here is that the contract states year one enrollment at 652 and year two enrollment at over 900. Pinecrest will have the option, when it finally opens, to enroll at year 1 or 2 levels.

Our schools use Positive Coaching Alliance. We do not have the manpower to run it in-house, but the board seemed to approve of the program because of the drop in parent complaints.

The school board approved the budget item that says we can spend up to a certain amount. Member Luikart was concerned that these expenses, multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars, would be approved before we workshop the budget. The remaining board explained this was approval up to an amount, but not to the purchases themselves and those would be determine after workshopping.

Pine View Middle has become a middle year IB program!

Member Beaudoin hopes to find ways to fund teacher salaries at the workshop on the 19th.

Local companies are looking forward to students graduating from Wendell Krinn.

Accurate reporting requires more than one check.

In a recent article, it was mentioned that I filed a form of undue burden, but still spent money on my campaign. This article left out crucial facts for you to be informed.
(1) The article implies that this is a route to get out of paying petition fees, but the petition fees are still due. They are simply postponed until the end of the race.
(2) I publicly announced I would no longer be seeking petitions, but would pay the filing fee. This is not mentioned anywhere in the article, while other candidates who have said they will pay the fee were listed with that information.
(3) The purchases from my campaign that were mentioned were made after I decided to pay the fee. I could have revoked my undue burden form, but this seemed an unnecessary step if I wasn’t going to be handing in any more petitions.

As readers, we need our reporting to be framed responsibly by our journalists. Due diligence is paramount to responsible and accurate reporting, and could have been achieved by:
(1) A simple facebook search showing my video about the filing fee.
(2) Any kind of communication. My contact information is readily available. Had I been contacted in any format, I could have provided clarification on the matter.
(3) Appropriate use of communication. I spoke with the author briefly the night before this article while attending an event for teachers and students in the county.

The Tampa Bay Times is a primary source for information about our local politics in Pasco county. We need honest and accurate reporting to inform voters so they can make the best choices for our community when they enter the polls. When honesty and accuracy are no longer the standard, we all suffer and become disenfranchised.

I invite my constituents to reach out to me at any time to talk about my campaign, and thank those who have supported me on my odyssey of advocating for teachers and students through the school board.

REVIEW: Save Me a Seat, Sarah Weeks

I will be doing novel reviews every Friday. If the novel sounds interesting to you, go to the library on the weekend and start reading. I drive far too much, and have found audiobooks helps me maintain my sanity in traffic. If you have a book you’ve been wanting to read, let me know. I’ll add it my audiobooks if I can and then review it for you.

 

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks.

I downloaded this audiobook because I thought it was an education-based, nonfiction book. After listening to Tina Fey’s and Amy Poehler’s autobiographies (which are amazing as audiobooks!), I was on the hunt for stories based in reality. Save Me a Seat is NOT nonfiction, but still absolutely adorable and amazing for young kids.

Save Me a Sit focuses on two boys in the 5th grade. Joe appears to have a learning disability and gets picked on by the class clown. Ravi is new to his class, new to America, and thinks the class clown can be his best friend. As they go through the challenges of starting fifth grade, they realize that first impressions can be misleading and you can’t really know a person unless you get to know them. It’s a wonderful story of friendship, growing up, appreciating your roots, and finding yourself at a young age.

There are studies that show reading novels helps develop empathy. This is a prime example of showing our children how to better relate to others.

Happy reading!

Failing Faster

 

This video, while aimed at video game designers, is an important lesson for children and adults alike.

We must be open to the ideas of others, and open to feedback on ideas of our own. Without creating a space for growth, everything we do will wither away in our dreams or be chained down by our own ambitions and desires. Collaboration helps creativity flow and makes realities out of dreams.

I encourage everyone to use this mantra at some point this week. Look at your failures as an opportunity, and push yourself to hit those failures sooner, so you can recover from them faster. Like mediocre cliches, the truth behind them can power you through. So let’s break some eggs, people.

Dealing with PTSD and Trauma

Today’s shooting in Broward was a tragedy. And while it is easy to get political about gun rights when school shootings happen. We must remember who is affected most by these incidents: the students, teachers, and families at those schools.

At a meeting recently, I was able to learn about TF-CBT, which is trauma focused therapy. For those students, teachers, and families in Broward affected by the shooting, and other families and teachers that are traumatized by this senseless act, remember to care for yourselves in this time. We say that self care is important on a regular basis. Caring for yourself and your family as you navigate life after trauma is just as important. Give yourself time to heal. Heal with each other. And seek out resources that are there to help you.

Let Me Teach

This post is incredibly late tonight because I got to spend my evening at an amazing Campaign Kick Off Fundraiser for Kelly Smith. While there, I spoke with a substitute teacher in Pasco. We talked about the attack on teachers.

When I first became a teacher, I remember the other teachers in my magnet program telling me that it only started to get easy during their third year. They told me it would take until my third year before I’d be really confident. By then I’d have enough lesson plans to make planning smoother, so I would be adding to my collection instead of building from scratch.

Then my third year came. We really delved into our new textbooks. We embraced our teacher evaluation system. We had more teacher accountability. And I was drowning. I turned to those teachers that told me this was when it would start to get easier. I heard from multiple teachers that this was their hardest year. 10 years, 15 years, and sometimes more, and all were saying this year was their hardest.

This video focuses on mandated testing, but the crush of creativity comes from everything that takes away teachers’ autonomy: standards and procedures that say that teachers went to college but came out without enough education. Let’s treat our teachers with respect and let them inspire our students.

To Charter or Not to Charter…

As a teacher, there were challenges I saw in how we educate our students. Our classes were too large, especially classes designed for students who struggle like Intensive Reading, our teachers were unable to collaborate, and our lessons were not cohesive.
At one point in my four years of teaching, I looked into the process for opening a charter school. It had been a dream of mine to open a school for students that I could run to focus on actual student needs. We wouldn’t be controlled by transportation or maximizing our teachers. We could make a school that would be a model for the country. I actually drew a picture of the school senior year and wanted to run it with a friend.

I realize now that this would have had the same issue that I always had while teaching. It just doesn’t do enough. Charter schools run by educators is an awesome concept, but it forgets an important detail. Why are these educators having to make charter schools in the first place? Our district and our school board needs to be open to the ideas of its educators about the issues directly impacting their students.

Charter schools run by corporations should be private schools – since they are essentially private businesses. Why are we taking money from public schools to give to these mock private schools? I’ll delve more into the HOPE bill later in the week to discuss more of how this harms our students.

Take the poll on twitter. Do you have your student educated by public, private, charter, or home school? https://twitter.com/Hutch4PascoSB5/status/963182073124216832 

Financial Literacy for our Teens

While out shopping, I met two teenage boys who were discussing doing their taxes while stocking shelves. I walked up right when they were talking about it, and the first boy was suggesting that the second boy use the same tax person his family used. The first boy mentioned how this person would do his taxes for him. The second boy was wanting to do his taxes on his own for the first time to really benefit from them, and that he had no idea what to do with them.

I told both of these boys that as long as they didn’t have major assets, which most teenagers don’t, they could easily do their taxes by themselves using Turbo Tax or HR Block. I explained that we only have to do federal income tax, which is free through most online tax providers. I even told them that HR Block will even walk you through it in person for free, as I had done that in college when I had trouble understanding why my tax refund went down as I added more employment.

These boys could not be far out of high school, if out at all. Why are we not teaching students basic financial literacy? As employees of a retail business likely only making minimum wage or slightly above it, they are in the enormous portion of our society that would not want to spend what little bit of their tax refund they get on someone else preparing it for them, especially when they can do it for free. This could be a single day activity for students between February and April 15th, when they would have access to their W2 forms, and could even be done in a computer lab so students could file their taxes right there together.

In our ever-changing and ever-progressing society, technology is a must. Our students should not be facing the realities of the world without proper preparation from their schools. Let us defend our students’ rights by preparing them to be functioning adults.

Enrollment at Wendell Krinn Technical High School

As of January 16th, the Wendell Krinn Technical High School had received about 560 applications, according to the Pasco County School Board. Their projected enrollment is 600 students.

As a teacher that worked in a magnet program, you will always receive more applications than you can take, because students may not qualify due to entrance requirements, students may not choose to go to the school after being accepted, and student numbers may have to be balanced due to different factors.

While Pasco County Schools needs a technical school, and hopefully many magnet schools in the future to give our students options with their education in the public education system, taking over an existing school creates more problems. Teachers will have to find new jobs as they are pushed out, because they may not have the necessary requirements to teach at a technical school or will be downsized in their departments because the school will start with a smaller pool of students. New teachers will have to develop curriculum as they will be teaching classes never taught before in Pasco public schools, and may not have had the time to create their curricula.

Ridgewood HS and its unsure students and parents.

At the Pasco County School Board meeting that took place on January 16th, three parents spoke out about the decision to turn Ridgewood HS into a technical school and the rezoning of students that would result from the decision.

One parent expressed concern about the loss of the athletics department, as their child had been involved in athletics while at Ridgewood and would not be able to stay there for athletics in their final year. This parent was also concerned that the School Board has yet to determine how diplomas will work and if her child will be able to get a diploma there.

Another parent was concerned about not knowing at this point where their child would be going in the following year as rezoning has not been finalized. The School Board voted, with opposition from Member Luikart, to rezone students from Ridgewood. Luikart stated that while he didn’t agree with the decision, it was at the point where students needed to know where they were going to school for the next school year.

The last parent expressed concern that the last year’s rezoning decision was just determined to be voided by the court system. With this issue in mind, the School Board may face more opposition with their rezoning, even though they are doing it differently than last year. The court decision turned on the lack of visibility in the School Board’s process due to the Sunshine Law.

The School Board is made up of elected public servants. It is their job not only to listen to the parents, teachers, and students of Pasco County in their decision making, but to keep the public informed on their decisions. As Pasco grows, we must start making better decisions for our students so they are not overcrowded, so they are not moved every year because the schools we are moving them to are already full, and so our students can have a voice in their educational decisions.