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wannaknowmore
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« on: May 19, 2009, 07:25:19 PM »

There are some valid and important questions not being publicly raised about the move to open a charter school in Corbett and the blending of classes ( K-3 and 4-6 etc. ) in our grade school. I think it is wonderful that there has been such improvement in the Corbett school system over the years ... I do.  I just don't think that means we as a community should not be allowed the opportunity to understand the reasons or voice our concerns before such sweeping changes occur.

CHARTER SCHOOL
1. Don't we already have septic tank problems at our school? Will this be resolved prior to the additional enrollment?
2. Will these additional out of district kids being dropped off in the morning negatively effect traffic etc. in Corbett and especially around the school in the morning.
3. Are we losing good teachers to the Charter school?
4. Apparently, the charter school students already have information on the next school year but the rest of the Corbett school system's parents do not?
5. Could this be a glimpse of where the district is going to give priority in time or resources?
6. Will Corbett Schools eventually become one big Charter school with no teacher unions? 
7. Would this be why Mr. Dunton decided to not seek accreditation for our high school?


BLENDED CLASSES
1. Will our teacher's be overly burdened trying to successfully teach blended classes? ( To be clear, we are talking about classes consisting of K-3 and 4-6 ) They already do a huge job, in teaching two grade levels in one class... but three?
2. What about the social issues involved with putting much younger children in with much older children? Mr. Dunton states that this is a highly successful model - but there has been a huge unreported problem of bullying in these blended scenarios this year alone. ( The Little House on the Prairie scenario is great - when you have a school house of no more than 20 or 30 kids... but that is not the case any more. ) Kids in the lower grade levels are at extremely different developmental levels. 4th grade girls should not be so closely involved with knowing or thinking about some of the things 6th grade girls are thinking/talking about.
3. Most of the information received about the changes in classrooms for next year have come NOT FROM OUR SCHOOL BOARD or MR. DUNTON... but from the press and the rumor mill. ( However, this is soon to be reality without input or ability for a Q and A from the parents. )
4. Shouldn't parents be prepared and given options or at least a voice to ask their questions.
5. Does anyone else have issues getting the administration to respond to their questions?

Those are just some of my questions...can anyone answer or share their perspectives?


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East wind
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« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2009, 10:41:20 AM »

I am not for or against the charter school... But I have not heard about the blended classes! Wow... Were they planning on telling us at all? I guess some parents found out when they were signing up their kids for kindergarten.... But what about the rest of us? Transparency?
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Corbettparent
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« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2009, 12:05:16 PM »

I know that there have been at least 4 or 5 community meetings about the charter school.  I believe there were three nights of meetings in a row earlier this month.  I attended one night & the MPB was packed.  There were quite a few questions asked, and I can share what I remember, but Mr. Dunton seemed pretty open to fielding questions if anyone were to call or e-mail.

The questions I remember being addressed:

2. Will these additional out of district kids being dropped off in the morning negatively effect traffic etc. in Corbett and especially around the school in the morning.

They are planning to re-route the buses to the East end near the high school gym, leaving the grade school end for parent pick-up & drop off.


3. Are we losing good teachers to the Charter school?

If I remember correctly we were told, that some teachers have volunteered to transfer into the Charter classrooms for the 3 years of the charter, and it is seen as a leave of absence from Corbett.  If the charter school doesn't stay open after that they would go back to being employed by Corbett.


4. Apparently, the charter school students already have information on the next school year but the rest of the Corbett school system's parents do not?

I believe they were giving out a school district calender (the same one up on the the CSD website) but that is all, I didn't hear anyone talking about what teachers their kids have or who was in the classes.


7. Would this be why Mr. Dunton decided to not seek accreditation for our high school?

Mr. Dunton told us he has de-accredited every school he has been in charge of for two reasons; 1. There is a high cost involved, and he sees it as a waste of money & 2. Most of the top colleges don't even consider accreditation.  In his opinion Corbett being rated the top high school in the state should be enough for any college.


1. Will our teacher's be overly burdened trying to successfully teach blended classes? ( To be clear, we are talking about classes consisting of K-3 and 4-6 ) They already do a huge job, in teaching two grade levels in one class... but three?

I got the impression that the blended grades were going to be used in the charter school only, and that the teachers volunteered to teach blended classes. If that is the case I think the teachers are confident they can do the job.
 

2. What about the social issues involved with putting much younger children in with much older children? Mr. Dunton states that this is a highly successful model - but there has been a huge unreported problem of bullying in these blended scenarios this year alone. ( The Little House on the Prairie scenario is great - when you have a school house of no more than 20 or 30 kids... but that is not the case any more. ) Kids in the lower grade levels are at extremely different developmental levels. 4th grade girls should not be so closely involved with knowing or thinking about some of the things 6th grade girls are thinking/talking about.

I volunteer at the school a few hours a week & as much as we would like to think that 4th graders aren't talking or thinking about some of the same things as sixth graders, that is unfortunately not the case. I agree that there is a large developmental difference, but I think it may play to the advantage of the kids, as it sounds like the charter school will focus on small groups with one or two kids of each grade level.


3. Most of the information received about the changes in classrooms for next year have come NOT FROM OUR SCHOOL BOARD or MR. DUNTON... but from the press and the rumor mill. ( However, this is soon to be reality without input or ability for a Q and A from the parents. )

I really must disagree with you here. As I pointed out earlier, there have been a number of meetings that I have heard of (although I only chose to attend one) And most of the solid information I have heard has come from either Mr. Dunton himself or other parents who attended those Q&A sessions with him & Mr. Trani.


4. Shouldn't parents be prepared and given options or at least a voice to ask their questions.

Again, I feel we were given numerous opportunities to meet with school officials to ask questions & air out concerns.  I believe we are about 6 months into the process since I first heard of a charter school being discussed as an option.


5. Does anyone else have issues getting the administration to respond to their questions?
No, I took my opportunity to attend a Q&A session, and if I had other questions I have Mr. Dunton's email & phone number at the school.
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« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2009, 12:26:15 PM »

Thanks so much for your time sharing all this information with the community.
I think that this is important and helpful.
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Corbettparent
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« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2009, 12:36:42 PM »

No problem.

I am a bit stumped though that there were meetings that a) not all of the community was notified of and b) that in a community the size of ours that word didn't spread of these meetings, especially on this issue.  I was alerted to the meetings earlier this month at least a week ahead of time and discussed it with other parents at the school.
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crown point
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2009, 02:42:26 PM »

Hi everyone,

I am a Corbett grade school parent. I really don't think it should be an attitude of " If you donít go... You donít know or deserve to know " .... Not everyoneís work schedules or even those with infants or with very young children with early bed times... make attending 7PM meetings possible. Not everyone can volunteer as much as they would like to either because of work.

I only received one recorded phone call from Mr. Dunton, to my memory, on a weekend ( the day before or maybe two days before ) a meeting about the Charter school. I never received calls or any letters etc. providing dates/times etc. to discuss this information further. I have certainly received NO INFORMATION about blending grades further next year.

I think it is a misjudgement to assume the concerns being voiced are less valid because they may not have been properly informed by the district of things going on. We get school newsletters with art shows or art classes advertised from the Springdale School - but nothing about a charter school or K-3 and 4-6 classes next year? Huh?

FROM ABOVE:

#2 / Traffic: - re-routing busses does really nothing to stop all the additional cars coming in and out of the schools from out of district. ( other side of the river )
#3 / As far as the teachers - Did they realize that they would be losing their union representation. Mrs. Dunton will now be one of our new K-3 teachers in the grade school..how did that work?
#4 / Charter parents have info - the rest of us don't: I don't have ANY information from the school.... I use a computer... but don't understand how to find things on the school's web site..shouldn't we have something in writing before school is out and they just move all this forward?
#7/ Accreditation:  It's wonderful that Mr. D's daughter will be attending a top college, and also for any other student that makes that grade...but what about everyone else?
#1/Blended classes: No. The grade school too. First time school kids in kindergarten with 3rd graders?!
#2/Social issues: I volunteer too. I have seen first hand the harm done when older children use their 'power' to manipulate the younger children ... especially those too timid to stick up for themselves. You are fooling yourself if you think that all this is not more work for teachers. I know plenty of teachers - and teaching 3 grade levels in one class is a lot LOT to ask.


And yes ... many of us will be at the meeting tonight.

There are far more people that are NOT HAPPY with the information flow than are happy with it.
So apparently there is room for improvement. Maybe that is why a new guy got voted onto the board...and maybe there will be two. Because people want more information and feel they are not getting it.



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Corbettparent
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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2009, 02:51:37 PM »

I'm sorry if I came across with an "If you donít go... You donít know or deserve to know " attitude.  Most of the parents I've talked with who had these questions apparently didn't even know that the meetings happened, so my hope was to share what I had heard at the meeting I attended & find out why the meetings were not better advertised.

I would also like to point out that in the post above, I attempted to leave my opinion on the matters out (except where noted; such as blendings potential to work out) & report Mr. Dunton's answers to questions he was asked.

I do think we are looking at two separate issues though.  The Charter School & School-wide Blending.  It looks like the plan is to use Blending in the Charter School classrooms & apparently in all Corbett Grade School also.  Getting rid of the Charter School would leave the district with an even deeper budget problem & they could still use Blending in all of the Corbett Grade classrooms.
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2009, 11:30:25 AM »

I agree there are two separate issues.

I also think, for those children and families that have been part of the school system, the Charter school both offers them a chance to keep their kids in the school they know and love while also making the rest of our district financially viable.

I do have a few questions, personally, that I don't think have been answered here about both.
I have started a post on each of the above two boards.

Thanks for all who are sharing their questions, views and information.
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