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Author Topic: Letters from Mr. Dunton & Discussion on the Charter School  (Read 24435 times)
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« on: May 20, 2009, 05:15:55 PM »

Please use this board to discuss issues related to the Charter School.
Here are two letters from Mr. Dunton. The first from 4/25/10 and below the first a second from a year ago:

.........................................................................................
THE BELOW LETTER WAS SENT TO CHARTER SCHOOL PARENTS & TEACHERS 4/25/10
FROM MR. DUNTON, DIRECTOR AND ALSO THE SECRETARY OF CORBETT CHARTER SCHOOL
A CORPORATION WHERE THE CORBETT PUBLIC SCHOOL IS ITS CLIENT
.........................................................................................

Sent: Sun, April 25, 2010 12:21:03 PM
Subject: End-of-Year Concerns

Dear Friends,

Corbett Charter School is on the verge of concluding an extremely successful first year.  Considering that just 15 months ago we didn't exist, this is a remarkable achievement.  It has been a whirlwind within the broader context of a very stormy education/economic environment in East County, Cascade Locks, and Sandy.

We have had a tremendous response to our school, and among the 500 applicants were parents who enrolled in Corbett Charter School for a wide variety of reasons. 

Some had already been attending in Corbett, and the Charter School was a 'safe harbor' for them to continue to do so.  Making a school for you took a tremendous amount of effort and literally hundreds of volunteer hours.  If it pleases you, then we are pleased.  If, on the other hand, it causes you to wave papers about and scream in public meetings, we encourage you to continue to look for the best placement for your family.

About half of the Charter parents are new to Corbett this year, and the politics of the above group are not immediately apparent to you.  Even so, you also came for a variety of reasons.  Some came out of fear of your local schools.  Some came from good schools whose offerings didn't extend into the upper grades.  Some had an eye on Oregon's best college prep program.  Some applied to the Charter, were accepted, and only then began to wonder what it was and how it worked...as I said, a wide variety.

A wide variety of reasons and circumstances, but only one school.  A charter school.  One with promises to keep.  We do Imaginative Education.  We do broad multiage classrooms with no subject-area specialists except in music, art and Spanish until grade 10.  We do Advanced Placement for all.  We put teachers in charge of their classrooms.  This combination makes us utterly unique.  Literally. Unique.  Like no other.  Unprecedented.

We are focused on student achievement.  We are single-minded in that regard.  We are not focused on pleasing or flattering people unless they are pleased or flattered by achievement.  There are schools that major in flattery and in pleasing people.  We are not them.  Our mission is not the fulfillment of the needs of any group other than our students.  I am truly sorry for those who came seeking something else, but I suggest that their searching is not over.

This creates an interesting curve of parental satisfaction: the older the students, the more satisfied the parents.  (This is the opposite of most schools, where everyone loves their above-average elementary schools but nobody trusts their middle and high schools!)  Why is this curve so peculiar?  As parents become less concerned with their own activities in the school (middle and high school parents tend to take on a very different role than is often sought by parents of 7-year-olds) and more focused on student achievement, they love the results that Corbett provides.  The letters that we get from parents of students who have graduated are very different than the mutterings one hears in the hall from parents who are upset that they didn't get to dictate their student's elementary math curriculum!  (Very few parents want to dictate their child's calculus curriculum.  Yet they are pretty sure that they know what their 3rd graders ought to be doing!)

I have been told that my attitude sounds like it's 'My way or the highway.'  That's not my attitude at all, though those who see themselves as victims of life might see it that way.  My attitude, the very core of my philosophy regarding school choice, is: 'Read the landscape.  Identify your options. Make a good choice and take responsibility for it.' 

Here is a thought:  Corbett Charter School is not your neighborhood school.  One profound difference lies in the governance model.  In a traditional public school, patrons can, based on where they reside, harangue the local elected board, assert their right to local control in public meetings, threaten recall board members or to lobby against the next construction levy.  The Board is directly responsible to the voters.

Charter Schools are different.  Corbett Charter School Board members are appointed, not elected.  The majority are veteran teachers with years of classroom experience, including hearing concerns from parents. Three of the Board members have advanced degrees in education as well as administrative licenses.  One is a veteran curriculum coordinator, another a veteran board member, another a parent leader with extensive experience inside the schools and children in two different buildings.  Two have children who have graduated from Corbett and three have children in the schools today.

The Corbett Charter Association appoints the Charter School Board.  The association board administers the non-profit organization and its members created Corbett Charter School.  They designed the Corbett Charter School.  With expert assistance from the Charter School Board members, they secured the start-up grant, applied for the charter, negotiated the charter agreement, staffed the school, all in record time.

It's important to note the the Corbett Charter Association is a corporation.  It conducts business.  It is not a democracy.  It's not even a representative democracy.  It does its business in whatever way seems best according to its own lights.  Those who wish to do business with the Association do so on a strictly voluntary basis.  And they may choose to do business elsewhere if there is a better alternative.

One of the Charter Association's clients is Corbett School District.  Again, this is a voluntary, contractual relationship.  The District can choose to do business with the Charter School.  It can choose not to.  But those are its choices.  It doesn't supervise, control or manage Corbett Charter School.  It doesn't determine either policy or practice except as determined in the Charter Agreement.  Those who wish to take their concerns regarding the Charter School to the Corbett School Board probably don't have the legal standing to address the board (unless they live in district) but most importantly are misconstruing their circumstance.  They are misreading (or have no experience with) the law regarding charter schools.  The Corbett School Board is not empowered to direct the actions of the charter school in response to the concerns of charter school parents.

Charter law is fairly straightforward.  It empowers parents with choice.  This should be reason for celebration, yet parents seem not to celebrate.  They have the choice to come or go as they please.  But there are those who, as I said before, are reluctant to take adult responsibility for making a choice.  They try instead to make others responsible to organize the world around their preferences.  That's simply not how this works.

Corbett Charter School is committed to providing an extraordinary education to the children of those parents who choose to enroll here.  With adequate resources, we might one day expand our mission to the satisfaction of the existential needs of the parents as well, but for now we are of necessity limited to our educational mission on behalf of children.  We welcome the participation of those parents who are like-minded with regard to their educational aspirations for their children.  The Charter School will take responsibility, in every case, for the ways in which we educate.  And we will empower our teachers to implement our educational philosophy and practices.  We will provide this service even to children whose parents don't have the inclination or luxury of committing hours each day to education and depend on us to do it instead.

To summarize:  If you are a parent, you hold all of the power.  But it is the power of choice, the freedom to act on behalf of your family.  And it should be cherished.  It is not the power (because the governance system of charters doesn't facilitate it) to recreate the school in keeping with your personal vision.  You are, in fact, the ones who have the right to say 'My way or the highway'.  We hope that you will stay and work with us.  We believe that Corbett Charter School is your best option in the region, public or private, for securing a truly remarkable education for your family. 

I hope this finds you well.

Regards,

Bob Dunton, Director, Corbett Charter School,
Secretary, Corbett Charter School Association

.........................................................................................
THE BELOW LETTER WAS SENT TO CHARTER SCHOOL PARENTS 5/24/09
FROM MR. DUNTON, DIRECTOR
CORBETT CHARTER SCHOOL
.........................................................................................


Hi,

I hope this finds you well (and finds you!!!)

I wanted to catch you up a bit on the latest goings-on from Corbett.

At the most recent Corbett School District Board meeting, a half-dozen
people from the community spoke of concerns with the speed of the
development of Corbett Charter School.  (Nobody, by the way, spoke against
the Charter School). I guess it looked fast if you weren't working on it
every evening and weekend for the past four months!  People expressing
concerns at Board meetings is fine, but it sometimes makes others nervous,
so I wanted to give you a clear picture of what went on.

At the same Board meeting, the entire middle school teaching staff spoke
passionately in support of the Board, the administration and Corbett Charter
School.  Fully half of the high school faculty came in person or sent
letters of support.  A half-dozen parents came to do the same. I have never,
in 17 years of Board meetings at various levels, seen such an overwhelming
display of support for a school. The Board voted unanimously to approve the
Corbett Charter School agreement, the crowd erupted into applause and
cheers, and we are OFFICIAL.

I want you to understand that no truly remarkable enterprise will ever avoid
having detractors.  There will be critics.  There will be those who feel
left out or not 'in control' who will take pot shots.  There will be emails
pretending to express concern but masking a less benevolent agenda.  Having
been in the public eye for a lot of years, I have come to expect all of
this.

Corbett High School is about to be named (I have it from a source inside
Newsweek Magazine) among the top 10 public high schools in the United
States...and we still have our critics.
Corbett Middle School is Oregon's only nationally-recognized School to
Watch...and there are those who continue to complain.
Corbett Elementary School is the most thoroughly multiage and thematically
rich elementary school that I have ever seen, and student achievement there
continues to lay the foundation for remarkable success in later education.
But those who wish they were in charge can't stop trying to find something
bad to say.

If you choose to participate in something truly remarkable, your life can
never be free of controversy.  Corbett Charter School is about excellence.
Our intention is to be the finest school anywhere.  We see no reason to set
our sights lower than that.  We have a great plan, a splendid staff, and
tremendous support from our own parents and from the Corbett community, the
Corbett School District Board of Directors, and from the teachers and
classmates of the Corbett Schools.  Please don't let a few detractors cause
you concern.  If nobody showed up to complain, I wouldn't know what planet I
was on!!!

Business news:  We opened our Corbett Charter School bank account yesterday,
using our first parent donation.  It was a check for $300.00, which was
precisely the minimum necessary for opening a business account.  My
fund-raising target is $50,000.00 for this first year.  That's about $150.00
per student. If you do fund-raising like I do, you can send a check to
Corbett Charter School Association and by-pass the bake sales and bottle
collections. There is no requirement to contribute. But $150.00 is a pretty
economical education.  It's about the same as two Advanced Placement exams.
We anticipate that the Charter School will buy between 2 and 6 per student
throughout their high school careers.  AP exams are paid for by parents in
virtually every other school in America.  Some students will be able to
complete their freshman year of college based solely on AP exam scores.
Again, pretty economical schooling.

Thanks for your ongoing support.  Speaking as the parent of a 2009 senior,
you are providing a magnificent opportunity for your kids.

Take care until next time.

Cheers,

Bob Dunton, Director
Corbett Charter School
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KLande
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2009, 10:34:14 AM »

I have many many questions in regards to this charter school.....
I have only been in Corbett for 5 years, my husband grew up here and I was raised in a small town as well so we both wanted out of the city and get back to the small town life, let me say I love it here, and we weren't really sure this would be home forever....but now having 2 children and after researching and learning how great the schools are on top of everything else we love about Corbett, we made a decision that this would be home and the place we want to raise our children. I'm not sure how valid I am in these discussions as I've only been here 5 years and my children are not yet in the schools....but will be in 2 years.....so this charter school does leave me with many questions and issues as well.

I read some other posts and did get upset about the blended classes, and then thought I understood that was only charter students...and now beleive it is for all students, and I have to say I do not agree with that at all! I am not wanting my daughter to start school for the very first time and be with children up to the 3rd grade! I don't see how a teacher can effectively teach such a wide range of skill levels and ages, not to mention social issues....and how many kids in each class are we talking about???

I have attended a few Football games and was a bit dissapointed, as I wondered where's the school spirit? Where's the cheerleaders, the dance team? Where's the school band?? I know education is front and center as far as priority but that is such a huge part of the high school experience...Friday night games with all the pep rally's, and big hoorah at the game and dances following....I just hope to see all that here in Corbett. Someone told me it was due to the 4 day week, and the kids aren't at school on Fridays so there are no pep rally's and hype for the games, and budget issues with no cheer leaders and dance teams....but I heard we have an axcellent band....but they don't play at the sports games???

Having said that, I can see the benefits of the charter school, that it can bring in money for the schools and hopefully some of these things will begin to blossom. I think it should go back to a 5 day week....I have often wondered what parents do when most jobs are 5 days and their kids are only in school 4??

My list of questions would be as follows:
1.Are the charter students going to be housed in the same schools, with seperate classes and teachers? Or will all students be in same classes? What would be the reason to seperate charter from Corbett?? Wouldn't it make sense to do individual grades with Corbett and charter students all together of the same grades??

2.What is the current student body size of each Corbett school, and how many charter students will be added to each?? 

3. What is the cost for each charter student? What is the total financial gain, after expenses for creating the charter school? And mostly....where will these funds be spent?? ...and who decides where the monies go??

4. Why is there a need to blend grades?? If this is supposed to bring more money into the district....then there should be plenty of funds for Teacher salaries! If the charter students will be sperated then let them do what they want, but we want individual grades for Corbett!

I went to a school with 4-500 kids in the HS and we were still a small town and had that close knit school feeling, I graduated with kids I had been with since kindergarten...so I can see the benefit, financially to grwo the schools, and beleive it can remain a small town school...but I also think it has to be done right, and should not be a quick decision implemented and planned by a few leaders....I beleive this should take time and there should be more notification to parents and the community to get involved and voice opinions....and perhaps a community vote for implementing plans and certain aspects of the changes.....I agree with the other post about how we get newsletters about the art shows, other school happenings, and even from the fire district....but nothing about this has come into my mail box....I heard by word of mouth and an email from this site......

I don't know what can be done now if anything, or if it is all in the works and basically done?? I am really concerned about this! I know my oldest is 2 years out from starting...but I do not want her to be in 3 grade blended classes in any way shape or form!! 
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KLande
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2009, 10:38:08 AM »

Also what will be the student to teacher ratio for our classes??
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KLande
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2009, 10:48:52 AM »

sorry, me agin...

I guess I just really don't understand the seperation of charter and Corbett and beleive that in itself will create huge issues. I have heard mention of Corbett teachers moving to teach charter kids instead....probably higher slaries....there will be financial issues as the charter parents will want there money spent on their kids and classes not on Corbett...which is logical....but why not blend all students and funds?? Keep the same teachers for both, keep classes individual grades with both students combined, then the monies will be blended as well and used to benefit all students for books, teachers salaries, supplies, building add ons and extracurriculars etc.....I just don't see the logic in seperating them and then doing 3 grades in 1 class!!

Someone please explain all of this to me! I don't even know if I am understanding what's happening correctly or not....Thanks!
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KLande
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2009, 11:50:34 AM »

I have searched the school site looking for more information...but only found an application for charter school....nothing else mentioned anywhere??? Seems odd to me and I would think that all the related info and perhaps answers to my above mentioned questions should be found there.....

Instead I now have a couple more general question, I understand the elementary is using a "place based" learning system and is already combining 2 grades...which I do agree with students learning on individual levels and progressing at their own rate...and would have to assume the combined grades are most likely due to the student body size, but when adding more students we should be able to have classes for individual grades, and still allow the individual learning and prgression system.

I also hear this only mentioned for the elementary school...and how great it is because 5th graders are acheiving high school levels...which is great but what happens between 5th grade and high school for these kids?? This type of place based is not mentioned for the middle school or high school....so they are allowed to prgress and acheive at great levels and then they hit middle school and are put into standard classes?? That would lead me to think those that are at a higher level would then be bored stiff for several years?? Seems there needs to be a systematic teaching approach??

I am really just boggled at the lack of or complete vagueness of information out there in regards to our education system and the new charter school plans. I can't judge this as a Corbett only issue as I have not gone looking for the info at other schools, so perhaps it's the norm that a couple vague paragraphs about the school and it's learning objectives are all that is ever provided, or all that parents are looking for?? I myself would be interested in a little more detail about all of this and beleive it should be publicly available for all interested.
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East wind
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2009, 01:43:02 PM »

sorry, me agin...

I guess I just really don't understand the seperation of charter and Corbett and beleive that in itself will create huge issues. I have heard mention of Corbett teachers moving to teach charter kids instead....probably higher slaries....there will be financial issues as the charter parents will want there money spent on their kids and classes not on Corbett...which is logical....but why not blend all students and funds?? Keep the same teachers for both, keep classes individual grades with both students combined, then the monies will be blended as well and used to benefit all students for books, teachers salaries, supplies, building add ons and extracurriculars etc.....I just don't see the logic in seperating them and then doing 3 grades in 1 class!!

Someone please explain all of this to me! I don't even know if I am understanding what's happening correctly or not....Thanks!




From my understanding - and I am with you as far as not feeling very well educated on this topic - that without the Charter School - our Corbett schools would not make it financially very much longer. The Charter school, I believe, will be in the same school buildings - but in separate classes...with different teachers. ( Whether they have the same lunches/recess etc. I don't understand ). The reason they have to do this, this way, is that because of budget cuts - other school districts that have up to now allowed students to transfer to attend Corbett... will no longer honor transfers. With Charter schools you DO NOT NEED permission/transfers from your home school district. Which is how all these kids will be able to continue coming to Corbett ( and how new ones will be able to come ) The school is supposedly going to draw something like 1.5 million from these students - which will allow the schools to stay open.

Now don't get me wrong, I do not think the schools have done an adequate job sharing this information... I also do not like the blended classes up to three grade levels etc. etc. But that is what I can offer as far as some explanation. I have been told that they have been talking about doing this Charter school thing for years - but of course, the first I heard of it was a phone message from Mr. Dunton saying there was a meeting in two days about it ... and that if you already live out here... the Charter school really isn't for you... and could hurt our schools if the local kids enrolled - because that would be monies they could not collect from kids from other districts.

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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2009, 02:34:30 PM »

FROM THE ARTICLE IN FEBRUARY
GRESHAM OUTLOOK
http://www.theoutlookonline.com/news/story.php?story_id=123552408723501600
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2009, 02:50:48 PM »

This is my first time replying to this forum. But I just had to say something. It is from this site that I am learning all I know about the charter school.  My children have both graduated from Corbett H.S. and both have gone on to lead successful careers and lives. And they did it all without Mr.Dunton. (Believe it or not!) I have had no opinion about Mr.Dunton other then what I have read in the papers. He seems arrogent but I have never met him. I certainly hope

I have to say that I am just shocked about this letter. So if I have a concern or a question about the school I am a "critic"?  I do not feel like I want to be "in control" yet I still have concerns about how an ever increasing charter school is affecting my community.  Questions from the parents and community should be welcomed and encouraged not as someone taking "pot shots".

I say, shame on you Mr. Dunton. You are creating division where there should be a coming together.

I still have questions that I am considering posting here since I have not had my emails answered from the school. Just so you know, Mr. Dunton, I am not trying to "mask a less benevolent agenda". I simply have questions. Shame on you for making me feel otherwise.
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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2009, 02:58:57 PM »

I agree. I feel like as a community member in Corbett that now I am a "bad guy" for asking questions. I read this letter and it came across as insulting and divisive. We all care about our kids and our kids education. No one is trying to ruin it for anyone in the Charter school. But if you are a Charter school parent, just put yourself in a Corbett Community Parent's shoes. Asking questions should be valued and the schools could have helped a lot of the feelings we are having, by actually sending a newsletter with some answers and explanations instead of NOTHING ABOUT any of the decisions that are being made. Mr. Dunton ignored a few of my e-mails too. I guess I am just another "detractor" making "pot shots". Great to know that is our Superintendent's opinion of the community / parents of the kids in his school... many of us volunteer and care deeply. But we are to just be waved away, when we ask questions? That seems bad bad bad.
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2009, 08:17:00 AM »

So, to clarify, this letter was sent only to the charter school parents and NOT the district parents. Is that correct? Was anyone at the board meeting. Did it seem like Mr. Dunton or the charter school was being attacked? Is asking questions considered to be taking pot shots?  I have heard of other emails that are sent only to charter school parents. It APPEARS that Mr. Dunton is TRYING to divide.  I have also heard of several meetings set up by the school where many questions were asked and answered but only charter school parents were invited. Is that true?
I know of one meeting several months ago that was for the out of district parents to sign up for the charter school.  After the fact I heard that it was more of a question and answer session that would have been helpful for everyone to hear about.
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2009, 08:26:51 AM »

YES: This letter was only sent to Charter School Parents.

YES: Some of us were at the meeting - and while they really had a large showing of support - I heard that this was very well orchestrated. They were not being attacked. They were preaching to the choir.

YES: The Charter School parents have received several communications AND HAD several meetings.

Community Parents: Not so much.

Mr. Dunton is trying to focus on the Charter school because in a couple years, without some serious investment of time and talent, our public school will not be financially viable and Corbett Schools will ALL BE A CHARTER SCHOOL. Demand to see the numbers - and you will see....





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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2009, 09:54:39 PM »

Why do we have to be #1? Why do we have to be all about AP? I did a very, very rough estimate on the cost of AP courses and my estimate was around $80,000 per year. If Corbett is hurt on money, why don't we cut at least half of the AP classes, and make the classes optional, not mandatory. As an anonymous student in Corbett HS, I believe that AP should be optional. I believe that if we didn't have so many mandatory AP classes then we wouldn't need a charter school, or out of district transfers. I DO NOT have all of the facts, but this is just my opinion. I have gone to Corbett for 10 years. I could rant for hours,  but this is something that has really been irking me. What do you think?
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2009, 03:42:17 PM »

I think it's great to hear from a student!!  I wish more students would comment on how this Charter School is affecting their school experience.  My child is not yet of school age, but I intend to follow this board carefully to monitor what's going on, because it does all seem a little confusing...  Beyond the Charter School and what it is doing for or against our students, these mandatory AP classes seem to be the issue for "countrykid,"  and I think the question is a good one..."why do we have to be #1?"  The answer seems to be:  Because that is Mr. Dunton's agenda.  And while being the "best", as defined by AP tests and national recognition in Newsweek Magazine is nice, I think it's important to look at the big picture and see how our curriculum benefits or deters our entire student body, and not just those who excel in the AP courses.  I did not know that the AP courses were mandatory.  I also did not know that they cost the district so much money.  Thanks for sharing that info!!
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2009, 03:50:26 PM »

I also think it would be great if more students knew about/used this forum. ( I will create a board just for these types of discussions... AP COURSES... or anything else that Students would like to discuss at the High School level. ) It would be great to get different points of view on our forum...so I will add a HIGH SCHOOL board for these discussions. Thanks!
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« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2010, 10:04:43 AM »

In response to Mr. Dunton's email. 
I always know when someone ticks off Dunton when we ALL get these "general" emails of him basically publicly belittling and insulting parents who actually had the guts to challenge him.  He needs to remember that it is because of OUR children and our commitment to OUR school that he even has a paycheck!! We have EVERY right to say something.  BOTTOM LINE! We deserve respect as well. It's not like people want to cause problems...but if a parent has a legit concern, at least try to hear it and not try and hold your "higher education" over their heads.   
 
Corbett was my school of choice for my children's education for many years. Not because of Dunton, and not because of Newsweek. But because itís where our family and friends are. Plus I like small communities.  I am in the Charter because I HAD to be...and it isnít because of the Imaginative Learning Education EITHER!!  I had no idea what that was...I just knew I wanted to keep my kids at the school they had been attending since Kindergarten!!!  It was because of school politics that forced me into the Charter....If I had my choice between this Charter and Corbett...I would have remained in Corbett... I only enrolled my children into the Charter because I was told other dist. were not going to release me.   I didn't see how it was fair for the school districts to throw my kids into a political ping pong match!!!  So I did what I had too to keep the kids in the school they love!!

Don't get me wrong...I am not against there being a charter at Corbett...there are some great aspects of the Charter school and there are wonderful teachers as well.  But there are definitely not so great aspects with this new form of education called Imaginative Learning.  The inside joke is "Imagine Your Learning".  I believe as a tax payer and parent, I should be able to voice my concerns and be respected!!  There are those who are stoked to be in the Charter...that is great!!! But, let us all remember  that it is the first charter of itís kind using the Imaginative Learning Education. AKA: an EXPERIMENT!!! So for Dunton to compare past testing and numbers with the new Charter school grossly unfair. We don't know the results yet...and that is the scary part. And the new Charter parents are just glad to be out of their former schools so they are on cloud nine!! But there are many that pulled their kids out right away!!!

As for me...a parent who has been reapplying for out of district transfers and hauling her cookies out to Corbett for the past few years, it's been a difficult year indeed. Especially knowing how the school functioned over the past before the Charter school arrived.  The community of parents was strong and we were enjoying being a part of something special. Now it's different and has been disheartening to say the least!!!  And, if anyone says anything "negative" it puts them in a position of being frowned upon and made out to look like they are just trying to ruin it for everyone!! Which is totally WRONG since some of these "downer parents" started with a positive out look and were stoked to still be able to attend Corbett at all.  As for me, I usually don't say ANYTHING unless I need too. I went to all the meetings with an open mind. I tried not to listen to the "Dunton Fan Club" and drink the kool~aide so to speak, or even listen the Down With Dunton Fan Club and drink the poison, ect.  I took everything in with a grain of salt.  But now that I have PERSONALLY experienced it...I'm not not stoked at all!!!.  And if I say anything...I'm told that it's my choice to leave if it's not a good fit in a very loaded EMAIL!!!...What?Huh  But Corbett is our school...wasn't it the out of dist. kids who were the "reason" for initiating the Charter in the first place!?!?!....I thought they were fighting for us!?!...The original out of dist. families who fought for the right to stay by enrolling in the Charter!!! ..So we were TOLD at the first initial meetings anyway!! And for Dunton to say ďAnd no one came to the meeting to speak against the CharterĒ is NOT accurate. That was email written and sent BEFORE we all started to actually EXPERIENCE the Charter as a learning environment!!! Now that we have, there are a NUMBER of parents who are BUMMED.  Me being one of them. My second graders is still doing kindergarten/first grade math and we are at the end of the school year!!!  She will be in 3rd grade and she is doing simple first grade math!?!  The grade gap is too much and it should go back to the 2 grade split. Kindergarten should be it's own entity and the 6th graders need to be put back together either all in Elem. or all in Jr. High.  This split was a bomb.  It's not like I'm a "NEWBIE" Charter parent who came from a different school with a different learning environment...I'm an "ALUMNI" Corbett transfer parent.  I was there to experience the sense of community there before the changes were made.  Now there is a division, a strange vibe that echos the halls...there are the Charter parents and then there are the Corbett parents...before it used to be just Corbett parents whether you were in dist. or out of dist.  Plus, things have changed when the charter was first presented...Now that it has been established the AGENDA is in full swing...there are rumors of it going FULL CHARTER?Huh  THAT WAS NOT HOW IT WAS PRESENTED AT ALL!!!!! 
And really, if you are hearing comments like, "don't like it or leave"...would you stand up and say anything?  And do we really think teachers will stand up and say anything negative about things going on in the school in this economy?Huh  I sure the heck wouldn't!!!  Dunton and his "hand picked administration" need to be UP FRONT and HONEST with what they are trying to do...instead they try and slip things under the door and under all of our noses and bamboozle us with elaborate ego stroking emails that are a pedestal for Dunton to preach from.   
The community needs to go to the meetings and ask questions and voice concerns!!!  I was told that someone tired to find out when the Charter school board meetings  were and Dunton wouldn't give a direct answer. That's because he doesn't want anyone showing up!!  Angry  hmmmmm.....

I also agree with the HS student who talks about the AP classes.  They should be optional.  If it's costing the school money it doesn't have, then make it to where kids who want to attain it should get to take the tests.  I hear they don't even have to PASS IT but it still counts for the school???...wow Shocked...sounds like a waste of money to me. 

I do not plan on leaving Corbett....I love the school and the community and I have wonderful friends out there and family too.  Our plan is to still try and move out there one day.  But until then I will struggle through this being stuck between Corbett vs Charter ... awkward like Jr high awkward....and I will continue to supplement at home... unfortunately the school will take credit for that and say the Imaginative Learning is working....UGGGGGG!!!!!  Cry



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breezy
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2010, 01:56:13 AM »

Sector 9,
Wow! You have been through a lot and it is obvious you are a great parent not only to have to bring your children out to Corbett for the last 7 years but to now begin tutoring them when they get home from school!?! - to supplement their education.

How frustrating! I am glad you are choosing to STAY with us. Maybe you can get in on the district side next year? 

I know what you mean about the weird vibe in the school now. One Charter parent asked me when I was volunteering "is this a charter class or a district class" and I wanted to say, "who cares?"  I know she didn't mean anything by the question, but that question was NEVER asked last year.

I agree with you as well about Mr.Dunton's bad attitude toward parents. YUCK! I am sure my time will come when I have to butt heads with him. I am a concerned parent. I love my children and consider their education a priority and I WILL ask questions and speak up when I need to. When my children are 18 and leave for college I will consider them on their own. Until then, they are my responsibility. It seems Mr.Dunton and many of the teachers would prefer I (meaning ALL parents) wasn't involved. How VERY Sad is that. I  was hoping for a partnership between the school, myself and my child. Instead I can't help but feel unwelcome and unwanted at school.

I hope you stay strong Sector 9. We need more parents like you who will stand up for what is right and will take action. I wish everyone would go to a school board meeting or PTA meeting or SOMETHING!!!

I love living in Corbett, but I DON'T like how they "communicate".
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Sector 9
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2010, 05:07:14 PM »

 Grin
Thanks Breezy! 
I hope to be on Corbett side next year as well. Plans are in the works unless they bring in a different Charter school that will actually teach the basic foundations...maybe we should invite one of THOSE schools in if it's a Charter we need to keep the doors open?!  Do I have that right?  And by no means am I attacking TEACHERS!!  They are in a tough position and I give them kudos for their time and sacrifices!!  It's the leadership I'm frustrated with.

Also, I need to say this as well:
Unless someone actually has children CURRENTLY enrolled in the elementary school, either Charter or In-dist., they shouldn't say anything.  No offense, but it's true. Corbett as a community is great, but the current school environment is a major disappointment when I compare it to the past few years we've been there! Like I said before, the kids that are in the upper grade levels started with the ORIGINAL educational foundations that made Corbett what it is up until this year.  The Charter has not and I don't want to wait until it's too late to figure out that my child's education has suffered for an experiment.  A healthy self~esteem is hard enough to come by, let alone setting them up for failure because someone
wants to pad their resume. 

Oh ya, I have still yet to see on the blog when the next CHARTER SCHOOL BOARD meeting is!!! Hmmmmm.  Someone told me to keep an eye out and I haven't found it. Has anyone else found it?
INTERESTING!!!
 
Too much power, no accountability...



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Nelson
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2010, 06:16:08 PM »

Why is it that everytime Mr. Dunton is asked hard questions by a parent or by the community he feels the need to go 'generalize' it away on his blog as some ultra-important-ultra-nuanced mumbo jumbo? The fact is, as a parent of a student in the Corbett School District, I should not be hearing as often as I am how unhappy parents are ( both public and charter parents ) with our own superintendent. It is not a good sign for things to come.

Corbett is known to rise up on occasion. And when we do, it isn't going to be controllable like comments on his blog. The school board ( less for one or two ) seem to only operate by strings controlled by Mr. Dunton. ( Shouldn't the school board be answering to parents and not Mr. Dunton? ) Maybe they aren't hearing from us. I think that too is changing and will continue to.

The fact is Mr. Dunton's philosophy is that if you don't like it, you can leave.

He has a waiting list afterall and he will do his best to make you feel UNWELCOME if you don't drink his punch. ( Take that from me. ) He will 'sign your release' from the district as a public school parent - because it is much easier than answering questions about how he believes it is normal for some fourth graders to still not be reading in his imaginative learning model. Go ahead ask him. He said it. If my child wasn't reading by the fourth grade - I would have a problem with that too. But guess what, you can't question the things the teachers are doing ( or not doing ) and you can't question him. Read his latest blog entry. It says specifically that. He has a waiting list for the Charter - so you are easily replaced if you make waves.

And yes, of course, we will weed out any problem kids, special ed and learning disabled kids... because they won't be able to test well on those lovely AP tests of his. And is it just me or does he talk out of both sides of  his mouth on tests? In one corner ( grade/middle school ) state tests are inappropriate and nonsensical in his mind. In the other corner he touts his amazing AP scores ( to be clear, he requires these to be taken by everyone by the way and even kids that don't want to or that aren't planning on college .... ) and these are all paid for by our tax dollars ...

Mr. Dunton likes to throw percentages around on his blog to back up his perspective - but what about the other side of the coin. ( Oh, I forgot, you can't look at that side ... or you will be on your way out too. )

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Sector 9
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« Reply #18 on: April 03, 2010, 06:22:33 PM »

 AMEN Wink

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strongeastwind
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2010, 12:57:05 PM »

Before the charter was created there weren't as many challenges as we are having, or I just didn't hear/know about them.  I attended a board meeting last week for the district side and there was some interesting talk from the audience.  I agree with Sector 9 and Mr or Mrs. Nelson raise good points about the challenges at the entire school.  Dividing the school was not the goal of the charter it was to keep the district side sustainable into the future.   

I wonder what the end game is here (political/monetary gain/both?) and think that we will not know what that is until it is voted on or in and then it will be too late.  I look forward to the next school board election and it is time for a change in thinking.  I miss Cheryl Lawell on the board because she asked hard questions and didn't take crap from people.  We need more people that can take the time to do the right thing. 

Anyone that you have in mind please encourage them to run for the seats.  I will be happy to work and volunteer with their campaign.  Cheesy
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bigfoottrapper
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« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2010, 06:23:41 PM »

Why on earth would I want decisions about my child's education made by people like "Breezy" and "Strongeastwind" and "Sector9"?  Who are you people?Huh???Anyone can be a parent, but last time I checked it takes years of education and training and research, etc. to qualify a person to be in the position to educate a child in a public education system such as we have in Corbett.   What are you so scared of?  How dare you undermine a system-judging by your posts- you really know nothing about?  You don't have to send your kids to Corbett, esp. the Charter School.  Be quiet or move on so the rest of our children can get the best education possible under the system in place.  Or at least do your homework, get educated and maybe some of your fear will subside.  Many people feel powerless in many aspects of their lives and tend to lash out when fear and ignorance take over.  Take yours elsewhere and if you must, take your kids with you.  Stop the bashing.  Learn about Charter School rules and regulations and don't use "Conflict of interest" and "Dictator" type buzzwords to inflame others.  You really have no idea.   Use your time to really make a positive difference in the world, volunteer with the homeless, or the foodbank, or better yet, Haiti is in dire need of helping hands right about now. At the very least, EDUCATE yourselves.  The internet is a valuable tool.  Most parents are very happy with the way things are at Corbett and with a little effort you just might just com e around.
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peter pan
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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2010, 07:38:38 PM »

bigfoottrapper,
     When I've read the posts by the members you refer to, I don't see any comments that indicate they want to make "decisions about my child's education" as you fear.  Although people may mention (sometimes too acerbically) their worries about district educational policies, I don't see evidence that people want to insist that everything change to fit their own personal preferences.  I read the consensus to be that people want to feel that they can ask questions, be heard, get a civil response, and not be criticized for wanting to learn why things are the way they are.  Parents aren't generally saying, "We don't like this," or "We don't like that;" they're really just asking for a chance to express concerns and hear an explanation that attempts to help them buy in, not tell them off.
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Barbara
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« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2010, 08:53:57 PM »

Welcome Bigfoottrapper! It's so good to get a view from the other side of the table. Thank you for posting. Really terrific! So what I hear you saying is that you don't personally see any problems ---- so all of these other people are wrong or are just complete liars and regardless of any facts that you may or may not know about - they should be attacked and made to leave. Got it. Great. ( Oh and I just have to say that you are just exactly what we should all want our children to emulate in their adult lives: Narcissim, hiporcracy, paranoia and just a pinch of sarcasm to really get the juices going. )You even inspired me to lower myself!

This might sound totally off base ---but get in on this with me ----- your message sounds a lot like the continued rantings of someone serving up their disdain for all the less educated, less superior types in our community over at the Humble Horse Droppings Blog ---- but it must just be a coincidence --- Yah, that's it ---- Just a little co-inky-dink. Shocked   Anyways, thanks so much for setting all these people straight! You have really changed our thinking with all your great points and inspiring, respectful ways.






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bigfoottrapper
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« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2010, 11:13:13 PM »

OK-let me respond to a couple of points.  Peter Pan-here is a quote from a sector 9 regarding this topic."The grade gap is too much and it should go back to the 2 grade split. Kindergarten should be it's own entity and the 6th graders need to be put back together either all in Elem. or all in Jr. High.  This split was a bomb. "  I take that to mean these people are trying to make educational decisions that would affect my child.  And Barbara-you are calling me paranoid?  Here's a quote fom you.  "your message sounds a lot like the continued rantings of someone serving up their disdain for all the less educated, less superior types in our community over at the Humble Horse Droppings Blog ---- but it must just be a coincidence --- Yah, that's it ---- Just a little co-inky-dink."  I don't even know what that means.  I am  just a concerned parent that is tired of reading the lies and speculation that have filled this forum for the last few years.  I am not all that educated (in the traditional sense) but if I have questions or want more information about something I don't know about- I do the research.  that's not snobby or elitist-it's just the way it is.   My tone did leave something to be desired and I do apologize for that.  I only have disdain for people who rant and complain and choose not to educate themselves about issues and make decisions based on rumors and hearsay.  And making out Mr Dunton and Mr. Trani and the school board as villians in all this is just wrong.  If you are going to disagree with something-at least back it up with facts. 
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Barbara
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« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2010, 06:45:41 AM »

Dear Mr. BigFT: I love how you skip right over the point that you are basically blindly attacking people's real experiences with the schools and Mr. Dunton. Why are you doing that? Do you really think people have nothing better to do and are lying? If you are really a community member, which I am too paranoid to believe you really are, let's look at some facts together, shall we? ( If you are inviting people to back up their questions with facts - maybe you are missing how questions work. ) But if you want to discuss facts - fantastic! Let's do it: --- ( FACT ) Mr. Dunton would like a $10,000 PER CLASSROOM price break on his Charter School next year. ( Amounting to $130,000 out of our public school system ) ---- ( FACT ) That request went in the agenda less than a few hours of the school board meeting. And the school board agenda was changed multiple times before the meeting so no one really knew what was coming and that is the standard operating procedure for our district under Bobby D's expert tutelage. ( FACT ) ---- One of our school board members sits on both school boards. Most people with any common sense see that as a BIG problem. ( FACT ) ----Taking money out of our public schools and handing it to the Charter will not be OK with the majority of parents in our community. ( FACT )-----Mr. D is asking that the Charter school be given an extension of their contract, without any review or assessment after ONE YEAR. Based on what? A revolving door fed by a waiting list..  ( FACT ) ------  There are many more people that have issues with Mr. Dunton and his condescending attitudes ( which you seem so quick to put on and take off ) than don't on this forum. ( FACT ) ----- Mr. Dunton spouts statistics on parent and student satisfaction on his blog - but yet neither student nor parent has ever been asked. ( How does he arrive at his statistics then? ) If things were going so great why did we have two school board members replaced last election. Why do teachers feel afraid to speak up? Why did so many people go to the school board meeting and speak? You obviously have a different opinion. Which is fine. I just think it would be fair to acknowledge your opinion and experiences are not the only opinions and experiences and to be careful not to call the kettle black on your accusations of others.
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bigfoottrapper
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« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2010, 08:08:32 AM »

ummmmm...the charter school is a public school...
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Barbara
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« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2010, 08:30:53 AM »

From Bobís letter a few days ago:

ď Charter Schools are different.  Corbett Charter School Board members are appointed, not elected.  The Corbett Charter Association appoints the Charter School Board. It's important to note the the Corbett Charter Association is a corporation.  It conducts business.  It is not a democracy. It does its business in whatever way seems best according to its own lights.  Those who wish to do business with the Association do so on a strictly voluntary basis.  And they may choose to do business elsewhere if there is a better alternative. Ē

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Sector 9
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« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2010, 11:23:31 AM »

When I stated those grade suggestion...I was simply referring to grade splits going BACK to the way they WERE and what had been working just fine. It was the system that helped make Corbett the# 1 school in the first place. Thank you.  By no means do I have any desire to make "educational decisions" for the masses.  That is up to each individual parent as to where they want to send their children. And it's up to the administration as to how they set it up for our children.  I just know what was working and wondered why it really needed to change. Aside from the Charter having to have a different curriculum, from what I understand, why they had to do such large grade split is beyond me.

Mr. Dunton, on his behalf, has done wonderful things for the school, BUT his attitude towards parents in his arrogant blog and emails show a different side to this person who is supposed to be someone we are to trust with our children's future with. There are always indirect and condescending comments on the blog, the one Barbra here so humorously mentioned, and you can't reply to it so people started coming to forum to respond to some how defend themselves! They also come here to say "Hey does anyone else feel this way?" and anonymously so they can feel a little more free to be honest with what they are feeling. AND in all fairness, if Dunton is going to put things out into cyber space, publicly making condescending statements about the very parents of the schools he leads, then he should expect some sort of retort from them as well.

I am not stating anything on here that I haven't experienced or witnessed personally. There are some things that are still in speculation, and I do wonder if they are true. There are also many rumors out there, but some have come to fruition and that is what concerns me as a parent!   I don't believe in going and just trashing someone for the sake of being mean.  But I'm tired of getting lumped into groups like "detractor" "nay sayer" or being treated as if I'm just a complete moron by the people who are supposed to be in support of us as parents. The same parents who drop off their most precious cargo of at their front door. 

Mr. Dunton is right in saying we don't have to go to Corbett at all if we don't like it.   But some of us liked it before all of these crazy changes came into play.  We had multiage classes (2 grades) that were great! For the most part, parents seemed to be quite and content.  Of course at any and every school you are going to have issues not uncommon to man, but this is the first year even the quiet people are actually starting to say something out loud.  Shouldn't that say something?  That doesn't make them bullies or detractors...it's makes them concerned parents who have a right to voice their opinions and opinions should be respected even IF we don't agree with them.

 
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Sector 9
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« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2010, 11:35:13 AM »

Sorry about the grammar issues...proof read my last post too fast...OOPS!!  Tongue
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stongeastwind
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« Reply #29 on: May 06, 2010, 10:54:14 PM »

I like this forum because people are saying what they really think instead of hiding behind their position at the school or how badly their children will be treated because of speaking up.

I want to say that every teacher at Corbett was doing well but just like at my work there are a few suspect folks that "get by" and do as little as they can.  We really need to watch who hires teachers because if they are hiring others like themselves, and they are suspect, we will have even bigger problems for our future.  This whole tenure thing works with "government work" but doesn't fly in the real world.  We all would love to have in our jobs the following: no accountability, no standards, no supervision, and no outside parties asking questions.  Depending on your position you are either smiling or frowning right now.  Self paced learning lets teachers off the hook for culpability to students learning and their own accountability.  When a student doesn't "get it" they can stay with that until they do or are moved to the next class.  If that student and teacher are clashing for three years after the first year didn't go well, is the student well served?  Basically 1/4th of their school years are with someone that they don't like or even worse, have mutual disdain.  Is that luck of the draw or the short end of the stick for both parties? 

I hope the best for every kid going through every school, the best education, the best influential teachers, and the most supportive parents and administrators.  With this we have a good start for a great program.  Is this too much to ask?  Now we all have to get to work to be the best that we can be no matter where we fall in a magazine, book, article, or talk show circuit.  At the end of the day, if the majority is a success, society is the winner.
 
 
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bull
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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2010, 01:17:29 AM »

I'm not going to address any specific complaints but rather try to sum up the feeling I'm getting as a charter school parent as it relates to the district's leadership. Sure, Corbett is a highly-rated school but I get the feeling Mr. Dunton is taking too much of the credit for that success. Why? Basically because his attitude stinks based on his writings; some of which I've been sent by him directly and some I've read here. A school superintendant should not be talking down to the parents as he did in his "12-points" letter. His tone was derogatory and demeaning as well as absent of any professionalism. Undoubtedly he is frustrated over the failure to create a smooth charter school transition this year but pointing the finger at parents with concerns is wrong-headed. In essence the parents are customers of the district. We do not hand them money directly but our mere presence there rewards the district government money (read tax money) based on the headcount. So yes, we are paying for this school and are therefore customers. And just because your current customers are not happy with the service they are getting does not mean you have the right to toss them out and recruit a new batch of customers in hopes that they won't complain. How many times can you do that, all the while telling the customer base to zip it or ship it, before you've exhausted the customer base? Not too many times, especially when words gets around that it's his way or the highway. Just because you CAN tell people to take a hike doesn't mean you SHOULD, and it doesn't say much for the ethics of this approach.
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bull
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« Reply #31 on: May 17, 2010, 01:47:47 AM »

Another thing I want to touch on briefly (or not). There is no hard factual evidence for what I feel at the school because, in essence, I'm simply addressing a feeling. I have to admit to being initially quite excited that our family was able to become part of the charter school but as time went by this current school year I began wondering what all the fuss was about. Granted, I know things have changed with the introduction of the charter school but this is the first time I've felt this disconnected as a parent from my child's school experience. Is this by design or is it a byproduct of the program? I don't know but I must say it doesn't feel right so far. I'm hoping all this disenchantment is a result in a bumpy transition into a school experience that is experimental yet cutting-edge and that can evolve into something great but I must say, sadly so, I didn't expect the Corbett experience to be such a disappointing one this year. CS Lewis once wrote something I think might be apropos here: "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive." Are we progressing down the right road or are we blazing a trail through a thick jungle mired in pitfalls, whereabouts unknown? I guess time will tell, but will it be too late if/when we realize we've made a mistake?
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Oscar
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« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2010, 01:12:31 PM »

The standard school curriculum that most of us experienced seems to be disappearing from Corbett Schools.  Perhaps the poor educating done at Corbett in decades past along with voting down the last school bond measure (less State funds, too) has residents accepting this new charter school twist on survival of its High School. 

Success breeds acceptance of the status quo.  What type of citizens does a charter school produce?  I see successful Corbett High Schoolers driving Audi's speeding (60 miles per hour passing my car) to the fast fast food in Troutdale at lunch time.  Are they any better citizens than non college bound kids who squirrel around in beat-up Neon's?

Where are the Civics (that's not the car) classes of old that taught responsibility for family, the government, etc. ?   Now it's how many AP classes I can pass to feather my college application.  Please try to include something for the kids to parallel the present road CHS students are traveling on so many of the less advantaged kids don't hit a deadend.  Attend school board meetings, vote and take charge of your communities kids - it takes a whole villiage(s) to raise them.
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