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Author Topic: Corbett Alumni Considers Returning via Charter School  (Read 4158 times)
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« on: April 12, 2011, 09:57:41 AM »

One night I found the Charter lottery and put my three kiddos names in.  They didn't make the initial lottery, but were admitted as a result of the recent expansion of the Charter. 

So why do we want to bring our kids to Corbett?

First, it's a means to get our foot in the door at Corbett until we can move.  My wife is a Corbett Alumni and we've always wanted to move to Corbett.  We finally have the income to support a property we would like to buy, unfortunately, the housing market stinks and, like many folk, have lost nearly all my equity in my home with current declines.  The result is I don't have the down payment I need to make a reasonable / responsible transaction at this time.

Secondly, it's what we would be moving from - Centennial.  Their budget issues have been very difficult for the past three years.    The result of these cuts is the 4th grade classes have moved from about 27 three years ago to 32 last year to 35 now.  (It was going to be 40 until the Federal government decided to hand out money to save teachers.)  This year's budget is looking like they will spend down their entire reserve of $2,000,000 and still have to cut 61 more teachers or cut 25.6 days from the school year.  (It's likely to be some combination of the two.)

Third, I love part of Corbett's model which allows kids to move forward as much as they can.  I have a 1st grader who finished the 1st grade math and reading standards.  He's now in a holding pattern for the rest of the year.  My lovely wife and I are supplementing at home and moving him forward, but I would love to participate in program that not only allowed that forward motion but encouraged it.

Finally, I like the culture that Corbett schools have developed over the last decade.  All schools give lip service to "all our kids are going to be ready for college or to enter the workplace when they graduate."  From what I've learned in my research it appears that Corbett's program seriously directs kids this way.  They expect to meet that goal and structure themselves to meet that high standard.  That is something I want my kids to be a part of.

So, here's our problem.  My wife loves Corbett.  She's been away for quite some time and would love to return.  However, we're somewhat afraid if we come in on the Charter side of the school, we're going to be "one of those people who are messing up the school."  I'm wondering if anyone would be willing to discuss this with me.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

Thank you - Jack
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« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2011, 12:27:28 PM »

Thank you for your thoughtful message, Jack. I would be happy to discuss this very interesting topic with you outside of this rumor mill (the forum). As you may be able to assess from reviewing the variety of posts churning in the mill, the forum is populated by a representative minority of the many communities that comprise Corbett. If you simply viewed opinions of the schools through these forums, you might garner a jaded and/or confused perspective regarding Corbett schools.

This isn't unique to Corbett, as all schools (private, public and otherwise) are subject to criticism by their populace. This is a good thing, as long as it remains constructive. Unfortunately, the anonymity afforded by online rumor mills enables many people to more freely share their opinions, regardless of whether said opinions are substantiated, logical, constructive, or even worthwhile.

While there are many things to criticize about the comments in the rumor mill, I believe the most dangerous are those comments that attempt to speak on behalf of "the community". First and foremost, there isn't a single Corbett community --there are many and they are diverse. We've lived here more than a decade and this has certainly been our experience. While many people have extensive networks in Corbett, no one in good conscience can substantiate that they represent "the community". This rumor mill is called the Corbett Community Forum, but it isn't in any way representative of all the Corbett communities, nor is it a directive of a community initiative --it is one person's attempt at creating conversations with voices from many perspectives. In my opinion it should not be viewed as a barometer of opinion about the schools.

The reality in the halls of the schools is far different from what you'll see reflected from many of the rumor mill's commentators. We live in Corbett and are proud supporters of the district and charter schools. Corbett Charter School presents a pronounced difference in curricular approach at the primary level, tapering off in its differences as kids enter high school (where the students blend as a single student body). My family has invested significant time in learning all we can about the educational approaches on both sides of the hall. Our eldest child is enrolled in the district, our youngest in the charter. We are extremely pleased by both approaches and find they offer many functional similarities, while still providing unique experiences.

Fear and ignorance drive much of the rumor mill criticism about the characteristics that make Corbett schools powerful and thoughtful about how children learn (e.g., blended age classrooms, progress-based learning, imaginative education, etc.) as well as what's important for children to experience before they enter "the real world" (e.g., AP for all). Please keep in mind that these hotly debated conversations and arguments in the rumor mill are representative of issues brought about by adults, while the hallways seem quite free of the weight of this bile. My children have friends in Corbett and friends who attend the charter school. This is a very good thing. This also gives me a greater opinion of my fellow parents, as I see equal care and respect regardless of our philosophical and geographical differences.

Now to answer your question, from the perspective of one parent. As with any group of people there will be those who accept, those who judge, and those who simply don't give a hoot what others do. This is true at Corbett Schools as well. I keep company with parents and families that embrace the great opportunity we have with the district and charter and appreciate and support these schools openly. Are we critical of the schools? Absolutely. But we also have perspective. Most all of the people in my network have experienced schools in other districts and states and understand how very good we have it here in Corbett. If you fear what some people may believe or say about your choice, then I ask that you please ignore the desire (albeit a noble one) to keep all your neighbors happy. Some will be happy, some will judge you negatively, and most simply won't give a hoot.

At the end of the day, I find the real people of Corbett (most of whom have nothing to do with this rumor mill) to be very caring and cognizant of our rights to make choices for our respective families. Have we been judged for our choices? Probably. Has it impacted us negatively? Certainly not. In fact, if we have been judged, then it has impacted those who judge more than it ever could us. We are pleased to live here and have our children in a school that demands excellence from all students regardless of their abilities while recognizing and accepting that it (the school) is not perfect (none are). Plain and simple, Corbett schools are superior to every institution we have sought --and we have had children enrolled in expensive private schools.

Please, by all means feel free to send me a direct message at my email address (jameswhit at rocketmail dot com) if you'd like to converse about our experiences here in the district.

Now let the rumor trolls come out from under the rocks and begin their grumbling:)
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« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2011, 02:58:42 PM »

Forum trolls/rumor trolls:   " One who purposely and deliberately (that purpose usually being self-amusement) starts an argument in a manner which attacks others on a forum without in any way listening to the arguments proposed by his or her peers. He will spark of such an argument via the use of ad hominem attacks (i.e. "Now let the rumor trolls come out from under the rocks and begin their grumbling:)" ) with no substance or relevence to back them up, which he uses to simply avoid addressing the essence of the issue. "

James: Please keep in mind that even though you may not agree with what other parents ( who are also community members ) have posted on this forum as to their own feelings and experiences in regards to Corbett Schools, that you too have a responsibility to be thoughtful and respectful on this forum.

Jack: This web site and forum was launched in 2002, before I even had kids in school. It does not exist for the sole purpose of discussion on CSD. It is too bad some people prefer to see it differently. And to be fair, this forum has both CHARTER and DISTRICT parents posting and reading. While I don't agree with every post on this forum either, I also don't presume to have all the answers or be better than those I disagree with.... It is counter productive to resolving our differences and actually having the discussion and moving forward.

What I do know, and what I can share with you, is that families were coming out to school in Corbett before the idea of a charter was a sparkle in anyone's eye, so to speak, and before there was a division for you to be concerned about. They had no choice but to go into the Charter. Corbett is an awesome place to live and raise a family. We have been very happy here and while I think the school district could do a better job communicating or defining their vision for the community to evaluate, and so that maybe this forum wasn't such a place of frustration and negativity, I honestly don't know anyone, personally, that is angry with Charter parents or kids. I think there is frustration from the extra traffic, the sudden changes as to the Charter itself, the expansion of the Charter, the Charter director, our school board and our schools budget crisis .... but as James says, that is reflective in many communities.

All people and especially parents have every right to advocate for the best education they can for their kids and for all kids in our community schools. I support that as do our friends and family! I also am glad to share more with you if you would like to contact me at any time.

Thanks and good luck!

Mindy Schmidt

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." - Voltaire


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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2011, 11:33:43 AM »

I keep hearing traffic is a problem.  I may just head up one morning and watch this for myself.  I went to a private school with no bussing and was in the middle of a residential neighborhood.  The in and out process for all 600 kids was very fluid and fast.  On a bad day, maybe 15 minutes between the final bell and the last car out of the parking lot. 

Mindy - Thank you very much. Good to hear the frustration is not about Charter families.

Thank you for being here for the community.  It's wonderful seeing the passion on all sides.  I wish all school districts had this level of involvement.

James - Thank you for your thoughts.  I can see the passion you have for the schools.

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