LBUSD Board of Education Workshop – Special Education CAC – 8/21/19


Good morning, good morning. Mrs. Kerr, would you lead us in the pledge? Good morning, everyone, please stand. Begin. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic, for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Thank you. We welcome those who are here for purposes of addressing the board, have the proper time, and in the order of their request. For those who have not already submitted a request, we have provided forms in the back of the room and also have additional copies here in the front at the Assistant Secretary’s position. If you wish to speak during the meeting, please fill out a form indicating your name and the agenda item you wish to address. You may also make a request to give testimony on items not listed for discussion today. However, full discussion on any items not listed on the agenda will have to be delayed until such time, as the item can be publicly posted in advance as a regular agenda item. If you wish to ask questions, please address them to the chair and not to individual members of the board or to the staff. So, to start our program off this morning, we have a presentation by Special Education, CAC. Good morning. We come to you this morning with huge gratitude for the work that our Community Advisory Committee, CAC, has done in the past year. They have really worked to grow together to use their voice for good and to work hard as a group. We’re really proud to share that we have grown out of the TRC, and we will be having our meetings in the coming year in that beautiful multipurpose room at Browning High School. So that’s something that we’re celebrating. Years ago we were a group that could’ve met in a small conference room. So our work has really been to bring as many parents as possible together, and we’re celebrating that as we open a new school year. The purpose of the CAC is to make advisory recommendations to the board. And so you have a one-page document in front of you that’s really just a reference from the last year. It’s not a focus of our presentation today, but we wanted to bring it back to you and show you that the recommendations from a year ago are both taken seriously, and they’re implemented. And you can see by what’s in front of you that everything that was recommended is either in progress or has been completed in the last year. Today we will be bringing new recommendations to you, but before doing that, I just wanted to highlight that on February 6th, you passed a resolution for inclusive practices, the likes of which we haven’t seen anywhere else in the state. And we continue to celebrate and thank you for the way that you message for our community and also direct us to work hard for including every child. That message is not the work. We have a lot of work in front of us. And so the recommendations that are coming to you today are a step forward in including our parent community and our community as a whole as a guide for the work that we will be doing. So, with that, I want to tell you that the presenters that are coming up are parents. They’re brave and strong and dedicated, and I sincerely, I think, along with you, thank them for sharing their voice and their thoughts as we move forward in this school year. So I am going to ask Robin Weckerly, our CAC president, to come up. Hello, thank you. Sorry, a little nervous. So we are a state-mandated committee of parents, teachers, and community members, who work in positive partnership with the district. Oh my God, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Robin Weckerly, and yes, I am a parent of a student at Los Saritos Elementary. This is my son Rex. In this picture he is wishing for systemic change. (laughter) So, here we are. There we go, that’s why we are here. We are a state-mandated committee of parents, teachers, and community members who work in positive partnership with the district to support the more than 11, 000 students with IEPs in Long Beach. One year ago, we presented recommendations to this board, and your response was humbling. You heard us. You showed up to our meetings. You even showed up to our special Saturday meeting. In February, this board passed a resolution on inclusive practices. This fall, we will see typical peers enrolled at Bufom, as well as a brand new, co-taught, collaborative pilot program. We are excited about these new changes and grateful to be heard. If we seem emboldened, you’ll only have yourself to blame. We have many parents here today who have never spoken publicly about their children or their school experience, but courage starts with showing up and letting yourself be seen. You see, our kids don’t fit into boxes. Any data you have on them does not paint a clear picture of who they are or what they can do. We’re here to speak our truth and fill in the blanks to help you understand that the best systems are the ones that are flexible and think outside the box. We stand here today united with our district counterparts, celebrating our successes but knowing that our work is not done. We have big dreams for this district and even bigger dreams for our children. These recommendations address concerns and issues that affect students and their families. We ask that the Board of Education respond to these recommendations with the same consideration and effort that went into creating them. And this is Francisco Bodan. Thank you Robin, and thank you members of the Board for allowing us parents to speak in front of you. My daughter Clara was born with a rare genetic connective tissue disorder, epidermolysis bullosa, EB for short. EB is a life-limiting disease that cause my daughter’s skin and portion of her eyes, some feel as an open airway to be very fragile. With the mildest amounts of trauma, her skin can blister and be torn off. In order to protect her skin and wounds, she wears high-tech bandages that are very visible. The mainstay of treatment for EB is wound care. In my daughter’s case, that means several hours of care a day just to stay alive and as healthy as possible. The wound care is time-consuming, painful, and at times very traumatic. Without saturating, EB can and does impact everything in Clara’s life. Eating, playing, sitting, sleeping, schooling, flying, driving, walking, running, swimming, all of these done differently or with EB in mind. We share these with you not to complain but to educate that children like my daughter, those born neurologically typical but with severe and complex medical issues, their lives are also important in more ways than you could imagine. For those living with serious medical issues, how and where they go to school is so incredibly important when it comes to assessing the least restrictive environment and staying safe while also striving and reaching their potential. When knew early on that the transition from the CDC to kindergarten would be an important one with your whole world and quickly became aware of the different resources of nearby school. When learned that a nearby school housed other medical fragile students, as a result they had a number of resources that my medical fragile daughter would benefit from even though she is in general education setting. To have a full-time conditioning vital to the integrity of her skin, playground structures she could access with her same-age peers, and grass to play on which lowers ambient temperature and minimizes skin damages with falls. I need to use a K 8 school that will have limited the transition to a new peer group in middle school. An important point for a child whose disability are very visible. When we brought this idea back to my daughters IP team in preschool, we were told that placement is not part of the IEP discussion, and this IEP can be implemented anywhere. We could do school choice, but that was about it. In the end, we lost the school choice lottery, and my daughter started kindergarten our home school. And no further changes were made by the district to accommodate her needs in kindergarten, and for that we are grateful. We’re also grateful that she has made a few friends, and found community, at her home school, where she will now stay until she reaches fifth grade. But now we are in this situation where unless the district makes substantial changes to the playground there’s not a single play structure on the playground that she has the ability to use, where there is only blacked out to wrong arm. In essence, without major structural changes to her homeschool, my child would not have the opportunity to play alongside her peers, we have hope. And when she does, the reason is exacerbating her EB gross even higher. I am sharing my family story to make sure you all know that these are situations in which the location, the usher school and it’s specific resources can make a difference in a child’s life. Where a child can thrive, and really truly be educated in the lease restrictive environment. For most kids, I have no doubt that the school choice works very well, and the IEP can in fact be implemented anywhere in the district. But I implore you to consider, and make exceptions for the unique situation where it can’t. Recommendation number one, consider placement as part of the IEP process when a school attributes can make a difference in a child’s ability to be educated in the least restrictive environment. Thank you members, thank you Mr. Superintendent. Thank you. Good morning. Good morning. My name’s Courtney Stuart. My daughter Leona is a third grader at Emerson Park side Academy in a mild, moderate special day class. Leona is sweet, sassy, she love’s theater, she’s a natural performer, she’s creative, she loves comic books, and she has autism. I’ve been fighting for meaningful, mainstream time for Leona with her typical peers since she was in kindergarten. The last two months of kindergarten, she received 25 minutes of social time. This continued until second grade, and pretty much consisted of the morning routine of Pledge of Allegiance. In November of her third grade, we had a meeting with her teacher. The teacher felt mainstreaming for the second time in a second grade class was a better fit, compared to the third grade. We trust our teacher, so we agreed but said her mainstream time had to be academic, not just social. Her mainstream time was bumped to an hour, some days she would stay longer, and by the end of third grade, she was doing more than 60% mainstream time with her second grade class, doing well and progressing. If you are confused, imagined how Leona feels. She’s dropped in and pulled out of class all day, spending time in two different grade levels, in two different classes, but never really belonging to either. Leona’s IEP team loves her. They truly have tried to be creative, and individualize her plan, however they have deeply underestimated the potential of my daughter. Leona’s mainstreaming time was never a path to gen ed, and meaningful inclusion was never on the table. The goal should’ve always been full gen ed, with the right supports and collaboration with the team, we know she could be successful there. Families with students in speciaL day classes, apply for school choice for many reasons. It could be that their neighborhood school doesn’t have the classes they need. It really doesn’t matter the reason. If a child enters the school and is making progress, they should not be removed for a lack of planning. At our last IEP meeting, we were told she would never progress more than 49% of her day next year, because there was no room. She’ll be going for more than 60% of her day, down to 49% of her day in gen ed class. Basically, we’re given the only choice of keeping her in SDC for the majority of her day, to keep her at a school where she’s thriving, and where she has a community. If there’s no space for her, then that means there’s no room for any third grade SDC student who is ready to mainstream. SDC is not a final placement, it is a service towards getting back into the gen ed classroom, and should always be seen this way. I’ve heard from your administration that what we’re asking is too hard to accomplish, but this system is broken. You’re failing children by shuffling them through special ed classes without an exit plan. Leona has been at Emerson for four years. She has built relationships, and grown up there. The idea that she could lose her community for making progress, puts us in an impossible situation. It is equally devastating that Emerson could be so quick to let Leona go, like she was never truly a part of the school to begin with. I have big dreams for Leona. She’s going to graduate high school, with a diploma. She’s going to college. She will have a career, and an independent life. This is not an unrealistic goal, because I know my daughter, and I know what she’s capable of, and I believe in her. Thank you for your time and consideration. Hello, my name is Stephanie Ramos Cornell, and I spoke in front of the board a couple of months ago, talking about the same impossible situation my friend Courtney finds herself in today. I understand that it’s a numbers issue. School of choice for special day SDC, is different than school of choice gen ed, because SDC classes are smaller. I get it. Grade schools like Cumberly and Emerson are impacted, there’s no room, but there has to be a better way. Many kids in mild to moderate SDC classes can and should be mainstreamed for part of their day in gen ed class. If there is no room for them, than how are they being included in these classes at all? Are they actually included, or are they just visitors in a class that they really don’t belong to? When we separate SDC school of choice, and gen ed school of choice, and say that one doesn’t count, and one is lesser, we are sending the message that SDC is not equal to gen ed. There has to be a better way to do this. When a kid changes placement from SDC to gen ed, it’s a big deal. Kids should not be punished for their effort, because the school did not plan for their success. If the role for which kids get to stay at an impacted school is first in last out, the same rule should apply to SDC. They should get to stand in the same line as everyone else. We are asking that the board be aware of this policy, and the damage it is doing to families. Every effort should be made to ensure that change of placement does not mean change of school. Let’s find a better way because all means all. Recommendation number two: Allow students and SDC to remain at their school of choice, the school of choice in their placement changes, if their placement changes from SDC to gen ed. Every effort should be made to ensure that change of placement does not mean change of school, plan for and expect SDC students to mainstream and transition to general education. Thank you for your time. Good morning, my name is Shannon McCabe, and my daughter is Zoe, and she attends Freemont Elementary School. As a student of Long Beach public schools myself, I struggled. I was not a good test taker. My test scores indicated that I was low performing. I was tracked this way all the way through school. Although the information for the test data was intended to help me, my beliefs about the test scores did the opposite. As I moved through each grade level, I did not grow as an engaged learner, and my test scores did not improve. Instead, the belief that I was not smart did grow. You can’t read was a thought that occupied much of my mind, followed by you’re not enough. The irony of my story is that I have a Bachelor’s degree, two teaching credentials, three Master’s degrees, and a PhD. It took me seven pieces of paper to begin to undo the belief that I wasn’t smart. And also, the birth of my daughter. My daughter Zoe was born with a congenital heart defect, a three centimeter parietal lobe brain bleed, and down syndrome. And in a queue while discussing the surgical plans to repair her heart, doctors also foreshadowed the consequences of a large hematoma in the brain, and an extra chromosome. They said, “We don’t know what she’ll be able to do,” and began to itemize all the developmental, and physical challenges she would face. LucKily for me, I wasn’t that smart. I didn’t subscribe to the standardized medicine, statistics and checklist as a measure of the quality of her life, or who she might be in the world. I did believe in, advocate for and champion my child. Contrary to doctor’s recommendations to keep her hospitalized at home, or otherwise not in the world, I knew she wanted to be included. Similar to the medical model, the educational model uses more checklist, statistics and standardization, and also began to itemize all the developmental and intelligent challenges for Zoe. As she transitioned from early intervention to preschool with the district, the standardized testing indicated severe cognitive delays, which earned her an intellectual disability eligibility label and an automatic placement in moderate to severe class. It was like a Amber alert child abduction notification, the ring tone sounded. I thought about my own experience in school. I did not want my clever, resourceful kid to grow up with the belief that she was not smart, or capable like I had. I did not want my daughter at the age of three, to be segregated and isolated from her peers and community, and have the feeling that she doesn’t belong or matter. I did not want my Zo Zo, who had already disproved the medical world and who whispered, “I wanna be in the world,” and in queue to be said. On a linear path from institution to institution, without the opportunity to disprove the educational world, too. In the End of Average, Todd Rose writes: “Most of us know intuitively that a “score on a personality test, “a rank on a standardized assessment, “a grade point average, “or a rating on a performance review, “doesn’t reflect your, or your child’s “or your students, or your employees abilities. “Yet, the concept of average as a yardstick “for measuring individuals has been so thoroughly “ingrained in our minds “that we rarely question it seriously.” I spent my entire life compensating for the belief that I was not smart because of low test scores. I don’t want Zoe to grow up with the belief that her value in life is measured by a standardized test, or an IQ test. I want to create and provide an opportunity for her wishes to come true, to be included in school, where she is learning side by side with her peers, which will also lead her to being valued in the community and in the world. So with her life, I began the quest for a different type of knowledge, love. And Zoe is my most influential teacher. (crying) Her name means “life force,” and she brings an immeasurable quality of zest to all her activities. She brings enthusiasm by cheering for others and her own accomplishments. She charms her school culture into smiles, despite the rush hour of responsibilities. She puts the special in education, as she models her unique ways of learning. This is inclusive. Teaching to diversity and inclusion, where we do not standardize students, but instead value their differences, and see them as more than a score. So, recommendation number three, is adopt a shift in regards to standardized assessment, because the current use of test scores is a systemic barrier to inclusive education. Standardized test and IQ test should not determine placement. Good morning. Good morning. My name is Sarah Roselli, and I teach students with moderate to severe disabilities at Poly High School. While I was teaching RSP in a previous district, they implemented a code teaching inclusion model, and I was at one of the pilot schools. As a result, my coworkers and I got to experience first hand, the highs and the lows of such an audacious program. The two most important takeaways I’ve learned to make any inclusion program successful are, one provide ongoing training to support the teachers and staff that are implementing the program, and two the teachers must have collaboration time that is considered sacred. We as educators have few opportunities to make major positive, long lasting changes, where our entire community is better for what we have done. Inclusion is one of these opportunities. I have seen Poly become a better school and a stronger community, because we have included our students with disabilities. My favorite example from this last year was Sadie Hawkins. Our exemplary student council offered free tickets to any students in our moderate to severe program that wanted to go to the dance. It took a lot of convincing because my students had never been to a school dance before, even though they’re high school students, never a school dance, so their parents were really worried. Obviously, we did not need to convince the students to go, it was only their parents that were the ones concerned. The entire night, I was on my phone with their worried parents, sending updates, pictures and videos reassuring them. When one of my students with autism informed us that she had to go home early, the students were sad because they didn’t have enough time to take pictures at the photo booth with such a long line. Seeing my students’ concerned faces an obvious dilemma, immediately gen ed students invited them to jump to the front of the line, and even help them pick out props. You can seem them in the pictures there. Teenagers, the generation that everyone complains about, saw students that they did not even know, and took the time to invite them over and help them out. I have never been more proud to teach in Long Beach at Poly High School. However, for me the highlight of the entire night, was when I asked one of my students who rarely speaks above a whisper, how she likes Sadie Hawkins. Out of nowhere, she practically yells, “This is the best night ever!” I witnessed the power, that including my students in just one school dance gave them and their families to leave the loneliness and fears behind for one night. I am asking you to commit to make this the daily reality. By doing the things necessary to make inclusion successful in Long Beach. The number one most important thing we can do, is give staff time to work together and collaborate. Teachers always have a lot of work to do, and inclusion only adds to the work. Special education teachers need to understand what is happening in general education classes, so they can best support their students. General education teachers need to understand disabilities, and differentiate everything in ways they have never been taught to do. The good news is is that we already have everything we need to do that’s right, dedicated people. We just need to give them the resources they need to thrive, training and time. In the February 6th Board of Education resolution, on inclusion education practices it states, “We hold high expectations for our staff, “including employees that serve students with special needs, “and we are committed to providing the support needed “to help staff uphold these high expectations.” We plan on making sure that you do. Recommendation four: support teacher training, and planning for inclusion. Allow proper training for all teachers, and dedicated planning time for SDC teachers, and general education teachers to collaborate. Thank you for your time and consideration. Hola, Buenos diez. Sorry. (laughs) Sorry. (Vianney speaking in Spanish) Her name is Vianney Gomes. She has two sons in the district. Alexander’s in kindergarten at Twain, and Armando her oldest is at Spectrum, and NPS located at MacArthur. (Vianney speaking in Spanish) I’m her to talk about IEPs. (Vianney speaking in Spanish) This is where our special education journey begins. IEPs are stressful. I know parents who can’t sleep the days leading up to their kids IEP. Moms who throw up before meetings. Many of us cry during meetings. (Vianney speaking Spanish) There’s a lot of drinking afterword. (Vianney speaking Spanish) The stress comes from parents feeling like everything is at stake during this one meeting. That if you assign the wrong document, or agree to the wrong support, that it will affect whether your child is successful or not at school. (Vianney speaking Spanish) Relationships are built and destroyed in the IEP room. (Vianney speaking Spanish) We need to change the way we do IEPs. (Vianney speaking Spanish) Every child should get the support they need to be successful. Every IEP meeting should be a positive partnership between school teams and parents. (Vianney speaking Spanish) A good IEP meeting is when the relationship between school teams and parents remains a positive partnership. (Vianney speaking Spanish) Good IEP meetings should not be something only some people get because there is a really good RSP teacher at one school, or because a parent volunteers all the time in the classroom, or because they speak English. (Vianney speaking Spanish) Everyone should have a good IEP meeting. (Vianney speaking Spanish) We need to change the way we do IEPs in Long Beach. (Vianney speaking Spanish) Here are some suggestions: Good morning. (speaking Spanish) Nothing said, or decided in the IEP meeting should come as a surprise to anyone. All assessments, reports, and drafts of the IEP should be given to parents before the meeting, translated if necessary so that the parent can be an informed participant at the meeting. This isn’t about your rule ceremony. We don’t need the theatrics. Good morning. (speaking in Spanish) Remember that parents are the experts on their child. Our inputs should be valued and respected. Good morning. (speaking in Spanish) When making decision about placement, or changing supports, be brave and bid out on our kids, because they will surprise you. (speaking in Spanish) I’m afraid that when my son is making progress, that his support and non services will be all taken away. And if he regresses, and he needs the support again, it will take many assessments and meetings to get it back. It feels like when he is doing well, they cut his wings and see if he can fly. Support should not be given only when a child fails. It should be given so he won’t fail. (Man speaking in Spanish) We should take the pressure off the need to sign the IEP in the room. It is okay for parents to take the document home, read it, and fully digest it, before agreeing to sign. (speaking in Spanish) The least restrictive environment and the continuum of services should be made clear at every IEP meeting. Each meeting should start with a discussion of what amount of time he can spend with his difficult peers, and how we can move toward greater inclusion. Recommendation five, rethink the way we do IEPs in the district. Create district wide guidelines that support relationship building between families and school teams. That last recommendation was to show what it’s like to be in an IEP where you don’t speak the language. So I appreciate your patience. I wanted to just take a moment, we went a little bit over, and I apologize. But I just wanted to thank you so much for hearing us again. And I would like to thank Dr. Brown, and the wonderful sped admen in the back, some of ’em wearing shirts. And I just wanted to mention one other thing, and I don’t want to address the board directly, but I was watching a You Tube video, and Dr. Williams was being interviewed for Claremont graduate university. And it was very insightful! You were definitely speaking my language of social justice and equity. And you were talking about the strategic plan, and in particular the impact of ethic studies. And you said that the impact was created by allowing different cultures to look at one another in a way that they’ve never looked at each other before to see the values in those cultures that they never thought of because of the lenses that they grew up in. And you said those lenses were tainted with racism. So Dr. Williams, those lenses are also tainted with ableism, and inclusion is recognizing that our differences make us better. Students intuitively make room for diversity, they just need the opportunity. So thank you so much. And thank you for everybody showing up. I really, really appreciate it. That’s it. (audience applauds) Don’t leave. We wanna just thank you all for your personal stories, and your recommendations to improve support for students with special needs. It just really brings to mind, my journey with my granddaughter, and not understanding what her situation was all about, until she was a teenager, and having to adjust to that reality, in terms of her ability to socialize with other students. That was a problem that she had, and having to find that out and get treatment for her was very special. So, I empathize with all the information that you all are sharing with us this morning. And we’ve got a very supportive and special board and staff in this district, that I’m sure they heard every word you said. So, I’m gonna open it up to questions right now. Thank you. [Dr. Juan Benitez] I want to thank all of the parents for coming and educating us today. Some of my questions and comments may require a deeper dive. I don’t wanna keep folks here for a couple of hours. So, much like some of my comments yesterday, I think some of these we can carve out some time to really take deeper dives in, and really show respect for the time and effort that went into developing these recommendations, but also the time and effort it took to share your stories with us, so I have respect for that as well. When we passed our resolution earlier this year, one of the things that I spoke about, and I’ve mentioned that a couple of times that I’ve had the opportunity to come to the CAC meetings is that the resolution is a set a words, right. And really the importance of the resolution is that it provides a values and principles based approach, that then requires concrete policies and practices to uphold. So I wanna congratulate the CAC, because embedded in these recommendations are concrete policy implications that are needed to uphold the resolution. So I want to start off with that, because inclusion in and of itself, and it’s not to minimize, or trivialize the word, but it’s a word that’s supposed to embody a set of values and principles, right? But that requires policies and practices to be able to do that. So, I wanna talk a little bit about that, and then I have some questions really about the recommendations themselves, and again this part of it may require a deeper dive. There is a difference between principles and values, and the approaches that we use to advance that, and I think a set of specific considerations that we as a board need to make here. So, one thing that I noticed with the recommendations is that a few of the considerations do require some systems changes as well. They’re just not specific to a Long Beach unified school district. So I think it would be a good idea in consideration of these recommendations to have sort of a bigger overview as to what some of the legalize that quite frankly I need to be educated on. So, as an example the sign off on the IEP, what dictates when that occurs, when it should occur, in order for us to then consider is that something that LBUSD can change? And not just be mindful of, and or are we constrained by other factors that then we need to either lobby, or change policy at the state level, or at the national level. So I think that’s one sort of set of considerations, is what guides and dictates what we do, and what do we have autonomy and flexibility on? And then that either gets converted to a policy change, or upholding a policy through a set of practices that we may either not be doing, or could be doing better with that respect. So I think recommendations one through four run the whole gambit of what do we have autonomy here, and what do we need to change particularly maybe at the national level, or of the state level? The second thing is resources. So what’s needed, right, in terms of providing additional training professional development, and how do we prioritize that? Not over others, but as a part of this inclusion that we wanna uphold. The third is that some of the recommendations I think still need to be sort of detailed out with specifics. So as an example, what do we mean by feeling respected and valued during the IEP process itself? So what is that anchor in, and what do parents and students need in terms of practices and policies to feel that they are being respected, that they are being heard? That they are valued allies in this? And again, I think that’s not coming from a place of we don’t know, but we all have different ideas, right? And different experiences in what we need to feel, and to reflect respect, right? So, on the other hand some of the other ones, like providing drafts and or documentation prior to an IEP meeting, that’s very concrete, right? Those are things that we can deliberate on, make decisions on and recommendations about. So I think that part of it represents the second area of just the deeper dive to take out those things that still need to be reworked and thought of, in terms of concrete actions, activities, protocols and practices. Versus the values and the principles on respect, mutuality, reciprocity, transparency that then require again concrete steps and actions. Yeah.
To be taken. That’s a great idea. And then lastly, and this is more of the question part of it, I would love to follow up with the CAC. Dr. Brown, I’m sure my colleagues as well, because I think the sharing of the stories. I love the… Here’s the story, here’s the recommendation, and sort of here’s the bigger picture of why we have a CAC, why your work is so important to us. But there’s a lot of context that needs to be provided behind that. So I love the way that all of you made it very clear to us and concrete about our own students first and foremost, but there are broader policy and systems consideration that would benefit not just our own students, but our entire district, right? And not just from a special needs, special education perspective, but in upholding the all means all across race, across gender, across social justice and equity considerations that we make everyday. So one of the recommendations that I’ve shared with our board members and with our executive staff is when we talk about goals across the district, when we talk about priority strategies, I think it’s important for our board to also hear reports and presentations, and not just sort of isolate them to one goal, or a set of strategies or one or two goals, but that these are threads that we weave across all of our understandings, all of our priorities, all of our strategies and goals. So, I’m saying that because it would be helpful to me as a practice of referring to inclusion, that we don’t think about what you’ve shared, about what takes place within the CAC space, as a special needs, special education right? And we see it, and I’m not saying we don’t all right, but it needs to be upheld as part of our ongoing conversations on students in general, right? And I think that’s a cultural shift paradigm as well. So, I love the language around shifting the paradigm, but that also requires a cultural shift that sometimes is not easy coming from top down, right? So my invitation is for all of you to keep pushing us to keep reminding us. But to not feel like you have to carry the burden on that. It’s our job, right, we got elected to represent those interests, those needs. Not mutually exclusive from other interests and other needs. So I don’t see these as mutually exclusive conversations. So I applaud the work. I’m looking forward to taking deeper dives into these recommendations, but upholding them with policy. Upholding them with policy. So, my challenge to the parents and to the CAC, and I’ll be right there with you, and I know my fellow board members will, is to continue sort of siphoning out those threads of values and principles that are anchored with practices and policies. That’s my favorite part of this. That this gives us very specific marching orders to what needs to be done. I think the conversation is just how do we do that, all right so thank you again. Thank you. Thank you Dr. Benitez. Other questions? Yeah, thank you again for coming. And I’ll echo some of Dr. Benitez’s comments. All of our senior staff did two days of training around equity last week. And one of the closing thoughts from Baba the Storyteller, and there is a small video on line, was after these two days of work, what is this look like in practice, because we can talk about how it all feels, because it brings us life and it gets us energized to do the work, but what does it practically look like? What are the behaviors that back it up? But one of the things that he said that is so app repo of your story today is he reminded the administrator. So they haven’t, they’ve heard this before, that the data tells the what. The what’s needed, where students are, but the story tells us why. And how important your stories are to the why of the work that not only staff does, but that this board does as well. So thank you for sharing your stories, some of you again, and for the first time who told your story thank you for coming. As Dr. Benitez says, when I think back over the years of the CAC recommendations that have come just before me on this board, you are calling us to have better practice. Some really kind of minutia practice. How do we, you want program criteria, you want a curriculum? You want a public statement. Things that were outward behaviors of the work. And as I look at the recommendations in front of us today that you’ve worked so hard on, you are calling us to do, not only continue that work and to enhance that work here, but you’re calling on what we as elected officials in this school board are called to do at a bigger level. Which is to create models in this district that we know our imperfect. That we know have to get worked on everyday, and that we’re not gonna get right some of the time, and sometimes a lot of the time, and we’ll get it right a lot, hopefully. But is to challenge the bigger system under which we operate. So going back to those ideas of how are we constrained by state law, by federal law? How do we model that change is important, and then take the work outside of this room, and outside of 70 thousand students and four cities, to call on the state to do better because we’ve heard your stories. And to call on our elected officials at the national level to consider things differently because of your stories. So I thank you for the very concrete things that we can do everyday to help your kids be better, do better, because you’ve taught us to know more, and to be better. And I promise that I, and I’m sure this board and all of staff will continue to work hard everyday to not get it right some of the time. And I apologize ahead of it for not getting it right all of the time. But that we will continue to do this work. So thank you for being a tremendous source of inspiration, of challenge, and of community in our larger community, so thank you. Thank you. Thank you Mrs. Curry. Any other remarks? I would just like to add, it’s those stories that help us, and inform the work that we do. I know that from the meeting that I attended, I sat at a table and heard from Ms. Roselli our Poly teacher, and she told the story about the Sadie Hawkins dance. And then it made me realize that the all means all isn’t just how we treat our special ed kids, but it’s the benefit to all kids. And that was kind of a light bulb moment for me, and that kind of solidified everything. So it’s not that you’re pushing for your own individual children. It’s not just that. You’re pushing for all children to have the benefits of this inclusion. And for me, that was a key moment. I love hearing the stories. That does tell us how we should go about things. Well, how and why. But also, how do we get these stories out? How do we spread the word, so that more people have that understanding? I would like for all high school principals to hear the story about the Sadie Hawkins dance. I would like, well maybe not just all high school principals, but the secondary principals. Teachers, how do we get that word out? How do we spread that message? How do we use these personal stories to benefit all of our kids? So again, like with my colleagues, thank you for being here. Thank you for inviting us to your meetings. Continue to do that please? You’re still invited. We love those invitations. You’re all invited. (audience laughs) Sometimes, we need reminders. Yeah. Just maybe, “Oh yeah, in a couple of days “we have a meeting, and remember we’re at Browning now, “not the TOC.” Yeah. Can’t ride my bike now. Well you can, but it’s that hill, it’s a little tricky. Plan ahead. Yeah, thank you so much. So what a wonderful way to start the morning. Sarah Roselli is available for speaking engagements. (audience laughing) She can tell that story to anybody. Can I just share one more thing? I also wanna express appreciation for the time and effort and intent of sharing stories and multiple languages. (speaking in Spanish) and any other languages, so thank you for that. Well, we were pushing hard on that. Thank you very much, John any comments? Well, I don’t want you to think I haven’t been paying attention. My board members have been quite eloquent, particularly Dr. Benitez. In fact, he reminds me of a famous senator who was a champion of equity for all, Daniel P. Moynihan. And I would echo what Dr. Benitez said. I will tell you, there were many things here that interest me intensely, that I would love to be a part of a discussion. For example, school attributes can make a difference in a child’s ability. I think some of the implication there, is some of our schools are better suited than others. If that’s so, that’s something we need to address. So, there’s a lot of meat here that I would love to be a part of, and I wanna thank you for your presentations. Thank you so much. Is it all right if we take a picture? We have a lot of kids here, we could just have them run up real quick. Sure. Thank you for bringing your families. Thank you for bringing your students. Yes. 90% of my stuff is still in boxes. Once again, once again we want to… We wanna thank you for your personal stories. And please know that you’ve got a very special advocate in Dr. Tiffany Brown. Absolutely!

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