“No one has ever complained about it before.”
I am thrilled with the creation of the new space committee and hope for great results from it. It is clear however, that this committee will not save PREDs for next year. So, over the past few weeks I have continued my conversations with parents, school leaders and most importantly, our school committee about potential solutions for the program. In one particular meeting with a SC member, I was told that at SSS there are specialists working out of closets and gym classes happening in classrooms – these examples were given in defense of PREDs being cut. My natural reaction was to ask this SC member if what he just said was true, did he STILL insist there is NO space issue at SSS? “Well – No one has ever complained about it before.” was the response I got. Wow. This is the culture of our school committee.
In this conversation, and in many others with school and town leaders, I have been thrilled to learn that our position on these issues is supported. For the most part, EVERYONE has agreed that 1. the abrupt removal of such an important program is unacceptable, 2. the timing and tone of the communication was thoughtless and 3. that parents deserve a SOLUTION from the school system – not just conflicting explanations of why it happened.
Despite all of this support, Superintendent Tremblay STILL will not budge on her decision or even meet with parents to brainstorm creative solutions. In fact, in my meeting with this SC member I explained that because of conflicting information about how the decision to cut PREDs was made, my trust in their process was gone. As a show of good faith, I asked to be taken on the walk-through of SSS that ultimately determined there was no room for PREDs. The SC member agreed it was a reasonable request, and I left optimistic for real answers! But that same afternoon I received a phone call from Superintendent Tremblay inviting me in for a meeting. When asked if this meeting would include my requested walk-through, I got a quick and firm: “No.”
Why? What is there to lose unless this decision was not as thought out as our school leadership would lead us to believe? When your parents are asking for, and your school committee is supporting, something THIS SIMPLE why say no? So much goodwill could have been built. But letting parents “in” is not the culture of our school leadership.
I’m sharing this as an update to the PREDs/Space conversation that has been going on since January. But also as a warning – these are two clear examples of the current culture of our school committee and leadership. They wait until someone complains about something to take action. And they turn down a simple request that would create so much goodwill with a population of parents suffering the consequences of an internal decision.
This is a culture that does not understand its community. This is a culture that is afraid to rock the boat. This is a culture that forgets they promised to do their very best when campaigning for such important roles in our children’s lives. But CULTURE is a really hard thing to change – it takes a major shift in an organization to do it effectively. It takes new perspectives, new energy and most important, a whole lot of guts and passion to make change happen.
Luckily, we all have the opportunity to dramatically change the makeup AND CULTURE of our school committee on Tuesday 4/10. If you have been made angry, sad, scared or frustrated by being shut out of important decisions effecting your children, I sincerely hope you will use your TWO votes to bring new, experienced, passionate people to our school committee. Please take some time to get to know our two new candidates via their campaign pages below.
Kimberlee Kossover Hansen for School Committee
Phil McQueen for School Committee
To close – I did take Superintendent Tremblay up on her offer to meet one on one and plan to ask some really hard questions about the inconsistencies in their explanations. I am not expecting her to budge, but want her to understand WE ARE PAYING ATTENTION. And these types of things cannot continue. If you have anything you’d like asked, email me and I’ll try my best to get an answer.