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  1. #1
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    Default Reflections on Taking a Break

    After some thinking about the productivity of the last few weeks on these boards, and after talking it over with some folks, I have decided to "take a vacation" from posting about anything related to schools. I write this thread not to arrange for a goodbye party, but to put forth a rationale for this decision and suggest others follow this path.

    (1) Things have broken down even further than they had before. It is clear that trust does not exist between parties, people envision others as liars/cruel/uncivil/[add your own adjective here], and posts are degrading to the point that nobody is learning anything new and/or helpful.

    (2) What has happened will not change, no matter how loud people yell from the sidelines. I'm not saying I'm happy about a lot of things, but revisiting history as I and others see it is a futile exercise. If I don't like it, I should run for SC (as I did) and attempt to affect change. If I don't want to serve, then I have the right to attend meetings, raise questions, and push forward change ideas to be enacted. This line of thinking applies to anyone still dissatisfied, in my opinion. Nothing will change what has happened, though.

    (3) Sharing distaste for what others have said/done on an individual basis in this forum is a case of wrong place/wrong time. Everyone has an e-mail address, phone and, at a minimum, a private message function on this site. Those are better forums for individual complaints.

    I'm going back to the happy Wayland that I like -- the one where I coach T-ball and soccer, the one where I focus on the growth of my children, the one where I enjoy my neighbors and don't worry about "running into someone" and the one that I plan to stay in for years to come. I also pledge to stay involved, commit time and energy to our volunteer government and fight for the changes that I think will make this happy Wayland a better place. Any posts I make going forward will try and have that underlying theme.

    Other than the actual closing of Loker, I would not take back my experiences of the last year, because I've met lots of great people in town whom I never knew. I haven't always agreed with them, but I got to know them. Hopefully, the impression I've left with most is that of a passionate supporter of a cause. Again, people may not always agree...

    I close with the question of who else can make this pledge?

  2. #2
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    Jeff, this is really well put! I do the various things that I do (volunteering at the schools, running WaylandeNews, serving on committees, etc.) ultimately because I want Wayland to be the best possible place for my kids to grow up. So as to your pledge: I'm in!

    Unfortunately, with all the negativity lately, I've spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with this website and forum. And the end result is that I've spent less time with my kids, even though they are (not meaning to be redundant) exactly why I started doing all this stuff in the first place.

    So I am 100% behind the idea of moving on, but continuing to be involved and committed and doing what I can for the community.

    Thanks Jeff!

    Please do continue to bring issues here and have discussion. Just please remain civil and pretty please find some other interesting things to talk about. :-) How about them Red Sox? Anybody planning to watch the VP debate? Why do I still not have access to Verizon FiOS? Isn't is great the police have been so aggressively stopping speeders on Plain Rd. lately? Now that it's been raining for 40 days straight, is the Water Department ever going to see fit to remove the watering ban?? What about Question 1 on the state ballot? (BTW, I called Scott Brown about that one - even he opposes)
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 10-01-2008 at 11:09 AM. Reason: to fix a couple of sentences. Nothing substantive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    10

    Default Thanks, Jeff

    Jeff, THANK YOU! I am new to the Wayland ENews discussion boards, I’ve only been reading for about a month. For the record, I voted for you, the override, and I wasn’t happy about the reconfiguration. However, the fact remains that the reconfig happened, the override passed, and we are left with some very real issues, both related to the reconfiguration and the general question of how to improve our school system. While the posts by you, Jeff D, John F, Tracy, et. al. have made for some spirited reading, in the end I don’t think it helps anyone, especially our kids. Re-hashing the past ad nauseum only serves to more firmly cement the negative feelings and further divide our community (my opinion). Clearly tempers are still high, time has not healed all wounds, and all of this back and forth frankly seems to be so much wheel spinning. Time to move on.

    The “Our School “Reconfiguration” thread identifies some very real issues. Overcrowded classes, long bus rides, lack of adequate afternoon supervision at Loker, kids missing lunch at Happy Hollow, etc. My question is, which of these issues are still out there? How do we fix them? In the “Thoughts on an Evolution…” thread, Jeff D. came up with what I thought was a really great place to start for improving our school system. It’s unrealistic to implement all of those ideas at once, so what takes precedence? How does it get implemented?

    To that end, I have a thought going back to my only! other post on these discussion boards. First of all, I think the SC and/or Administration should create a survey that goes out to every household in the school system. I’ve said it before, but not everyone can get to SC meetings, and a mail-in or on-line survey would be very helpful in identifying the problems that families are still experiencing. The survey could also do double-duty and include Jeff D.’s list of possible improvements, so the community can have direct input on prioritizing them, plus room to add their own ideas. Additionally, there could be space to indicate if you are willing to serve on a task force of sorts, addressing the issues facing our schools.

    To address reconfiguration issues, create the task force comprised of say, two SC members, a former Loker parent whose child(ren) are now at HH, and another Loker parent whose child(ren) are now at CH, an HH parent who has always been at HH, a CH parent who has always been at CH, and one or two current Loker K parents. I don’t know what the best configuration might be, but my point is BALANCED representation from all of the ES, plus more than one member of the SC (two sets of ears, voices). The task force members could be chosen randomly from the pool of parents replying in the positive that they would be willing to serve. Then send the task force to each of the schools to observe at key times what exactly is happening, e.g., if drop off & pick up are still an issue at HH, then go to HH at drop off and pick up. If lengthy bus rides are a problem, go for a ride on the Route 8 Kindergarten morning bus (first stop, 7:35 a.m.). The point is, check it out for yourself (as Kim R. said in a prior post). Take notes. Evaluate the facts. Ask teachers their opinions. Bring it all back to the table and discuss. Admit error where it's due, and conversely, admit when/where things are working. Formulate a plan to rectify any problems, and then rectify the problems.

    As far as school improvements go, we could do more or less the same thing. I was thrilled the other day to get the E-mail re: the Full Day Kindergarten study group-that is exactly the kind of involvement necessary. Author! Author! Keep that ball rolling in a positive direction. I really think that the way to get community buy-in is to gosh, involve the community. By doing so, the SC will understand clearly where the community stands, what the priorities should be, and then we just might be able to move forward.

    I don’t know if this is realistic, too complicated, naive? Regardless, I’m trying to make a positive suggestion, hopefully others will do the same, and hopefully we can move forward no matter which side of the reconfiguration fence you’re on.

  4. #4
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    For my part, I'll sign on to Jeff Baron's pledge--I've got 7th grade BAYS soccer to coach, HS cross country meets to attend, soccer balls to kick myself, and a great fall season of cycling ahead.

    That said, I'm happy to answer questions about our schools, and track down information to the extent that I'm able.

    To Mary Camp's point about school initiatives, I'm going to suggest to the School Committee at our next meeting (Monday 10/6, 7pm, Town Building, 2nd floor, School Committee meeting room) that as part of our Long Range Strategic Planning effort, we use our mid-November fall forum to address the question of prioritizing our educational future. My hope is that, in advance of that meeting, we can survey residents to get their input. Even prior to a "formal" survey, people should feel free to share their thoughts on the "Thoughts on an evolution of the Wayland Public Schools" thread

    I'm happy to use my list as a starting point, but it certainly shouldn't be limiting. Let's talk about full day Kindergarten, a better health/wellness program, technology, professional development, curricular vs. co-curricular programs, and so on.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Jeff, I'd love to see you add to that last Mary's suggestion about what I'll call a Reconfiguration Taskforce (I'll leave you the job of coming up with a better name) that is focused on improving some of the logistical issues that have emerged from the reconfiguration.

    I believe that most of the reconfiguration-related issues are fixable (not to say that they aren't distressing while they exist!), and that some (hopefully not huge) amount of effort would go a long way toward improving quality of life for students at all the schools.

    Why not assemble a team to monitor what's going on, suggestion improvements and report on status? Where there are issues, (1) let's get 'em on the table and agree what they are, and (2) more importantly, let's solve them!
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 10-02-2008 at 04:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    96

    Default concurrence

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    After some thinking about the productivity of the last few weeks on these boards, and after talking it over with some folks, I have decided to "take a vacation" from posting about anything related to schools. I write this thread not to arrange for a goodbye party, but to put forth a rationale for this decision and suggest others follow this path.

    (1) Things have broken down even further than they had before. It is clear that trust does not exist between parties, people envision others as liars/cruel/uncivil/[add your own adjective here], and posts are degrading to the point that nobody is learning anything new and/or helpful.

    (2) What has happened will not change, no matter how loud people yell from the sidelines. I'm not saying I'm happy about a lot of things, but revisiting history as I and others see it is a futile exercise. If I don't like it, I should run for SC (as I did) and attempt to affect change. If I don't want to serve, then I have the right to attend meetings, raise questions, and push forward change ideas to be enacted. This line of thinking applies to anyone still dissatisfied, in my opinion. Nothing will change what has happened, though.

    (3) Sharing distaste for what others have said/done on an individual basis in this forum is a case of wrong place/wrong time. Everyone has an e-mail address, phone and, at a minimum, a private message function on this site. Those are better forums for individual complaints.

    I'm going back to the happy Wayland that I like -- the one where I coach T-ball and soccer, the one where I focus on the growth of my children, the one where I enjoy my neighbors and don't worry about "running into someone" and the one that I plan to stay in for years to come. I also pledge to stay involved, commit time and energy to our volunteer government and fight for the changes that I think will make this happy Wayland a better place. Any posts I make going forward will try and have that underlying theme.

    Other than the actual closing of Loker, I would not take back my experiences of the last year, because I've met lots of great people in town whom I never knew. I haven't always agreed with them, but I got to know them. Hopefully, the impression I've left with most is that of a passionate supporter of a cause. Again, people may not always agree...

    I close with the question of who else can make this pledge?
    I'm in.
    The discussion in the posts above illustrates the Wayland that I've enjoyed for 36 years.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Default

    Wasn't it George Bush who said, "I'm a uniter, not a divider"?

    Well, that didn't exactly work out with him, but it just might here.
    Just look at the cast of characters you've brought on board here.
    And I'm sure more will follow.

    Jeff Baron, I applaud your efforts on starting this thread and thank you for all you've brought to the table on these boards and throughout the town.


    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  8. #8
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    As Stephen Colbert said so astutely, George W. Bush *did* end up becoming an "uniter." Something to the effect of how well he brought 70% of the population together, no mean feat at all.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    As Stephen Colbert said so astutely, George W. Bush *did* end up becoming an "uniter." Something to the effect of how well he brought 70% of the population together, no mean feat at all.
    Wow, Jeff! Congratulations! You just managed to turn one of the nicest threads on the board in a long time into a means for handing me a backhanded insult. I'd say there are probably a few, but I doubt as if 70% of Wayland views me in the obviously negative way you do. Open your mouth and insert foot solidly!!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    Wow, Jeff! Congratulations! You just managed to turn one of the nicest threads on the board in a long time into a means for handing me a backhanded insult. I'd say there are probably a few, but I doubt as if 70% of Wayland views me in the obviously negative way you do. Open your mouth and insert foot solidly!!

    Jeff, it was a joke! A good response would be to laugh.

  11. #11
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    Default

    Thank you Jeff!

  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John Flaherty View Post
    Just look at the cast of characters you've brought on board here.
    Hey, who are you calling a character??! Just kidding. I've always contended that we all have more in common than apart. Let's build on that.

  13. #13
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    I also pledge to stay involved, commit time and energy to our volunteer government and fight for the changes that I think will make this happy Wayland a better place. Any posts I make going forward will try and have that underlying theme.
    Thanks Jeff- I absolutely join you in this pledge.

    And I thank Mary Camp for her post about "time to move on". She makes some great points there and if I could figure out how to quote two different people in one response, I'd put some here!!!!

    I would add one suggestion, I think it would be good to include a HS and/or MS parent in the ES task force. I think including the perspective of a parent who has kids that have gone through the entire system, is so important for those who haven't had the opportunity of hindsight. As my kids get older, I realize what seemed so critical at early junctures, can pale in comparison when looking at the bigger picture. That is not to say experience trumps all, but often times I hear these people speak at SC mtgs and have a great respect for their reflection. What we think is so unique to our ES experience, I'm quickly seeing is happening all around us and these same issues cycle through in ebbs and flows.

    I also love her idea of a survey to all parents regarding priorities. Then the SC would have a baseline of feedback from a more representative group than only those who show up to SC mtgs and make comment on a particular topic.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    And I thank Mary Camp for her post about "time to move on". She makes some great points there and if I could figure out how to quote two different people in one response, I'd put some here!!!!
    Ah, Grasshopper. So many lessons you could learn if willing to learn from the master...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Camp View Post
    Re-hashing the past ad nauseum only serves to more firmly cement the negative feelings and further divide our community (my opinion). Clearly tempers are still high, time has not healed all wounds, and all of this back and forth frankly seems to be so much wheel spinning. Time to move on.
    Perhaps one day with a few spare moments, I will post a quick tutorial on cool things you can do in the forum.

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