Last night’s Board of Education meeting was a wild ride,and there’s so much to tell you. First, this open invitation from one of the dads of Centennial, the school in which we stand in firm solidarity:
Dear NW Denver Parents, Teachers, Business Owners, Citizens, Press, DPS board;
This message is intended for anyone who wants to protect the NW Denver community & have great schools for our children.
I don’t want to choose the education of my child like I choose my socks at 6am. Things don’t always end up well for me when I am quietly trying to match socks up in the dark. I do a little better when I plan ahead and know what I am putting on.
So, I am holding an open meeting at Zooks Coffee Tomorrow Morning, Saturday 2/23/13 at 8:30am (MST).
You are welcome to come. I would like to talk about overall unity among our community to discuss the one thing we can unite on.
We all want what is best for our kids & what is best for our community.
Let me get to the point.
On this email, there are people for and against every issue that is rolling thru the NW Denver community. Included are Centennial K-8 parents and community members who want the principal to go and those who want her to stay. I have copied parents and community members who are very excited about innovation and those who are against the change. And many who were a little heart broken when we didn’t see the name(s) of a special teacher on the lists of returning teachers.
I am excited that NW Denver has the attention of the school district to improve our Schools in NW Denver.
I am fearful that the process and recent series of events, may seriously harm our neighborhood as it proceeds unless we unite.
Some of the ripple effects of change are AWESOME. These issues have caused community involvement in Centennial (and North High) to grow exponentially and we now have a very invigorated parent community who is involved and will fight for what is best for our children.
BUT, some of those ripples are driving a fracture in our neighborhood. And with a larger, caring community population, we now have a community that is divided.
We will never all agree on politics and religion, but I am sure that we can all agree that we want what is best for the place we call home. The handling of this matter has caused us to fracture, and divide. Even if DPS’s goal is to provide the most efficient, fulfilling and effective education to every child in our neighborhood, their methodology has caused a fracture in our home.
As admitted by a DPS board member last night at the board meeting; fractured and wounded neighborhoods are in the wake of changes DPS has made in the past. But the fracture that it has caused in our community cannot be repaired unless we unite on one thing and one thing only; We will defend our community.
Denver Public Schools will continue press change and improvement. We demand that of the School Board. However, in this case, they expect us to choose our children’s future like I choose my socks at 6am….in the dark, trying not to wake anyone.
So, the community has come together, even if it is on opposite sides of an issue. We can unite in support of our community. I owe my children the duty of ensuring I fully understand what kind of school I am putting them in.
This invite will be sent to SOS Colorado, Defense Denver, North Siders of Denver, Centennial School, Occupy Denver Public Schools, Our DPS, HUNI, Lohi and 32nt avenue merchants associations.
The worst thing that will happen is that I will have one of the best cups of coffee in the neighborhood. Or, some people will come together and discuss the things we have in common.
Location: Zooks Coffee (tied to the Denver Puppet Theatre in NW Denver) 3156 W 38th Avenue, Denver Colorado, 80211 in the Highlands.
Time: 8:30am (MST) Saturday 2/23/13.
Open to: EVERYONE
I know this time may conflict with other events in your calendar and I do apologize. The media has been invited.
If this is news to you, I have summarized my experience below
NORTHWEST Denver School removes 75% of the teachers the day AFTER parents can choose to send their kids to another school.
If your school would have told you that 75% of the existing teachers at your school would be released from their position at the end of the school year, would you choose that school for your child? Parents of Centennial K-8 in NW Denver were not given that choice. Denver Public Schools, and the current principal of Centennial K-8 in NW Denver decided to remove 75% THE DAY AFTER PARENTS COULD CHOOSE to send children elsewhere.
I am not going to passively sit back and watch this continued, calculated, deception effect my son’s education.
The process was outlined to the parents in the CEC meeting at the end of November 2012. Was this the process followed when they decided to gut our school and remove 75% of the teachers the day AFTER we were able to make our choice of schools?
This was a very strategic, and calculated move. I really worry about the true underlying motives for the timing.
Not only was that move underhanded, it was dishonest. If you say that the choice out date had nothing to do with your decision, then you are oblivious to what is important to parents. That makes me not trust you. If you did this with the date in mind, and thought of it as little important, then you are again oblivious. And I still don’t trust you.
Finally, a Majority Vote was cast last night in support of slowing the wheels that are in motion to ensure all variables have been addressed. That vote, although a majority in favor, is in question as the board is a member shy, and the Superintendent stepped out of the meeting before the vote was cast.
–Dustin Tidwell, Centennial parent
Can you come and join the meeting in solidarity too?
More about the majority vote situation last night
After last night’s public comment, Board Member Andrea Merida introduced a motion to stop the progress on the Centennial school redesign until a full community process had been had and other variables had been considered. She pointed out that the board may have been deceived in their vote on December 20 to phase out the middle-school grades, because though the resolution does give the principal the power to make changes to staff, it was requested in the context of phasing out those three grades. She called it another “bait and switch” from the administration.
The vote was taken, with the result of 3-2. Board president Mary Seawell was not present. The district’s legal counsel declared the motion failed, citing board policy BEDA, which says that “voting shall be by roll call with each member present voting “Aye” or “no” alphabetically. To pass, any motion must be approved by a majority of full membership of the Board.”
So what exactly does “a majority of full membership of the Board” actually mean? A majority of the current existing board was present, 5 out of the 6. The district’s legal counsel said that the motion failed because they needed 4 votes to pass. But the board isn’t currently a 7 member board because of the vacancy created by the resignation of Nate Easley. It’s currently a 6 member board.
So what now? Community members are filing complaints with the Colorado Attorney General’s office, as well as with the Colorado Department of Education. You can call too. 720-508-6000.