Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Back to School" meeting thoughts

So I followed through with going to last night's "Back to School" meeting at the Tatnall building in Dover. I have to say that I was pretty impressed with the turnout and the discussion was quite interesting. It was an open dialogue night to give feedback on the series of ideas on the Governor's education agenda. Most of the people in the room were teachers, paras, state board of ed. people, or other folks involved with education. They ranged from southern to northern school districts which was nice.
A good part of the discussion revolved around the rewarding of educators who serve in at-risk schools. This of course won't happen until the state budget is sorted out so it is nice to have it recorded, but it could be awhile until things develop.

The DSTP was a topic I thought could have been discussed more. I totally agreed with another mom in the room who said that too much time is taken to deal with testing and that teachers were just teaching to the test. So when she commented I gave a big AMEN! I think that a lot of the teachers there didn't really agree or were just keeping their mouths shut. It would have been nice to see more of them speak up on that. Anyway the replacement test for the DSTP hasn't been purchased yet although they did indicate that some of it could be administered via computers. It also would be given at different times (like at the beginning and end of the year). The main thing is they want to check for progress over the course of the year. Gifted students were mentioned during the meeting two or three times which I thought was a major achievement. The State Teacher of 2008, Courtney Fox, who teaches 1st grade in the Brandywine School District and also teaches a self contained gifted class mentioned the needs of her students. (I have to go back to the podcast and write in more detail later).

The last topic of discussion involved cutting regulations to give schools the chance to innovate and give them more control in the decision making. With this comes the last topic of the state allowing districts and schools more funding discretion, but holding them accoutable.

With all of this writing, my brain is starting to hurt. So I'll leave it to you to check out the Lt. Governor's website (mentioned in a previous post) where the podcasts and notes from all of the meetings are located. Let me know if you hear the AMEN!
Thanks for reading and please share comments and concerns you have on these topics. Also note that you can make suggestions on the Lt. Gov. website ....wouldn't it be great if more voices were heard on gifted education?


  1. Monica~
    Good for you to keep your families posted. If it helps, know that you're not alone throughout the country.

    * Father of four gifted daughters (One of them is in her first year of graduate school at U. Delaware in Newark.)
    * Consultant and Chairman, Parent Affiliates, Illinois Association for Gifted Children
    * Member, Advisory Council on the Education of Gifted and Talented Children, Illinois State Board of Education
    * Member, Advisory Board. Regional Office of Education (4 counties in IL
    * Member, Chicago Area Mensa Gifted Children Committee
    * Past past President, Parents for Gifted Education, Rockford IL Public Schools

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Terry! I sincerely appreciate your comment.

  3. Well written article. Let's hope these meetings are more than bureaucratic posturing and political games. Paying attention to the issue is at least as important as throwing money at it, maybe more.