Monday, January 12, 2009

Parent/Partnership Advisory Committee

If you're interested in becoming more involved in the Middletown schools, there's a meeting on Monday, January 26th that can get you started. The District Parent/Partnership Advisory Committee will meet from 5:30 to 8 pm at the new Middletown High. This is for parents from all Middletown schools. You can learn more about the Partnership here. These meetings are organized by Donna Marino, Middletown's Parent Resource Coordinator.

The special guest will be Superintendent Michael Frechette, who will discuss the proposed school budget for next year. Also, students will present their thoughts about engagement in the school and wider community.

At the meeting, refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to 638-1419 (daytime) or 638-1462 (after 4 pm). Also, let them know if you have childcare or transportation needs that would affect your ability to attend the meeting.

NOTE: This post originally had Jan 12th as the meeting date -- oops!


Anonymous said...

Beware PLTI! They will zombie-ize you! Seriously, it would have so much more credibility if it were not run under the Middletown schools, by Middletown schools paid staff. In other communities, the parent leadership training is run by an independent not for profit organization or agency outside of the control of the school system, itself. So let's talk about trained seals....

Stephen H. Devoto said...

Dear Anonymous:
You have raised valid concerns about the fundamental structure of the parents organization. They deserve a full exploration, freed from the obscurity and anonymity of the comments section. Eye readers, and Middletown at large, would benefit from a clear explanation of what you think the problems are, and possible ways to improve the PLTI. Please consider submitting such a commentary!
P.S. Comments are taken much more seriously when they are signed; this is especially true for strongly negative comments about parents who are volunteering their time to improve our schools.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but I am not making "strongly negative comments about parents who are volunteering" (that is your strongly negative quote, not mine.) God bless those parents who try! My comment is only about whether the school system itself is the right host of a parent advocacy training program. Period. Please take better care not to manipulate the words and meanings of others, Anon or not, for the sake of your own credibility, identity declared.

And let me clarify that I also admire the zeal of our well intentioned but district-paid-for Parent Coordinator who organizes those parent partnership meetings, but realize she is in the bad position of being unable to live what she preaches.

But please, don't take my word for it, why not ask a PLTI graduate yourself; or better yet invest your own time and effort beyond just a PTA meeting or two and take the course! Or sit in on some of those partnership committee meetings; pretty soon you can't tell the difference from one year to the next. Instead, cut to the chase and ask if you can participate in a curriculum review committee where you can make a greater impact faster. Or suggest to your son or daughter's principal that you want to serve on the next teacher hiring team; see what reaction you get.

Or simply check out the PLTI curriculum and see if they train parents in either teacher or school administrator hiring, or if they train parents in how to review a curriculum, to prepare PLTI parents for any of those roles.

Or ask, does PLTI have parents even look at our district's curricula so they can better understand what and how their children will be taught? Wouldn't that be a great parent training program with the potential for measurable impact on our students' educational achievement? You'd hope they would do something like that...but I don't think they do that in PLTI.

Then you can report back to us about your experience.

Jen Alexander said...

Dear @ 11:05 pm:

Your second comment is specific, provocative and -- I think -- a helpful questioning of the effectiveness of PLTI. Thank you! Your first comment, though, called people in the PLTI zombies and trained seals! Please try to see this from our perspective as moderators of comments on the EYE. Surely you've seen the comment board at the Courant -- we want things to be more civil here.

I think that the points you have raised are interesting ones and I've never considered them. From my perspective, I have known many women who have gone through PLTI. I have seen them grown into empowered spokespeople, and seen the great changes in their personal lives as they become more assertive and they think more critically about their own choices on their life path. So I think the program provides a great service, especially as these women are often single mothers and the impact on their family can be significant.

But even though I appreciate the work that PLTI does, I agree that has a different outcome (for the people I've known) than the options that you raise. And those are good ideas. I encourage you to make your ideas known to Donna Marino or the system (I suspect you already have!) and I will mention them to her as well.

By the way, I did once represent parents on a principal selection committee -- I don't know if parents are tapped for teacher selection, but that's a great idea.

And if you can think of a way to fund a parent training program outside the school system, or if you know of any towns who do it a different way, then speak up on that one too!

-Jen Alexander