Notes For January 2023 Meeting

The Chicago Park Board of Trustees meeting that took place 1/18/23 had no immediate issues to address.  There was a 6% raise that increased pay for all employees.  A presentation of the yearly audit, which had some faults, but it was due to the chaotic filing and fulfillment of independent study that effected all schools during the “distance learning” phase.  Before we dove into the discussions of the LCAP, and I had to leave, I made a public comment regarding my concerns of their “Goals” which reads as follows:

“Chicago Park’s mission is to provide a well-rounded program that prepares students for 21st century success in all areas of academics by offering unique and individualized services in math, science, technology, and character development.  We emphasize a safe and nurturing environment and graduate responsible students who respect and advocate for the rights of others”…

My concern is that if a school begins their goals with the intent of creating advocates of our children, that academics has now become number 2 on the list of priorities.  In addition to placing “academic success” as the follow-up portion of their goals- below advocacy- I wonder, what and who are our children being told they should advocate for…. Advocacy is a big action and idea that seems more appropriate in the realms of Universities- where young adults may choose such a lifestyle, and utilize their moral compass, which has matured, to make decisions on what and who to advocate for.  To say that an elementary/middle school will create advocates for others, makes me wonder if I would want my child advocating for the right of another to live in a way that our family, based on Christian views, deems acceptable.  Furthermore, many ideologies that some students are living were deemed mental illness at one point in time, and I cannot advocate for them.  To nurture mental illness, is to bring about a higher possibility of suicide later down the road in that child’s life.  So, I emphasized that if the school places academics first, and executes well, their students’ social and emotional aspect will naturally improve as well.  That there is character building, pride, and a sense of accomplishment that comes with success in academics.  

Secondly, there are test scores in math and Language arts that are not up to par.  The school, along with many others, clearly has holes in their curriculum (as was admitted by the principle/superintendent during the board meeting), execution of academics, and overall school day.  However, very little money is being set aside to add and or improve curriculum.  Instead, a large chunk of money- about $30k worth is being used for a school counselor to work at the school for additional hours, and $4,500 used for professional development to help “create an inclusive environment for all students” through Academic Intervention Strategies and MTSS.  MTSS as defined by California Department of Education is “a Multi-Tiered System of Support” which provides abases for understanding how California educators can work together to ensure equitable access and opportunity for all students to achieve the Common Core State Standards.  MTSS includes Response to Instruction and intervention as well as additional, distinct philosophies and concepts”.  

Contributor: Sarah Lindblom


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