Purpose and Mission Statement

We are a group of educators, family and community members dedicated to advocating for equitable, positive solutions to the challenges that our public schools face.

Mission Statement: SCAPE is organized to support public school education. SCAPE members believe that public schools are successful when parents, educators and the community are jointly committed to their success. We facilitate cooperation beyond the classroom, engage in school district governance, and advocate ways for schools to meet the diverse needs of all students in a changing world. We envision public schools that promote creative and analytical thinking, and treat education as a lifelong process.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 2014 Meeting and Action Items

 Summary of January 15, 2014 SCAPE Meeting

Updates on Action Items
We will continue to explore getting our own URL and creating a website primarily designed to share information with SCAPE members.  We will try to get madscape.org as our URL.  Other discussion included making sure the website is current, accessible and uncluttered.

--Meetings at Boys and Girls Club
Nancy was able to reserve a meeting room for our February, April, June and August meetings. 

The SCAPE letter was sent, but no response has been received from MMSD.
--Attendance at Board of Education meetings
This will be crucial as we look to get information and to influence policy. 

--Conferences/Ready Set Goal
Discussions with MMSD and MTI have not produced positive results yet.  There is another meeting scheduled for next week and Andy will report information from that as it is available.  Currently MMSD staff is expressing a possibility that RSG's will not be funded in future budgets.

--Technology and Budget
Due to the unexpected introduction and push to pass the MMSD Technology Plan we spent a significant time discussing the plan and its potential implications.  Major concerns centered around the fact that the plan is being rushed through, the evidence supporting the need for 1:1 student to technology ratios is not there for elementary students, and that given current budget concerns the price tag for the plan will impact other programs and staffing in a way that is of significant concern. 

Discussion Topic- Grouping, Clustering and Tracking
We had a great, although somewhat abbreviated, conversation about this issue.  Some thoughts that were raised included:

-What drives this process is it student centered, curriculum centered, budget centered, or
            based on legal requirements?
-How are students grouped/identified and what can be done to improve this process?
-How do we "remove the edges" and make our classrooms places where all students are
            engaged in learning appropriate to their needs, not removed or given "one size fits
            all" activities.
-There was concern raised that the inclusive climate at Crestwood is changing because of
            initiatives like Mondo, math grouping and Interventions.
-Elementary grouping is, in many ways,  a different creature than Middle and High           School grouping.
-What do the different communities and groups in our school need/want to make sure that
            all of our students have opportunities that are geared to their needs?
-How do we have conversations that are not compartmentalized by group or by interest? 
            This is the current reality and causes conflict between different groups instead of
            creating a cohesive solution to our challenges.

"To Do"
--Meetings at Boys and Girls Club
More follow-up with B&GC staff will occur to try and increase neighborhood attendance at our meetings. 

Andy will follow up with the Superintendent and we will consider communicating our concerns at a future Board of Education meeting if no response is received.

--Attendance at Board of Education meetings
Cris will email the Board's weekly schedule as it becomes available.  We will look into getting buttons made so that we can be identifiable at events and meetings.

--Technology and Budget
We will gather information about the plan over the next couple of days with more info coming in from a contact on the Technology Steering Committee. 

Then we will begin a letter writing/phone campaign to ask questions of the Board and Administration.  We will be asking these individuals to slow down the process and explore all options before passing a plan that could negatively impact our students and schools. 

We will also look at getting some information out in the media as well (letters to the editor, Facebook, etc.)

We will also communicate with other schools in order to expand the voices that are heard on this issue.    

Over the weekend we will share ideas and formulate some "talking points" for people communicating as SCAPE members.  Members are welcome to communicate their ideas as individuals, but we want to make sure that SCAPE is heard as well.

It is important that we get this started quickly so that our opinions are heard during the decision making process and not just "after the fact" at a Board meeting where the votes have been decided.     

--Increasing SCAPE Visibility
We will try and make contacts in the Allied community as well as in our ELL community to increase participation from these groups. 

Next Meeting:
          Wednesday February 19th 6:30 @ Boys and Girls Club

Potential Topics:
            -Follow up on "To Do" list
            -Improving Communications
            -Continue our Grouping/Tracking/Clustering conversation
            -Presentation on Homelessness by a Crestwood Parent
Feel free to suggest other items.  We would like to have a focus so that we can communicate this with B&GC staff or other Allied neighborhood sources to try and increase attendance from that community at our meetings.