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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Year In Review At The Watch

Well really since I didn't start this blog until July if you want to get technical, I should call this post "Half-Year In Review". Nonetheless it has been pretty eventful so far. I am sure I won't be able to sum it up in just one post after all I do tend to go on and on and since I am getting more and more gray hairs, my memory fails me sometimes.

My big issue starting off was my failing attempt to save the elementary school libraries from the cold, impersonal budget ax. Since I was unable to convince those that hold the purse strings about just how vital the libraries were, I felt obligated to do my part to at least keep one open. This landed me a volunteer position at Ford School. There was no pay but many rewards.

Then there was the "mold" problem at one of the classrooms at Ford. I had a couple posts calling attention to the problem and made a few calls, Whether or not I initiated any pressure, the room got fixed enough that the Health Dept. okayed the return of the kids to class. I doubt I played much part in the pressure, I mean nobody reads these blogs.

At about the same time I started hearing about trouble with fights they were having at Marshall. I wrote about it and male teachers were posted at corners leading up to the school to establish some order. I am sure it was just a coincidence but the timing was nice.

Still recovering from a Labor Day fall, I underwent cataract surgery on Sept. 28th. I think there was a big improvement in my writing from that. I mean the typos and misspelled words went way down. Seeing more clearly helped me find my voice.

Then came the rats. They were very good to me. More and more people started nibbling at my blog. Lots of other people came out in support of the Ingalls "Farm" and science once gain ruled over silliness and The Food Project's lease was renewed,

The space shuttle wasn't the only program proposed to be grounded. The classroom at Ford School with a DLL hookup with NASA was threatened with closure. Mayor Kennedy saved the day or at least delayed the move until all of the options can be explored.

A very experienced special education teacher was let go for who really knows what reason at the end of his probationary period. I, of course, don't have any inside information. I am just a parent after all. I wrote a couple posts to highlight what I considered an educational injustice. Nothing came of it. I told you nobody reads these blogs.

Despite my visual improvements, I still have a hard time following all this money flowing through this system. I go to all the meetings but all of these numbers from all these places just confuses me. Maybe that is the way it is supposed to be. Oh well, I'm a "big picture" guy.

We've been promised a detailed accounting of where all this grant money that we received after the budget was finalized. I look forward to it. As a matter of fact, it's my New Year's resolution to carefully examine it and expose any inconsistencies. Maybe then someone will read my blog.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dr. Latham Hears Voices

At the last LSC meeting, I learned still another interesting fact about student involvement. Dr. Latham announced at the Dec. 9th meeting that on the morning of every regularly scheduled LSC session, she has a meeting with student representatives from the high schools.

She mentioned that she was going to run the "uniform idea" by the students at the next meeting to get a sense of their opinion about the proposal. I can guess what their response is going to be. When you reach that age you don't want anyone to tell you what to do about anything. On this matter, Dr. Latham would be playing to the wrong crowd.

On closer inspection, the most important fact is that there actually is a meeting. This actually makes the students feel like they have a voice in how the school system is run and it gives Dr. Latham a chance to have a sounding board for how her policies will be received.

I don't know if Dr. Latham originated this idea or not. It is a good idea and she at least deserves credit for continuing them.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Standards For Standard Uniforms

There is no doubt that school uniforms is a volatile subject and convincing arguments can be made on both sides of the discussion. Some  research gives a school uniform policy credit for lessening behavioral problems, particularly in elementary school settings. A loud outcry can be heard from the"freedom of expression" camp.

It has been a few days since the LSC meeting and I do have a hard time reading my notes(you think I type bad, you ought to check out my penmanship). As best as I can recollect, attorney Mihos laid out the following criteria for a successful and legal :uniform policy:

                          1). must be VOLUNTARY
                          2). need some kind of subsidy to defray costs
                          3). ability to OPT-OUT
                          4). need parental involvement/support

I've stated my position. Let the debate begin! better make that, continue.

By the way, Lawrence does it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dress For Sucess

You probably guessed right, this posting is about uniforms. Now that all the recent chatter has died down about uniforms has died down I'll make some comments that hopefully won't be snowed over by an avalanche of emotion. Besides I had my own snow I was shoveling when all the rhetoric was flying.

Education is serious business. It is our kids jobs. Their wages are just paid at a later date. The amount of those wages is dependant on how well they do their job. We associate the worth of their job with the kind of clothes they wear. Lawyers wear suits, doctors wear lab coats, and UPS drivers wear brown.

It is only natural that our kids distinct attire for school. If we want our kids to take education seriously then we must take it seriously. Uniforms would help build a cohesiveness and establish the fact that we are all in this together. Football teams all wear the same jersey.

The concerns about self-expression and individuality are not truly legitimate. Our creativity would be better served if it was channeled into academic pursuits. Individuality should be measured by our achievements.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

True Inclusion

Some times we do something by doing nothing special. By just being friendly, we act more human. A more healthy environment is created whereby everybody benefits. Anyone who is different is scary, not just for our kids, but adults to show their uneasiness. If we concentrate instead on how much more we are alike then we can more easily move forward instead wasting time on the negativity of our differences.

True Inclusion

Dance The Day Away!

There is a slow movement afoot (pardon the pun but it is what I like to do) to incorporate dance into :meat and potatos' academics.

Students in a second grade class in Fort Garrison, IN used interpretative dance to illustrate the photosynthesis process. Putting on such a production stimulates the mind to develop both creativity and critical thinking, An added benefit that dance offers is it is a way to sneak a little physical activity into the curriculum.

Here is a wonderful article about ways different school systems are incorporating this most physical form of art into the classroom:

tp://    (you will have to cut and paste to your browser)

This I what I call Crea-ducation! Hey, I coined a new word, I think. Anyway I've never heard it before so until somebody tells me different, it is MY word!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

If Ever I Saw Your Face

I am jealous. Maybe I'm spending too much time in the library.  I'm home today so I got to spend a little more time on the computer. Mary Ellen responded to my blog posting about blogs and kid alerting me to one posted by Lynn Woods School at http://

They have pictures. I mean it doesn't appear to be written by the kids but it is a great way to keep everyone informed about the going's on and a great way to build the kids self esteem. Did I mention it is FREE.

You Have The Right To Remain Unsilent

Wow! I just found out some good stuff. There is a website loaded with information for kids with special needs. With all the laws and regulations it's hard to know all of your rights and just what you are entitled to.

The Special Needs Advocacy Network,, provides info on all the pertinent laws and rights applicable to students in this population. No matter what your political perspective, a little education can be liberating.

Make A New Plan, Stan (OK, It's Not Mine But It Rhymes)

According to a recent article I read, as many as 50% of teachers leave the field within five years. Teachers in urban areas often survive for as little as eighteen months. Unbelievable!

What a waste of money, much of it federal, on educating prospective teachers. We NEED teachers but we NEED a better plan. Sec. of Education, Arnie Duncan has a new plan that is setup akin to the way medical doctors learn their skills.

Honestly I don't know the particulars of this plan so I can't say I wholeheartedly support it. However what I can say is that I like the idea of elevating the amount of seriousness we place on this position. Education can provide the answer to all our problems and it is about time we give it it's due.

Blogs Are For Kids, (But I Like Them Too)

Blogging is not just for educationally frustrated old men any more. There are programs out there where kids write about their everyday educational experiences with thier classroom assignments. This helps complete the learning circuit in a child's mind. It is one thing to learn a bunch of facts and it is another to put them to use. It is the completion of a process.

The fact that everyone in the world can potentially read something you wrote can be and energize lesson plans. This is "HOW" the Internet could and should work for us. For moexhilarating re information, read this article:

Monday, December 20, 2010

Someone Answer The Call

One of my readers tested the police tip line with a question. Guess this means they want us to police our own problems unless it is an immediate crisis. I wonder who said that before. We need to step up to the plate and develop our own school text line.

Hi - some are wondering if this tip line can be (or is being used) to be proactive with school and bully issues. Are you promoting this tip line at the schools?

The tip line can be used to assist with any issue. However, if there are issues in schools, it would probably be best to immediately bring the problem to the attention of a school administrator, or to contact the police directly

From My Bully Pulpit

A reader of LSW informed me that Lynn Police already has a tip line for text and I assume pics at tip411 or 847411 Tips can also be left on the police website.. This is great news. 

However, we should expand this program and promote it big in the schools targeted specifically at "bullying". I would guess that the current "tip" line is geared toward "run of the mill" crimes and does not highlight any particular crime. Their job is to insure our overall safety.

The school has been given the mandate to protect our students from bullying and other school related crimes. I would guess the police dept. would be all to happy to cooperate but somebody needs to make the overture.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

How Do You Say Bully In Text Speak?

Brockton has a tip line that is text enabled to give students a greater since of anonymity. Officials figure if they get information sooner they are  able to take more proactive action and maybe even prevent some bullying even before it develops.

he text line can yield even greater dividends because people can report other bad behavior monitored on Facebook, You-tube, and other social media. Incidents of vandalism can be more easily reported as well.

Learning about this program begs the question, :Why aren't we doing something like this?". We live in a new world and technology can be our friend. This makes sense to me because it could get many more people involved in the solution instead of spending lots of money identifying the problem. A problem that we already knew about.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Teachers Needed For Arnie's Army

Everybody says our classes are to have top notch education system. Everybody but the Secretary of Education, Arnie Duncan, that is. He was recently speaking to the American Enterprise Institute about the realities of modern education in light of falling revenues and the need to change our perspectives.

A big drain on most school budgets is transportation cost. He hopes that administrators will rethink bus routes and closing down under enrolled schools instead of cutting direct services to students. He points out that while everybody is claiming to be so concerned with class size,US classes are actually smaller than many other countries, countries who's students are outscoring ours. The average class size in the US is 25 while in Japan and South Korea the average class size is in the mid-thirties.

Duncan feels it would be better to have an excellent teacher teaching a larger class than an "average" teacher in a class of 22. He thinks we ought to look at larger salaries say $80,000 to $120,000 for top-notch teachers. This approach would reward excellence and would make the most of dwindling resources.

Wow, what an "American" concept.

Friday, December 17, 2010

That's The Spirit, Rick!

LSC member Rick Starbard, his wife who works at Sisson Elementary School and daughter Jessica donated and hosted an ice cream party for the class that donated the most toys to Toy's for Tot's.

The school collected over 450 toys that were loaded up on a firetruck and transported to the Marines where they will be distributed through their Toys for Tots campaign. Rick's wife did all the accounting for the contest displaying everyone's progress on a big chart. Rick's daughter Jessica, on her break from college, ran from room to room serving up the sundaes ordered from Treadwells.

The winning class brought in over 50 toys and one class only had 13 students but they brought over 30 toys so they were awarded sundaes as well. What was Rick doing all of these festivities? Aside from eating, you mean. He got to read the journals of these wonderful students who learned a valuable lesson about our responsibility to help those less fortunate than us.

Sadly no one from the Item, TV, or radio station was there to capture this outpouring of generosity. But you heard it here.

"Education Through Inspiration"

Since I am also Secretary for the Highlands  Coalition, Inc., I had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting where I had the pleasure of being introduced to Kimberly K. Smith who is the Executive Director of "Students 4 Students". Her company hopes to turn artistic expression into a better appreciation of one's self and their community.

Students for Students will furnish not only the instructors but the materials as well. What a positive development for the kids in Lynn. The program will start out in the Highlands and build on that success to branch out in other schools and neighborhoods.

You can go to their website to learn more info about this organization. I know I am excited to learn more.                       

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Unarmed For Battle?

What's up with all the violence in school now? There is plenty of rhetoric about bullying but what is actually happening? We have established a policy, there are procedures to follow and lots of documentation to follow to show us what we already know. It's a power play and somebody is going to be on the losing end. I think the current terminology for that person is "target".

Unfortunately we place our teachers and other school personnel in the middle with a big bulls eye on their back. Unfortunately that's there job. But we can and must do something about it. There are physical and verbal techniques for deescalating every situation. Everyone that has student contact needs to be trained in these techniques, not just a few coordinators and the like if we hope to establish security and stability throughout our school system. And the system has to back them up with training in both preventative measures and passive restraint.

Maybe this is already happening and I don't know. I am only a parent who volunteers in the library in our community elementary school. If anyone has different information, please tell me and ease my concern.

Crying History

It is painfully true that my bank account is learning what the meaning of volunteer is. However I have been reimbursed in other intangible, priceless ways. The joy of watching his new found treasure discovered tucked away on some dusty library shelf then there is the thrill of mining for gold, information plucked from some old book hid on the reference shelves.

That was the case this morning. After taking a break from checking in some books a class just returned, I was browsing through the pages of an old history book.. It was probably no accident. The time was right.

The book was "History Stories of Lynn", a book re-written  in 1979, fifty years after the first copy was written. There was a hope expressed that it would be re-written again in 2029. The realization that history matters were prevalent throughout the book.

Heck I found out an interesting fact personal to me. My first ever job in the summer after my sophomore year in high school back in WV was moving Hills Dept. store into an old vacant Grants Dept. building. The Grant Dept. store chain used to be a national chain that opened its first store in Lynn. Small world.

The book was financed by the LSC and prominent politicians of the day were given proper credit. Someone else was given credit in the introduction. That was Miss Patricia Bucko who spent hours typing the manuscript for the then Deputy Superintendent of Elementary Education,, Mr. George Laubner.

I would guess that was the same Ms. Bucko that Dr. Latham shed tears over the fact of her retirement. Maybe Dr. Latham's tears would have been better spent crying over what Ms. Bucko demonstrated that she learned long ago. History matters.

History tells us who we were, shows us who we are, and who we hope to become. A strong sense of self helps insulate us from external threats to our person. Threats like the ones from bullies who take advantage of our low self-esteem that comes from the lack of education about how special we are. That is worth a sincere river of tears.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Let's Keep Our Kids Home(home school, that is)!

A hot topic up for discussion at last Thur. LSC meeting was the placement of behavior classes throughout Lynn Public Schools. Addressing the topic was Ms. Muggeo. I didn't get  to take down her exact title as you now I am a slow writer. No worries, I'll just look to the pre-printed agenda to copy it. Wait, it's not there either.

In fact I have been going to all the LSC meetings lately and I've never heard her name mentioned. I worked extensively with Dr. Latham and Jessica McLaughlin last spring to put together an IEP for my son and her name never came up.

Someone told me that she is a long term employee of the Lynn Public School system, I don't know I didn't call payroll or personnel whoever handles that end of the administration. It seems to me she kind of shot to the top real quick-like. By sudden I don't mean years of service, I'm sure she has the credentials to do whatever she does.

I think she must have got a promotion in-house to be where she is at right now. I am sure it didn't have to be a public one, but an introduction would have been nice. It's never too late but you know what they say, "You only get one chance to make a first impression".

Anyway she said there were 38 to 40 behavior classes in Lynn. Why the range? Doesn't she know exactly how many students we provide service to? She did say that placement in the student's neighborhood school was challenging. I bet that's especially true if you don't know exactly how many classrooms you have.

They try not to move the kids out of their district middle school that way they can maintain some sense of stability. They are usually successful in that regard but in the meantime we are incurring the expense of busing the youngest students to some distant location.

Speaking from personal experience, I can testify about the wisdom of placing  special needs student in his neighborhood school. My son spent five years being bused to Shoemaker and was in a COACH class, spending some time in inclusion. He reached a plateau after two and a half years an then backslide. After one year at his neighborhood school at Ford, he now goes to Pickering where he has all day inclusion and made the Honor Roll. Community is therapy with results.

Marshall Madness

What's going on at Marshall? Remember all the fights I reported hearing about during the first couple weeks of school? I heard a solution they found to that problem was to post male teachers outside at the street corners leading up to the school to help keep order. Did we hire teachers or do we need to employ bouncers?

Then there was Monday when a student was apparently allowed to leave the building seeking protection from bullies, apparently  not satisfied with the help provided there. It's ironic that the man that school is named after was a champion of civil rights can't even protect the most basic rights of their students.

I may be wrong. I often am, so I'm counting on you out there to correct me in on the areas of misinformation. You all are my biggest sources.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bully's Beware?

What's up with bullying?  I listened to Dennis Thompson present Lynn's new bullying policy to sent to the state for final approval. This was after the policy was put on display on the city's website and comments were solicited. In fact we were told Lynn's policy had received praise from the Attorney General's office I think. It may have been somebody else, cause I write slow and I do make mistakes.

Sounds impressive and after all this is a serious area of concern. Remember the suicide, Facebook, and bullying?

Then I hear troubling things that concern me as a parent of a child who goes to Marshall Middle School. First my daughter tells me of incidents of name calling and harassment she has faced. Hopefully I helped her insulate herself from ll the negativity, And  we let her know that she cannot have a Facebook account until she's older.

Facebook is also involved in another troubling story I'm hearing about bullying and Marshall. Right up front let me say, I haven't heard from every side so I don' know what the truth is. I just have a lot of questions, if anybody out there has answers, please help me out.

I heard of an individual who ran out of Marshall yesterday during class time to get away from repeated instances of bullying and ran to Ford school where she felt comfortable with the teachers and staff. The individual gave testimony, the truant officer was called, and reports were filed.

I got to wonder though, "How did we get to this point?" What did they do at Marshall when this student left the building? I've had to go through hoops to sign my daughter out to take my daughter out for a doctor's appointment that very same day yet this student escapes right out from under the nose of the administration. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Who is in charge? Do we have to have another suicide of a student before someone listens?

TV Blackout At Pickering May Be Lifted Soon Thanks To Mediaseth

The blackout at Pickering Middle School may soon be lifted thanks to the gracious offer of help from one of he readers of Lynn School Watch. Mediaseth from "Lynnhappens" offered to volunteer his assistance to try and solve the problems at Pickering.

I talked to vice-principal, Mr. Ritterhouse to relay Seth's generous offer. Mr. Ritterhouse welcomed the information and said he was going to pass the info to the advisers who are running PTV and have them call Seth directly.

Just so you know Seth, you have some name recognition out there because when I mentioned Lynnhappens he knew  said"Oh, I'll just have them call Seth direct".

Students Get A Handel On Music And History

What a treat! I was lucky enough to be able to get from out from behind my library desk to attend a special assembly at Ford School.

The elementary students were not only exposed to a classic and different type of music, the oratorio, but were given a history lesson as well as one in music appreciation. All of this was carried off with a healthy dose of comedy. You know what they say, "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down".

The Handel and Haydn Society sent four of its members along with a piano player to give the young  students a priceless performance, entertaining them for about forty-five minutes. One of the quartet dressed in a long gray wig and talked with a German accent transported here from the past to add a little creativity to Handel's "Messiah".

The "H & H Society" has been in Boston for over 150 years and I am thrilled to find out our students got to witness them and to be apart of their history. They will be performing their annual Christmas oratorio at the Boston Music Hall on Sunday Dec. 30.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Television Blackout At Pickering

Confidential sources (I am confident my son told me) relayed to me there is a television blackout at Pickering Middle School. The award winning television company, PTV, suspended broadcasting until after the first of the year due to an audio problem.

The students will be forced to resort to more archaic forms of communication like whispering in the halls. The video component of their current communication will be limited to what the students see through their own eyes. They can use glasses if they have a prescription.

Okay I made up the thing about the award but they do deserve credit for having a video broadcast throughout the school. What a great way to build positive self esteem and become comfortable with modern technology.

John Ford Fails To Score Goal For Lynn Youth Soccer

Mr. Ford clearly seemed disappointed when the rest of the LSC didn't quickly approve the free use of Breed Middle School gym for Lynn Youth Soccer's winter season. In the past a gentlemen's agreement between the two organizations had been sufficent for doing busines. LYS took care of the upkeep of Hood field during the spring, summer, and fall then got the use of Breed's gym for their winter season.

As a parent of two 12 year olds I can tell you that soccer is the cheapest of all the extracurricular activities. Legal ones that is. Anything that harms LYS, harms a lot of our youth.

However with the new rental fee schedule coming into play, it appears that agreement no longer applies. A few of the members of the LSC brought up the discussion and vote about the rental fees at the last meeting. Kevin McHugh added that he is getting all of these bills from the Department of Public Works.

Anyway the mood of the LSC wasn't to charitable. The best deal that Mr. Ford could salvage was allow LYS the use of the building for "free" but that LYS would be responsible for custodial fees. Hmmm, I wonder if LYS is going to start charging landscaping fees. Like I always say, "Are you prepared to live with the consequences of your decision?".

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Call For Help

We were visiting my step daughter this weekend. All of us took a walk to Walgreen's. As our grandson was riding his tricycle through the parking lot at Drewicz School. My wife couldn't help but notice the seemingly abandoned building right in the front yard that I told her used to be the library when Trippy attended there in pre-K.

I say abandoned because there was at least one boarded up window and a couple broken ones. Have I talked yet about the elimination of the librarians. Anyway she was all excited and thought that would be an excellent for kids. She even talked about volunteering and has all these ideas

I told her that I would try and find out what's going or not going on. So I would appreciate any information that anyone has. Maybe it will help get me out of the perpetual doghouse I'm in.

Also, I was thinking if the "Race to The Top" money can't be used for salaries, why couldn't it be used to provide resources to our libraries, all of them - staffed, unstaffed, and the ones staffed by volunteers.

Four million dollars, even a small part of that could buy a lot of books.

Good Learning Is Like Good Poetry

Let me start off by reminding everybody that I never had an education class in my life, in fact I have only had two literature classes, 19th century English poetry and "Bilddungsroman or Novels of Development". My classes were mostly in the sciences with a healthy dose of philosophy added in.

I have read a lot lately and I have lived a lot, starting all my life. From one of my psychology classes I have learned the more areas in your brain you get involved in the learning process, the stronger the memory. Each one of the senses correspond to a different part of the brain. The stronger the memory, the more readily it is to be recalled. That is what makes effective learning.

The same thing can be said about good poetry. It excites your senses. Coleridge is my favorite poet, but Blake is right up there. A good poet paints with words. Life is the canvas.

Our libraries are our galleries of knowledge. In the Lynn Public School system most of our libraries are closed in the schools lucky enough to have them. What does that say about us?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Presents For Our Future

Mayor Kennedy arrived a little over half an hour late for the LSC  meeting Thur. night but her tardiness was forgivable. She was at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. After all we want to tick off Santa Claus. Maybe he will put something under the tree for Lynn schools.

The only question is "Has everybody in the Lynn School Department been good little boys and girls?". I am not going to answer, you can fill in the blanks. It could be coal for Christmas. That wouldn't be all bad. I mean, we could use it to help defray the heating costs.

I'm hoping that the report documenting how the "Race To The Top" money will be spent. Dr. Latham promised it would be available.  We were forewarned that specifically none of the grant money could be used for salaries, that it is to be used for educational infrastructure, professional developmental, and other areas that will yield long term benefits. I am anxious to see some accountability. All I know is that I told both the superintendent and the deputy superintendent in a meeting I had with them early this year that I was no math expert but I know you can shape the numbers to get them to say what you want. Dr. Wary told my wife and me, "That is true, but we never do that".

What was missed by the mayor was a moving performance by four Lynn high school students who gave a beautiful rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. I would have liked to give them personal credit but I write slow. Can you imagine the errors I would have made spelling, I mean typing, their names.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Maybe If We Close Our Eyes It'll Go Away

Tears were shed at last night's LSC meeting by the superintendent of schools. Over what? The state of the schools, it did seem like there were quite a few new employees for being a third of the way through the school year. Maybe this is normal, I'm new to the hiring practices of the Lynn School Department.

No, it was because her confidential secretary was retiring after 51 years of service. They weren't all under Dr. Latham, Mrs. Bucko(the retiring employee) has served under several past superintendents. Her past experience had proven invaluable. She must know where all the bodies are buried.

Not only were no tears shed for Coach K, he wasn't even mentioned in all the personnel moves. In fact, no "firings" were mentioned. Maybe not mentioning firings is a policy matter. No wait a minute, two terminations were listed in last month's agenda.

I would guess that since Coach K was a "probationary employee", thus at-will, if Dr. Latham consulted he probably have rendered an opinion that she was not required to have a reason. Just do it, just like in the shoe commercial and Lynn does have a lot of history with shoes.

Shoes are relevant to this story because the rights to the top notch education this man could have provided to his students were trampled on. I don't know if I said this before or not but Coach K taught in Compton before for goodness sakes.

Maybe the school department doesn't have the legal responsibility to disclose their reasons but they have a moral responsibility to inform the parents why they are denying our students the opportunity to benefit from Coach K's vast experience. Our children's education is too important to play all of these "cloak and dagger"games. A dagger that was put into the back of Coach K and into the hearts of our students.

I fully expected to be interviewed or to a least have a conversation with the "Item's" reporter last night.After all when she called me earlier in the week, she said she'd speak to me on Thur. night. Not only did she not approach me, but after I introduced myself to her handing her a flyer for my blog she blew me off. I was one of the last ones to leave the building so the opportunity was there for her to meet up with me.

What's up with this? Hello, my blog had over 2000 hits last month. I am not a "true" journalist but I have something to say and apparently some people are listening This slight calls into question the "Item's" objectivity. When I was first called, the reporter seemed all "hot and bothered" about the story. Appeared to me, her temperature index had cooled.  Maybe it is up to me to find answers.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Get Involved But How?

"Parents in Lynn don't want to get involved with their children's education" That seems to be a common mantra. Guess what? I have had over 2000 hits in the past month. No, it's not a typo.  And it's not just my mother clicking on my blog. Seems to me parents do want to get involved. All they want is information.

The question is then do the current powers that be actually want parents to be involved? Let's look at some facts. The Parent Information Center has spawned numerous stories of misinformation and outright hostility. I can speak from personal experience about the lack of respect to parents shown by that office.

Now let's talk about the Parent's Advisory Council. What do they do and who are they? Last year when I was trying to work out a plan for my son, Mayor Kennedy hooked me up with David Ellis, a former city councilman who supposedly heads up the PAC. There was talk of strategies and lawsuits and rights that my son was entitled to. After a lot of uplifting talk, I even provided him with the special ed. records of my daughter, he promised to work to get her services too..

That was the last I heard from him. He had even promised to put me on a couple of committees. He should have my phone number and e mail address, we have exchanged both. He could have lost them both but I have been all over the web lately and my phone is still silent and my e mailbox empty.

Before parents can get involved you have to let them.

What I Like About Charter Schools

I actually wrote this over a week ago but with all the chaos over Coach K I was too busy to  get it out there. Now I just want to clear the deck before the meeting tonight. It should be interesting,

Wait a minute. I have not gone over to the dark side. My major and  unyielding objection to charter schools is the funding mechanism. Using public money to benefit a few already wealthy business men while promoting the illusion that a few economically disadvantaged people would be able to receive a "prestigious" education.

But.....Let's give the devil their due. Illusion or not, you have to respect the seriousness that is brought to the education process. Education is important. It liberates us and provides a path out of poverty, both financial and social. The self-discipline learned will stay with the student a lifetime.

That is enough to almost convince me to jump sides. Almost, I said. The same opportunity for creative solutions to educational approaches exists in the public sector. As I understand them and I'm no expert in these matters, but I think that two possible solutions exist in the public sector, Horace Mann charter schools and Innovation schools.

Revere secured the first "Innovation" school in the state, The principal of that school was Ms. Barbara Kelley, one year removed from a vice-principal position at Ford School. Interesting.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Cost Of Giving The Business

Back to some serious stuff. This morning was a lot calmer in Coach K's class. The kids weren't running around as much. But there were a couple of occasions they were racing through my library(it's not really mine but you know the deal).

Looks like a new teacher was hired and I'm sure some sense of stability helped. At what price? There is still 4 or 5 adults to 8 students(today less than that I think). Is there a plan? I don't really know anything but what I see.

Maybe whoever made the rash, irrational decision to fire Coach K was counting on the assistance from the magic of Harry Potter who's image is painted on the wall in the library. Is that person ready to take the fiscal responsibility for the additional personnel that decision necessitated? The money is the least part of the cost. Still, it's a part

Tis The Season

I want to take a break for a minute from all the recent controversy and remind everybody I am just a parent. My son is performing in the Christmas concert at Pickering Middle School tonight. To have come from where he has been and all he has been through, this is quite an accomplishment.

I don't think I can type any more. My chest is swelling up so much I can't see the keyboard.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It Doesn't Make Cents

Things seemed to calm down a lot in Coach K's old class today. I guess they ought to, there were 5 adults to 8 kids. At least one of the adults was a Behavioral Specialist. It seems like a big expenditure.

Coach K handled that same class with only one aide Both people who served as his regular aide this year were disabled as well. Between them and me, we looked like the walking wounded up there. At least it didn't cost the school department as much money as this fiasco has.

Don't Shoot Me, I'm Just The Librarian!

There is a lot of activity over Coach K's firing. Last night I got phone calls about his termination from the "Item" and Lynn City Councilman Pete Capano.

Both asked the same question, "Why was Coach K" fired. I gave them the same answer, "I don't know, I'm just the VOLUNTEER librarian.

Monday, December 6, 2010

And Justice For All?

I'm getting feedback from the "Item" on my letter about Coach K's firing, promise of an investigation. We will see.

NSCC Leadership Iniative

I'm not all about controversy, but it is more fun. Both of my kids got part of their stipend from the student leadership program at North Shore Community College. They were excited.

My daughter  told me she came up with the name  for the group. It is SLAP - Student Leadership Ambassador Program. Well I guess creativity is hereditary - I get mind from her.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Showdown At The Ford Corral

It was a little past two on a blustery fall day. Barricaded in the principals office was myself, Dr. Crane, David Gass, and LSC member Maria Carrasco. At any minute moving trucks from the school department were possibly arriving at any minute.

At stake was the dismantling of the NASA DSL link and the dismantling of the Highland Coalition aquaponics lab. I can't speak for the others but I was prepared to go to jail in order to stop the destruction. Admittedly my motives were not all altruistic, I mean I haven't worked since March and jail does offer three squares.

We had been in communication with the mayor and she was supposed to be on the way but our nerves were on edge, wondering if she would be on time to provide us with the reinforcements we needed (okay, I'm being a bit dramatic but it makes a good story). Luckily he did arrive in time, back straight from Salem and the Big Box wars. She gave us the news that she had been contact with Dr. Wary, who was in charge of the move and ordered her to halt the move, at least to fully study the move and all its implications and look at other options. The mayor wanted to sit down and discuss this like adults. What a new and novel concept, school officials not acting like children.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed about not being able to go to jail. I mean my court experience has mostly been in front of a probate judge. A criminal trial could have opened up a whole new life for me. I mean, I'm ready for jail. I have a tattoo and everything. My cane would have been perfect for strumming across the bars to make noise.

Oh well, maybe I'll try jaywalking.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Political Persuasions

Because of my strong convictions about what I feel was an unjust and personal attack on a friend who was victimized by what I feel was a personal and political attack. Below is a variation of the letter I am sending  to the governor and various political and educational officials who's e mail addresses I can find.

To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this letter to express my outrage that the Special Education teacher, Mr. Karonis was fired from Ford Elementary school undue cause without any concern for the emotional or psychological welfare of the students, not to mention their potential for academic progress.

Since the beginning of the school year I have been serving as the school’s volunteer librarian adjacent to his classroom. During that time I have witnessed a remarkable transformation in the overall behavioral complacency. Teacher - student bonds developed that are impossible to recreate in a timely manner, especially considering this disruption occurred during the holiday season.

“Coach K” as he was respectively and affectionately referred to by his students, co-workers, and me, will be sorely missed and will be nearly impossible to replace with someone of equal caliber. His experience gives him incredible credentials.

My varied experiences have allowed me to have an informed opinion about the educational injustice that occurred. In the past I have taught and served in various roles at an adolescent treatment center for seven years  Elkins Mountain School in Elkins, WV. Also, I worked for fifteen years for the Department of Developmental Services with mentally retarded adults with behavioral issues. However, what substantiates and qualifies my opinion most is that I am the father of a twelve year-old special needs student who was a student last year at Ford School. He has had a very successful year this year transitioning into Pickering Middle School.

Because of my deep convictions I not only wanted to speak up for “Coach K” and offer my testimony to any more specific questions you may have. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to call me. Thank you.

Stanley H. Wotring, Jr.

Now I have a question that maybe someone out there with good math skills could answer the equation: the power of the pen plus the Internet equals what?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Rats Are Back And They Are In Charge!

I learned today that my next door neighbor to the library was terminated. I am in shock. As soon as that wears off I am sure I will be outraged. I have been outraged before but this takes it to a new level.

This is a travesty, a direct blow to the most needy of our students. What could be the reason? I intend to find out. Could it have been because he was not on board with the proposed addition of additional non-neighborhood kids to a proposed expanded class?

I am sure that couldn't have been it. He is an experienced teacher who has often implemented policies that he felt was not in the best interest of the students. Any group of behavior kids are difficult to handle. I know this because I previously taught and worked with this population in a residential facility. But no one knows this better than Coach K. He has taught in Compton in California during the race riots so he was definitely up to the task.

Again from behind my desk in the library at Ford, I have witnessed first-hand the positive evolution of his class of displaced behavioral students. The school administration ought to be studying his class in hopes of emulating it not removing him thus stripping these students the opportunity to transforming into productive citizens.

Shame on you Dr. Latham. I urge everyone who reads this blog to call her, all the school committee members, and the mayor to ask how this latest blow to the Lynn School System could have happened. I am not done writing but I am done for now.

Normally I would be worried about being fired for taking such an outright stand but I don't work for anybody, I just work for what is right and just.

Are Only Our Boards Smart?

Siting from behind my library desk, I have observed yet another problem. Considering we tout the purchase of all these "smart boards" as the next great white hope (excuse me, the boards are white and I thought it kind of ironic to poke fun at the outdated, irrational thinking behind their use). Instead our teachers are enslaved, chained to an overzealous security filter that prevents them from going on the most of the educational websites designed to enliven the educational experience.

I fully understand the need for security when it comes to all of the confidential matter that our school system deals with. I am technologically inept but it seems to me this problem could be solved by using two separate accounts, one for all of the confidential data and one for use in the classroom, each having different security thresholds. Another possibility would be to develop a list of allowable,secure websites that the teachers could use.

Hopefully, I am complaining about nothing and the answers to my concerns have already been addressed. But you know what? The fact that I even have them tells me that at least, the teachers are under trained and some of the educational benefits from that vaunted stimulus money is undermined.

If the questions I am raising make anybody feel uncomfortable then maybe if the real librarians had been funded, I wouldn't have been there to observe these obvious problems. Where would we be? Somebody has to be held accountable.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Unreasonable Accomodations

Sitting behind my desk at the library, I am outraged by what appears to be unlawful placement of two disabled paraprofessionals in a behavior class since the beginning of the school year. As I have said before, I am not a lawyer but I have been disabled myself for 29+ years so I know a thing or two about some of the issues surrounding the disabled worker.

I don't believe the "union contract" will give the Lynn School Department cover when the Department of Justice comes calling. Again I don't believe the legal language says "reasonable accommodation as long as the union allows it". A person's civil rights can not  bargained away.

I don't know what the answer is, if I did they would pay me more. Wait, they don't pay me at all. Working for a few years with populations with behavior problems, I know the potential to get hurt is always there. Starting with disabilities already makes the occurrence of more injuries all the more likely for either the paraprofessional or the student in their charge.

If that happens, the injuries could be severe, attorney Mihos may need reinforcements, and the school department will learn what a real budget crisis looks like.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Coming Home

What is behind the increase in behavior students? Is there an increase? I only see what I can from my vantage point in the Ford library. There is all this commotion with this game of musical chairs(really classrooms) and it looks like the NASA program may not have a place to call home.That would be tragic. Science is our future.

For some reason. it seems that Ford has become the place where other schools are placing their behavior students. Most of the kids in Ford's behavior class are coming from other schools. While I believe Coach K is an exceptional teacher, I strongly believe students do much better in their neighborhood school. I base this opinion on my own personal experience as the parent of a special needs child.

My son was in a .4, behavior class at Shoemaker for about 5 years. His tenure there culminated with the fact that they could not take him safely on a field trip to the Science Museum. In his one year at Ford in a Honors class he was able to go on a 3 day field trip to Washington, DC. Of course, there were bumps at first to his initial placement there but I view those as kind of a decompression in the readjustment to his neighborhood school.

Keeping a student has the added benefits of not having the costs for transportation, a network of familiar friends(this is especially difficult for kids with spectrum disorders), and a known environment. A person's own community is just an extension of the family. Nobody takes care of family like family.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

For Good Measure?

I just have a question, Why is it that education is getting increasingly more complicated in America and our ranking against other countries keeps falling? We seem to be bent on measuring everything and we are getting tangled up in statistics.

Numbers are like the trees blocking our view of the educational landscape. Learning is more than just collecting data. Creativity applied to knowledge yields an education that does not get tangled up in itself and one that evolves into a more progressive intelligence.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Your Move

Growing in the endangered NASA dedicated classroom is the hydroponics experiment being conducted jointly with the students from the Ford School and the Highlands Coalition, Inc. The unique setup is constructed with PVC pipe and fertilized with the waste products from a fish tank. I don't know all the particulars but I do know there is a patent attorney involved. No matter what, this is a  very positive thing for the community and the students.

The significance of the experiments location is this. When the next hookup with NSA through the DLN occurs, they will be able to see the results of this collaboration between the students and community. This experiment is highly relevant to the work being carried out at the International Space Station. If the DLN was successfully move to the library, my library, the experiment would have to find an alternate home once the NASA room is converted to  regular classroom.

I don't see them following the DLN hookup. Aside from the fact there would be some space issues there, books just don't have an affinity for water. So that would mean choosing between what could be an up and coming international"growth" (I love playing with words)  industry and the ability to place say "five" more behavior students from another neighborhood. Guess which one I would choose? I wonder what logic the school administration uses for their"s?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

History Lessons

Went to the Lynn English-West Lynn game this morning. It was cold. English won 22-12. A Classical graduate from 1975 was wearing a jacket from the class of 1975 screaming "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play". Two old classmates renewed their friendship once again like they have every year since they graduated twenty years ago

This rivalry has been going on for 99 years.  It represents a tradition and proof that all learning doesn't occur in the classroom and can't be measured on any standardized test. We learn most about life from living it and experiencing the relationships that develop between people and things through history. They don't have a category for these things on the MCAS. It just proves there is a difference between education and learning.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It's A Numbers Game

It has been fun poking fun at Marshall's mistakes in claiming my son has been attending this past grading period but it does beg more serious questions. Data? What kind of arithmetical manipulations could have been performed to help shape their numbers? I mean he has decent MCAS scores, is biracial, and has an IEP. I am not accusing anyone of anything but I do wonder if his presence on their attendance rolls could have skewed whatever numbers.

Hopefully this is an isolated case but I am just wondering.

NASA May Be Grounded

With all that is going wrong with Lynn Public Schools, why are going to take a chance on something that is going right? The Ford School's relationship has earned it national attention, being only one of 49 schools across the nation to earn that affiliation.

However, the school department is willing to risk that in order to expand a behavior classroom for the possibility of adding additional behavior students from other schools to this class at Ford School. I am no saying it is but the fact is that this shuffling of students would help the overall MCAS scores of the schools these kids come from.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can I Get A Refund On My Tickets?

Being from WV, tonight's proposed meting with the mayor had me remembering one of the anthems from the syndicated show "Hee Haw", "Where Oh Where Are You Tonight? Why Did You Leave Me Here All Alone?".

If you hadn't guessed, the mayor was a no show. I never got the memo or in this case e mail that she wasn't coming. I do live next door to Ford where the meeting was so it wasn't as inconvenient as it could have been.

The reason given was that Mayor Kennedy wanted to wait until Monday to  tour Ford to observe the behavior class that is he focus of the school administration's focus. On the face, this is a valid reason and may even reflect a deep sincerity and desire to do the right thing. Let us hope so, but the fact remains she wasn't there.

The Awards Just Keep On Coming!

My son just keeps racking up awards. I told you how he was acknowledged for having perfect attendance at Marshall  over the loudspeaker. Quite a feat since he attends Pickering and never has even wen through the doors at Marshall,

My daughter relayed that fact to Dr. Cowdell that same day. Today my daughter came home with my son's perfect attendance certificate from Marshall signed by that same Dr. Cowdell. I am so proud.

Education By The Numbers

Sitting from behind my desk in the library, I have seen a mini-parade of LSC committee members (Vinnie Spirito, Maria Carrasco, and the latest, Rick Starbard). It is hard for me to believe but they didn't come to see me.

You see next to me in the library is a behavior class. Not at first would seem an ideal placement for that particular class. However, it has worked. In fact, it has been a good place especially considering the cramped quarters of the classroom. The teacher, Coach K. has masterfully used the library as a reward for good behavior and for an occasional change of environment that is so effective when dealing with that population.

Now enter the infinite wisdom of the scholars in the ivory tower also known as the administration building, they want to play a little shell game so they can potentially stuff more behavior kids from other schools into Ford. The logic of this latest attempt at micromanagement blows my mind but does not surprise me.

Because Ford has relatively higher MCAS scores it is better able to absorb the typically lower  MCAS scores that come along with these behavior students. This also has the added benefit of removing those same scores from the roster of those lower scoring schools thus inflating their overall results. Sounds like a plan to me.

As in any battle there are unintended (or so they would have us believe) victims of friendly fire. The first of these victims would be the Ford School's NASA program. In order to make room for a class is being planned to occupy the room dedicated for NASA. In that room the DLN hookup is placed along with the tables needed for practical experiments. The DLN hookup would then be placed in the library, my library, thereby putting the whole NASA affiliation in jeopardy. This affiliation is a prestigious distinction and should be trumpeted not vandalized.

There is also some class size issues at work here too. Still there is truth to the old adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". I don't have all the details, I'm just a volunteer librarian. There is a meeting tonight with the mayor. Members of the LSC, Dr. Latham, and members of the Highlands Coalition. Let's see who shows up.

Take One For The Team

I know when I was going to school I would have been very upset if someone would have told me I had to wear a uniform. This is America, land f the free and the right to bare arms.

Now as an older wiser parent (my kids might not agree on both points) I can see the logic. Especially since it's a different world now. Of course, parents always say that. Uniforms take away a lot of the economic issues where kids don't have to compete with the latest fashions. They do represent a seriousness in your approach to your education.

LSC member Maria Carrasco brought up this issue to the full committee. She put forth numerous accounts of the success of uniforms in other cities. Vinnie Spirito,, both an LSC member and former principal, testified to past successes in his schools.

Uniforms have been tried before in Lynn. LSC member Rick Starbard told of old English polo shirts hanging in his daughter's closet. There was then and there is now the issue of whether or not  LPS can mandate uniforms. Attorney Mihos thought that the school system couldn't a few years ago but was going to look into it to see if the statues had changed.

Various suggestions were offered like"everyone in a certain activity" were offered as a way to circumvent any legal restrictions. Attorney Mihos held his position that he didn't think the school department had the authority to mandate the wearing of uniforms bu he would do further research to be sure of his opinion.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bullies Beware

In response to the state's demand that our schools pay serious attention to bullying, every school system was mandated to develop a Bullying Intervention Plan. The plan will be featured on the Lynn Public School's website to allow for public comment from Nov. 19th to Dec. 7th.

A lot of the credit for developing Lynn's plan goes to Dennis Thompson. From what I have learned from attending these recent LSC meetings is that we are still feeling our way on this and we are kinda waiting to get direction from the courts.

In the meantime, document, document, document.

Park It Right Here

A casualty of the parking war was my sanity when I think how much time and effort ( = money) was put into debating this issue. The only real question was the answer to the question, "Who had the right to make the decision?".

In the recent past when Bennett St. was used as the Ford Annex. Crystal Foods leased a little portion of the parking lot which they had fenced off and used for parking. In return they paid the $1000 a year in taxes for the property taxes. Good deal for us and it saved them the hassle of finding the change to feed the meters.

Crystal Foods was bought out by Seacrest and they want to continue the arrangement. Seems like a no brainer.

No brains is the operative phrase. LSC member Donna Coppola raises her concern that since the LSC already paid $29,000 (that's right 29 with a K) for a study to determine if the Bennett St. location was a suitable place for the relocation of the school department offices and if that happened would there be adequate parking.

She was assured that there was going to be enough parking. Both Dr. Latham and Mayor Kennedy said that they had physically walked over the land. The lease was to be worded in such a way that if the LSC ever needed use of the land then the leased land would revert back to the committee. Just think, if we all could be lawyers life would be so simple.

What I want to know, "Who thought it was a good idea to spend that amount of money on such a study?" I know it is a serious move and does require some serious thought. But there are some pretty educated people running the school department who probably could have analyzed the situation and not had to rely on outside brain power to come up with what should have been a foregone conclusion.

The $29,000 could have been used to buy library books.

Do You Reap What You Sow?

With all the talk about rats and fences we have lost what is important about the gardens at Ingalls and Ford. I was looking over an Indian Proverb:
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.
Maybe if everyone reads that advice and reflects on the wisdom  inherent in it, then maybe there won't be so much animosity and hatred. I know it's probably wishful thinking but I want you to ask yourself what you are planting.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Power Of Words

As I survey the books in the library at Ford I notice what seems to be a pretty nice selection of poetry books. Shel Silverstein has probably been most popular among the students this year. He is a great author.

I can't say that I was interested in poetry when I was in elementary school. I though that stuff was just too hard to understand or outright silly. Give me biographies of sports stars. After all I was sure I was going to be a professional baseball player.

Then life got in the way of my dreams and I discovered while I was good, I just wasn't that good. Especially when you add in all of the injuries I had along the way. Some minor, some not so minor.

Later in life I discovered the purpose and power of poetry.Poetry gives one a chance to exercise language, paint a picture with words, or create a song with words.  The art of persuasion owes its lifeblood to the syntax of the syllable.

I wish that I had experienced the beauty of the written word at such a young age. That is why I fought (unsuccessfully) for the funding of the libraries with real certified librarians. My commitment to serve as a volunteer librarian is an attempt hold a flashlight to illuminate the way for our kids until the school department flips on the overhead lights by restoring funding and I can go back to being a parent.

A Classic Strategy For The Rams

I want to take a break a minute from all the rat, garden, and parking chatter to talk about something else. Something that kind of slid under the radar at the LSC meeting. That something was about the continuing of the accreditation of Classical High School by the NEASC.

Am I missing something or is this a big deal? If I understand this problem correctly, a future graduating class may receive somewhat worthless diplomas. Dr. Latham declined to go into further specifics, preferring to wait to hear more about what they are going to demand we comply with. She said she hoped they would be understanding since things are tight fiscally.

Tight, whoa! What happened to all the grant money? I know that there are strings to all that "free" money but now we are all tied up with the bonds of ignorance. Anyway, it seems to me that the strategy is to do bad so we can get more grant money.

Someone please educate me on this.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dismantling Our Future

I got notice through the Highlands Coalition that there is a movement by the school department to cripple (And I know a thing or two about being crippled - sorry that was a politically insensitive remark but it was kind of funny).

The plan as I understand would take the DLN hookup out of the special classroom and place it in the library so the NASA classes could happen in there. Wait a minute, the library is my turf. I've spent a half day in there every day so that these kids can have access to library books.

I volunteer and I am not a paid employee so I guess it's not really MY library but I do feel kind of territorial. It's not me they are trying to trespass on anyway, it is the rights of the students to have the best education available. There are only 49 NASA schools in the country and Ford is one of them. We all should be proud of this and no be putting further blemishes on our educational sanity.

Here's where the Highlands piece comes in. Also planned is some other rearrangement of' our aqua phonics lab. There are plenty of progressive and innovative things going on here. Our kid's, our planet's future is at stake here. Why should we sacrifice both for by some accounts is a personal vendetta against Ford School.

First the agreement for the Innovative School that ended up going to a former Ford school vice-principal in Revere,then the closing of the Annex and the killing of every K-8 proposal. I know I'm leaving something out but like I said I am not a school employee and I don't have the security clearance to view top secret documents.

So from the e mail I got I guess there is a meeting with the mayor and school committee people will be invited. On the invitation list were the superintendent and her deputy. I hope everybody shows this Tue. night at 6 pm. I know I'll be there with bells on. Since I am from WV, it'll probably be a cow bell.

And The Award Goes To....

I am so proud. My kids both got their report cards today, nothing less than a B+. More than that my daughter told me that both her and my son were recognized for perfect attendance at Marshall, no tardies, no absences.

My chest was about to explode when my daughter reminded me that her brother goes to Pickering and never had one hour of class at Marshall. Why does she have to be a details person?

Obviously somebody in the administration isn't. It doesn't make me to comfortable thinking these people are planning our education curriculum.

Our Waste Is Getting Better Management, There's Hope For Our Budget

Despite all the attention the rats and the garden got, there were other things discussed at the Nov. 17th meeting. Since I have been attending the meetings of the LSC I don't remember seeing a printed agenda for a (building & grounds) subcommittee meeting. I don't know whether to thank the garden people or the rat people.

In a related story, the LSC chose to go with another vendor for waste removal. Their lease with North Side was up (We had been paying month to month since it ended). If the lease had been renewed with them it would have been for a three year term.

In what seems like a no brainier, it was decided to go with Waste Management, the city's vendor. The Lynn School Department will be able to buy into the city's lease and get a $61,000 savings. I believe the credit goes to Kevin McHugh, the finance officer for this discovery.n

Hopefully with this added savings we can buy some textbooks for a certain special ed. class in a certain school.

Rats Are Still Raining Down!

Yesterday LSW got the most hits ever. Yea! I send the mayor, the superintendent, and the Secretary to the School Committee copies when I think that what I write rises to the level of what I think, as a concerned parent warrants their attention

Such was the case yesterday when my daughter discovered a dead rat on the lawn at Marshall. I got a little enjoyment poking fun at some of decisions about how to handle the rodent problem at Ingalls School's garden.  To my surprise my daughter saw the same dead rat in the same location this morning.

Am I wrong or should someone from the school should have went out in the yard and picked it up? Maybe this was another message from the anti-garden people.

A Path To Tomorrow

Taking a momentary breather from all of the depressing things that are happening in our schools, I would like to talk a little about one of the positives going on right now in the city of Lynn right now.

My kids aree ambassadors from Ford to the Public Policy Institute at North Shore Community College's Lynn Youth Leadership Initiative. Students from Marshall, English join other students from other middle and high schools as well as various community organizations like the YMCA and Girls Inc. to gain experience in civic and governance processes.

Besides gaining knowledge and experience, the participants also get a little stipend. How cool is that?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Maybe The Lights Will Keep The Rats Away

The letter to the editor in today's Item exposing the charter school funding  was very illuminating. I am glad some people are seeing the charter school financing for what it is.

A Scene From Out Of The "Godfather".

Beware the people of Lynn, we are in the middle of a mob war. Fresh off their victory at the LSC meeting last night in making the city of Lynn agree to spend money on ineffective detergents, the anti-garden gang sent a message by dumping a dead rat on Marshall's lawn..

My daughter was traumatized by this sighting. Maybe it wasn't gang related. It surely wasn't garden related. Still since the mayor has set a precedent by bowing to irrational bullies, I am going to demand that the city build a fence all around Marshall to prevent future invasions. While they are at it, they should build a fenced walkway all the way from my house to Marshall.

Sorry to waste any more time on this issue, but it is not about the rats. It's about the money. Where is it coming from and why it goes where it goes.

It's Raining Rodents!

Just a quick note this morning before I go to the library.  It seems that gardens aren't the only place rats frequent. My daughter as she was going to Marshall Middle School this morning she found a dead rat on the front lawn. I have pictures.

It seems that the garden is not the only place with a rodent problem. I'll talk later about the lease that was renewed again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Show Me The Money Before The Turkey Or Anything Else Gets Stuffed

It's almost Thanksgiving. I really want to be grateful for all the grant money that flowed into the Lynn Public Schools, just after the budget was finished. We were so blessed.

Unfortunately I have not seen where any of that money has went. Our classrooms are overcrowded, our libraries mostly remain empty, and our mayor publicly trashes the education system she heads while singing the praises of a private school that drains public funds from that same system she heads. I have always had the utmost respect for Mayor Kennedy's pragmatic sense, maybe she is just keeping her options open if this mayor thing doesn't pan out.

The LSC meeting tonight will be hectic. The Food Project people will be there in force. The anti-garden people will be there to press their point. To be fair and balanced, the gangs need to show up to give their perspective.

I hope someone who sits in front of a microphone realizes the real reason we all should be there and demands some fiscal accountability for the education of our kids.

I'll be there if anyone wants to talk.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No One Loves Me, I Think I'll Eat The Worms From The Groundbreaking

Everyone is all fired up about rats and parking spaces for food trucks, KIPP just slid in there and broke ground under the smoke screen of less important issues.

You think that since I have been blogging since July pretty heavy on education issue in the city and I am Secretary of the Highlands Coalition, Inc. that I would have gotten an invitation to the ceremony, With my cane, I take quite a dashing photo. At least that's what my mom says.

Maybe I wasn't invited because no one had my phone number. Well Mayor Kennedy should have it but if she lost it, I'm sure she had my e mail address from the scores of emails I've sent her just like the copy of this blog posting I am sending her.

Okay, maybe it was because I have come out publicly against charter schools. Well like I said in an earlier post, I do have a history of changing my mind, reference the four marriages.

I would change my views if  my concerns were addressed and an open an honest debate could show me the error of my ways. My concerns are two-fold.Mainly I don't like the funding mechanism. The public coffers are raped for the benefit of the private backers or investors. We are given the illusion of random selection and equal opportunity. I just want to remind everyone of a quote from George Orwell's "Animal Farm" -"We all are created equal, just some are more equal than others".

Less of a concern is the length of individual class time. Kids just don't have that long of an attention span. No one does. That is why we have music videos and not music documentaries.

My feelings are hurt no one asked me to the dance, but some one could hum me a tune.

Why Do We Let The Rats Continue To Run Our Educational Agenda?

This issue just will not die. If you want to move the farm at Ingalls someone better tell the rats. Move the vegetables and the rats will stay there. No one wins but our children lose. Build the fence. Move on.

No Matter What, The Rats Win

Let's get back ro the business of education. That's where our focus should be. Because of yesterday's letter to the editor in the Item our vision has gotten blurry again. Compromise and move on.

Give Ingalls lights, fences and surveillance cameras and let Seacrest park their trucks but make them agree to do something with the kids at LVTI. Let's get back to work on education.

Monday, November 15, 2010

If You Can't Stand The Heat

Help me out here. Maybe I am not thinking too clear because I spent a couple hours in a sweat box that used  to be the Ford School library. Being a volunteer, I am not privy to the operations manual, but I do hear things in the hall in between gasps for breaths.

Coming to my rescue was a teacher who turned on a big fan,one of those big tall ones like they have in old hospitals. This was after the janitor opened up the windows. One of the things I heard was it was 110 degrees. I am sure it wasn't that hot but thee heat probably made them hallucinate too.

For some reason they are having trouble regulating the heat and don't seem to have ready access to the thermostat. Like I said, I don't have all the details but with the growing cost of heat and the shrinking budget, someone should.

The Price We Pay

Our superintendent wants to be thrifty with all that money we got or are getting from the state and the feds "Race To The Top" money. To be honest, it's really hard to discern anything from the outside.

All I know is that the class sizes are too large, indoors is at best questionable environmentally - ie., air quality from mold, and there are classes either without textbooks or outdated ones. All yeah I forgot the libraries.
If elementary schools are lucky enough to have them, they are closed except for thee two Level 4 schools and Ford where I volunteer.

I know all grant money comes with strings and that the "Race To The Top" money can't be used for salaries. Still where is this money going? The holidays are coming and when there over we are not far away from next year's budget battle. How can things get any better in the future if we are not doing anything now?

Oh, I'm sorry we are doing something, we are arguing about rats, gardens, and parking places. I'm sorry, what was I thinking? I don't about you but I am more interested in the education of our kids, not the least of which are my own.

I know the LSC meeting Wed. night will be chocked full of garden supporters and there will be debate about who's right it is to allow Seacrest to park their trucks at Bennett St. Admittedly I have had fun with these two relatively insignificant issues.

I say relatively insignificant because our future is at stake and we need some accountability going forward about where all of this money is going. It's all about our kids.

The Bus Does Not Stop Here Anymore

My son is now walking to school at Pickering. That should save the city between 2 and 20 thousand a year depending on who you ask. I tend to put more faith in the lower figure since it came from the transportation dept. and not some councilman looking for political gain. Either way I'm not getting a check.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rat Reversal

I have heard that the rats have lost an ally. I have been told that Councilman Trahant has seen the light (or counted the votes) and no longer believes the garden at Ingalls is causing the rat problem. I really don't know, he didn't call me up to tell me. All I know is that the Food Project people are gearing up for Wed. night;s meeting and every time I mention rats I get mad hits on my blog.

So maybe if I say them three times fast the traffic will blow up the server. RATS,RATS,RATS.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Age Old Problem

Last month at the LSC meeting there was talk of raising the maximum age for School Admission. At issue is the fact that we are getting more and more new students high school age who don't know English, There is just not enough time for them to become fluent enough in English before they graduate.

It is easy to take a conservative hard line. This is America, it's not our problem if they can't speak English. It's not our problem if they can't meet our standards. Love it or Leave It.

I don't know about you but I live in the real world. We have to live with the consequences of our decisions. Education does not have age limits. We need solutions not rhetoric. After all, there are only so many fast food jobs. Being uneducated makes one ripe for exploitation.

Working Vacations In The Middle Of The Year

The LSC was happy at the last meeting to get a chance to approve school field trips before they actually happened. This has been the exception and not the rule. The LSC turned into a travel agency for a night.

First on the itinerary was a Drill Competition for the English High MCJROTC in Union, NJ. This is coming up on Nov. 19-20. They should get a medal for going to Jersey. I just hope they don't come back fist pumping.

English High Drill Team invades a different place in Jersey Feb. 18-19. Their willingness to go to these places explains why they have been national qualifiers for eight years. We should have our own reality TV show.

The las field trip approved brought groans of envy from the LSC. It was a senior class field trip by the LVTI seniors at the Honors Haven Resort in Ellenville, NY on Feb. 21-23,2011. There are some seminars, focus groups and the like on the agenda but socialization is up there on the priority list. Do you remember your senior year? Hey, at least it's not in Jersey.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Comedy Night At The LSC

The next meeting of the LSC will showcase a ironic battle of the rats. In one corner we have tomato tossing, lettuce eating rodents of the Ingalls School garden trying to remain undefeated by having their lease renewed versus the Lynn City Council and the Seacrest boys at Bennett Street looking to sneak in a new place to park.

It should be quite the night. Really I can't make this stuff up!

My Future So Bright, I Think I Need Shades, Not Books

You can start by throwing he book at them, the textbook. I hear there are  some classes without ELA texts. How do we expect teachers to do their jobs without all the necessary tools. More than that, what can you hope for the unfortunate students?

I know, the plan must be to intentionally lower the MCAS score so we can get more money from the state and the feds. That way we can justify more specialists and consultants. I mean the  kids will have to suffer a little bit but they have their whole lives to get over it. Look at the bright side,oh yeah, there is no bright side.

Before You Sign On The Dotted Line

Someone please educate me. I have made it clear I am not in favor of charter schools. I have a lot of reasons that I'll go into later  if anyone cares. But, I could be wrong. After ll, I'm in my fourth marriage so I have a track record of being wrong.

If charter schools are so great and they have the best interest of the students in mind, why doesn't KIPP jump at the chance to locate at the Bennett St. location? I mean they could be up and running in no time. Why didn't the city make a more attractive offer, any offer? Our elected officials are supposed to be looking out for us, right?

Are they looking out to profit our students or themselves? Like they say on TV - "You Be The Judge."

The Rats Are The First Ones To Flee The Ship!

With all the talk of rats and parking spaces, you can hardly see the state of education in Lynn through all the smoky haze of the back rooms. Not only is the vision of where we are going educationally, you have a hard time seeing the kids.

Currently there are 5 audits by the Dept. of Education going on at the schools around town. At the last LSC meeting it was assured these are just standard information collecting audits but with about as many civil lawsuits going on, can we be sure?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Are There Rats In City Hall?

Whenever a person is sick, they take medicine. That is what the doctor orders, so we do it. Education is the medicine for all our economy's ills. No one pays you for being dumb.

Consequently it boggles my mind why our local politicians can't see the forest for the trees. As evidence of their continuing vision problem I offer up this latest story:

I personally have sat in on a meeting last spring where Mayor Kennedy shared her vision for he school department's  administration's offices to be under one roof. The Bennett St. location was to be that roof. Currently the special education department is across town, out from the direct supervision of Dr. Latham. I am not saying she is unaware of what the special ed, people are up to but they are not across the hall

I have heard rumors that Dr. Latham is resistant to the relocation. Now they taught me in school not to put much store in rumors. The fact remains though, I've seen no U-haul trucks yet and Dr. Latham still gets her mail at the same place. Who is boss here?

This vision was the reason given why the Bennett St. location why the city was not a viable place for the placement of the KIPP School. Instead KIPP is allowed to build on possibly the most prime piece of real estate in the city. Maybe they wouldn't have wanted the Bennett St. site but an attractive package could have been put together.

Enter Lynn City Councilman Phelan and Seacrest, Foods. Now the rats in Lynn may have the opportunity to feast on gourmet foods. I guess that will solve the problems at the Ingalls garden. Why would rats want to eat vegetables when they can eat fancy food?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Aiming For The Wrong Target

Some of Lynn's  middle school students were fortunate enough to hear Louis Gossett, Jr.'s inspiring and educational lecture yesterday. It seems like there is nothing bad to say about this.

Mr. Gossett's sincerity is beyond reproach. The problem that I have is that we didn't get the maximum benefit out of this event. The target audience of middle school kids makes for good copy and better photo ops but unfortunately according to most research the majority of a kids personality and values are set by age 12.

Does that mean yesterday's program was a waste of time? Of course not. I am just saying that it should have been set up to have the kids it could have helped the most in the audience.

Elementary kids probably wouldn't have been much more ignorant about Mr. Gossett's incredible achievements than middle school children. I still remember his line from "An Officer And A Gentlemen", "Texas, The Only thing they raise in Texas is steers and ...".

I am sure he would remind us all that is an example of how not to act.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Can I Have Your Autograph?

My son is joining some TV news program at Pickering. I don't know much about it YET but I promise you I will, Anyway he is excited about it.

This sounds like a great thing. It will give the kids a chance to be a mini-celebrity. It Something should be in every middle school.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Drewiez Students Learn To Build A Better Mouse Trap

Volunteer engineers from GE help to make science more interesting by helping
 the kids gain some hands on experience. It's always better when you can see with your hands.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Last Rat Story - For A While

At the Buildings and Grounds subcommittee meeting that took place before the regular LSC meeting, there was so much testimony bout the rats that time constraints forced the normal open-mike period scheduled before the beginning of the meeting had to be cancelled.

Each side was given opportunity to have representatives appear before the committee to try and convince the committee to follow their line of reasoning. The magic of the Internet gives everyone the confidence to advocate as a self-proclaimed expert.

The anti-garden crowd trotted out heavy hitters, Councilmen Trahant and Cyr who expressed deep regret at now having reached the conclusion that even though they had initially supported the garden now they felt it had to go. I wonder since they were now so convinced it was the main source of the rat problem why did they ever support it in the first place. Didn't they do any research on rats and gardens before? I am sure their change of heart had more to do with phone calls than science.

Another neighbor gave a long winded soliloquy about the destructive activity of the local rat population. While it was short on actual scientific substance it did have a disturbing visual, a description of little pink rat babies - nasty.

The Food Project had their people testify too, but in the interest of wrapping the meeting up, one of the alumni who had actually worked in the garden didn't get to testify. Of course this led to claims from some of The Food Project crowd that they weren't given equal time. I don't know of any official count but I would say that they had the largest crowd.

Once the Buildings and Grounds subcommittee meeting was over most of the crowd went out in the hall to wait for the regular meeting. Being the politician that she is, Mayor Kennedy plunged into the crowd and came out with a compromise. The alumnus would be allowed to have his say before
the regular meeting

So, he did

Keeping A Head Of The Game

A big discussion on concussions as it relates to sports last Thur. night in the Athletic subcommittee held before the regular LSC meeting. The MIAA regs were read as they pertain to concussions. Basically if you lose consciousness you are banned from any activity until you have a doctor's clearance to play.

Every year the football helmets are sent back to the manufacturer for reconditioning. Usually about ten helmets are not returned because they are not able to meet the specs.

Speaking from personal experience, you can never be too cautious with a head injury. Small injuries can have big consequences. Your life can be altered in so many ways.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Rental Fees - Need To RegulateThe Irregularities

The rats in Lynn get to use the school facilities for free but everybody else has to rent the facilities. LSC member Donna Coppola was concerned because she had reports of some out of town groups getting a cheaper rate than our own local groups.

As it turned out this was only a one time mistake blamed on the overwhelming task of managing the administration of the rental schedule. In the past the job had a regular full time position to handle the job. Because of budget cuts the task has been shifted to a part time position to a person already with other duties.

To make matters worse there is no set standards to help insure that everything always remains the same. According to LSC Secretary Tom Iaribbino, in the past groups had just been charged enough to cover the janitors salary. Lately, a charge to cover the gas and electricity have been added.

Because we live in a litigious society, LSC member John Ford asked if there was some assurance that groups had adequate liability coverage. He was assured that the present online scheduling system prompts the user to provide proof of liability coverage.

Rick Starbard echoed the rest of the LSC's call for a set standard for all rental fees. It was agreed that one would be produced. We await further developments.

If Rats Could Read

The rats have been very, very good to me. LSW has been getting a lot of hits lately and the traffic can't all be from my mother.

One commenter to my blog has even given me undeserved credit for having contributed for Highlights magazine. I just wish he wouldn't lavish so much praise on me and instead put forth some of his accomplishments.

If the rats could read some of the garbage he and some of the misinformed readers of the Item spew out they would do a little rat dance and celebrate. Closing down the garden would guarantee  a new open place to serve as a depository for all kinds of new trash, providing an excellent dining atmosphere. The rats will have to wait in line to get a seat.

Maybe Councilmen Trahant and Cyr can get new jobs as waiters.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Garden of Verses Or Was That Curses

Now a story about Lynn Public Schools' other garden, the rat-free one at Ford. David Gass, co-chair of The Highlands Coalition, Inc., was asked to appear before the LSC.

Gass was about to testify about the plan for the construction of a greenhouse at the garden. It seemed to me Gass was about to describe a major project with plastic everywhere. After hearing this LSC member Donna Coppola motioned that the matter be tabled until Dr. Crane was present.

I am sure David was disappointed about the delay in the decision but to be honest he overcomplicated the production. In fact the greenhouse appears to me that this proposed greenhouse is not much more than a series of umbrellas.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors Or They Want Us To Believe

One of the proposals put forth by Mayor Kennedy to help alleviate the rat problem is the construction of a fence. After all, they don't have a rat problem at Ford and they have a fence. The fence they have at Ford is a wrought iron fence with spaces in between bars that would prevent only the fattest, most overweight rats.

Besides wasting the taxpayer's money, the fence not only would provide Mayor Kennedy some political cover it would allow Councilmen Cyr and Trahant to play both sides of  it, appeasing a wider range of their constituents.

Both councilmen are on record as having supported it in the past but now reluctantly, coming to the conclusion that it must be closed down. People should be allowed to change their opinions, even elected officials.

However are we to believe that these councilmen who portrayed themselves as champions of these poor homeowners who are victims of this vermin onslaught did not know that even if they could have forced a vote to end the lease that night he garden would have continued to exist for 90 more days. In 90 days there will probably be two feet of snow on the ground and the rat problem solved.

By then, a "new fence to nowhere" might have been constructed and Councilmen Trahant and Cyr could stand on both sides of it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Athletics To Adopt Six Day Schedule

Well it's time to take a break from the rat story. It's not from lack of bait, it's just there was so much other important info that was covered at the LSC meeting.

One of those items was that there will no longer be any athletic activities scheduled on Sunday. It was the unanimous belief that we adhere to a six day schedule. LSC member Rick Starbard pointed out the body needs a day of rest to recover. John Ford agreed but pointed out the need to grandfather in previously scheduled events.

The final policy also allowed for the exception of when weather makes it necessary to add the day to schedule he event. This seems to be a rare exception and not the rule.

It was good to write about something other than rats. I admit, it was creeping me out.

Rats Can Be Model Citizens

We all could learn something from the supposed rats at Ingalls. According to self-proclaimed "gang-expert" and neighbor, Marguerite Pueleo these rats are willing to share their turf with "Bloods", "Crips", and other rival gangs.

I don't profess to have Ms. Pueleo's expertise on identifying patterns of gang behavior, after all I am just a poor old country boy from WV but I didn't know such rivals could peacefully co-exist with such harmony in one place. These rats sure are giving us an education. Thanks to Ms. Pueleo for pointing this out for us.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

But I've Got The Papers To Prove It!

One of the arguments brought against the garden at Ingalls brought against the farm was that disreputable people were working in the fields and other illegalities were occurring. To prove this  papers were being waved around to try and convince  members of the LSC that their complaints were legitimate.

Unfortunately this proves nothing. I have learned you can say anything you want but it doesn't make it true. A lot of papers get produced in court but they don't really mean much unless a judge's signature is on the bottom of the page.

After all Kleenex tissues are somebody's paperwork.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Another Rat Story?

If you are reading this you took the bait. Actually I want to take a break from that disgustingg story to talk about "Innovative Schools". In the northeast here we are supposed to be on the cutting edge of education. Here is a story from my old hometown, Clarksburg, WV, population around 17,000.

For all the talk about the back woods culture, my old county is looking at two new Innovation School proposals.

Who's backward now?

Let's Solve Our Own Problems

Considering the fact that we had a log and contentious LSC meeting Thursday night with real concerns about rats, gangs, and gangs of rats at Ingalls School why is the Item choosing to run a story about another city and  whether or not certain relationships between teachers and students are appropriate? Is this a diversionary tactic? Is someone feeling heat

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Comes Early!

I spent the morning scaring the kids at Ford School as the mad, zombie, “volunteer” librarian. But they were not as scare as I was at the LSC meeting last night.

The real scary thing was  Lynn City Councilmen Trahant and Cyr believe that the primary reason for the rat infestation in their neighborhoods was the garden at Ingalls School.

The thought that these men help run our city’s government is truly frightening. Refusing to use reasonable thought and scientific data in reaching their conclusions calls into question their judgment.

Luckily LSC member John Ford beat back hordes of vermin keeping them away from the garden at Ingalls, Armed with photographs and a report from Boston Inspectional Services showing the true cause of the rodent explosion, uncovered trash cans, litter, and just plain garbage.

Fortunately for the kids and all of the social benefits provided through The Food Project, the LSC
was not fooled by the faulty, inflammatory logic of the some of the adjoining neighbors.

In order to give these homeowners some degree of respect, LSC member Maria Carrasco did ask that more investigation be done. I hope this works but I will let you know something I have learned from my numerous appearances in probate court, “You can’t reason with unreasonable people”.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Christmas Comes Early

The Food Project will be out in force at tonight's LSC meeting. Actually the fireworks are scheduled to start before the regular meeting at the subcommittee meeting before the meeting. The FP wants to get their lease renewed for their garden at Ingalls School (Don't you just love that name, it makes me think of Santa Claus).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I Smell A Rat!

Rumor has it  that there is concern that part of the "rat" problem at Ingalls School is due to the location of a garden on the land leased to the Food Project. Since my daughter walks by Ingalls everyday on her way to Marshall, I called the school Monday to investigate. I asked for the principal who wasn't immediately available cause she as off doing principal stuff. I mentioned to the secretary the nature of the call was that I understood they had a rat problem. She vigorously denied it and demanded to know who told me. Not willing to answer her inquiries, I figured I'd let it die and address it if it came up in tomorrow night's LSC meeting.

I did try and warn David Gass, co-chair of the Highlands Coalition, Inc., since we have the International Garden at Ford School. David adamantly stressed that the problem was no rats at all but vandalism from the local youth. Then he proceeded to try and school me on how rats are not attracted to vegetables. I thanked him for the education but I reminded him that I grew up in WV. I had a little experience with gardens. I've even helped make haystacks but that's another story.

I was at a MBTA committee meeting in Boston this afternoon when I started getting a flood of e mails confirming my suspiscions. So I thought I would address this now instead of waiting for the LSC meeting.

In reality, David is right vegetables don't attract rats. Maybe if they had a bunny infestation at Ingalls they would have an argument We don't have his problem at Ford's garden. Part of the credit goes to the Highland Coalition's efforts to place white trash buckets affixed to the telephone poles all along Rockaway St. All of this confusion could have been avoided if Ingalls had a fully stocked and staff library. Then the kids could read E. B.White's classic, "Charlotte's Web" and see the the rat goes to the trash and not the garden.

Anyway I'll be at the meeting tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Standing Room Only, Almost

Right next door to the library where I volunteer as Ford School's librarian sits a class of Special Ed kids  of 5 or 6 crammed into a room that in better days probably served as a storage room. Given the nature of any kid, let alone an individual who needs more individualized instruction, this is a recipe for disaster.

I feel guilty I have not wrote about it before but there is just so much. Luckily I got to see Jessica McLaughlin,the Supervisor of Special Ed., dropped by the class to observe.

We didn't talk about her plans for the class because I'm just a volunteer librarian, we talked about how well my son is doing at Pickering. Anyway I have to give credit to Jessica for being out in front o this issue. Let's just hope she and the rest of the professionals come up with a plan to help.