School Board Meeting - November 4, 2019

The meeting begins with student representative Alexis, a senior of Thomas Jefferson High School. She is on the Student advisory council at her school. She tells the school board the topics that should be addressed, such as the low quality water fountains, carpets, driveways, and cafeteria meals. She also wants a push for every student to have a plan for all 4 years of high school. In general, she also hopes for better facilities.

Then, the school board goes over the Adoption of the agenda. The issue of the Navy Hill project is introduced under New business. A discussion is had on whether the issue should be under Board business or under new business. After a show of hands, an amendment to the agenda was made.

Afterward, the 7/29 education compact committee meeting’s minutes were approved.

The next part of the agenda was Public information, in which individuals have 3 minutes to speak of their opinions to the school board.

Shannon has 2 kids going to Fox elementary school. She, along with 465 others, signed a petition to support Richmond Public School (RPS) rezoning for equitable and integrated schools. To her, Overcrowded schools do not reflect diversity. The rezoning will prioritize integration, keep test scores constant, and develop empathy. In terms of the children, she believes that they will adapt. Kids will be unfazed and make new friends while still keeping the old. Redrawing lines to reduce overcrowding and segregation. She states how it is 2019, and the time is now to end segregation.

Mark, on the other hand, is against rezoning. He felt that was no accountability, lack of transparency and detail. The website gives little information. He asks them to not add further stress to community, especially since pairing is bad, and given the preliminary budget, pairing would not be cheap. If the money is not there, it cannot be a success.

Another individual questioned the issue of Employee online behavior. He believed it would create mischief. It is all about responsible free speech. It is only trying to alleviate paranoia. However, this online conduct is adversely affecting … who? If a republican is affected by democrat, will they be hurt? Is “Triggering” punishable? Misapplication is far too easy. Thus, he believes that he should scrap it.

Carey supports the RPS group. She greatly appreciates the group of teachers, organized rallies, walk-ins, etc. In terms of the social media policy, she is against it. She would rather encourage free speech and healthy debate.

Katie is upset with the rezoning process. As a teacher, it is a disservice that basic necessities aren't there, and yet RPS still has money to do rezoning? Will teachers stay in their current building? Different grade level? What are the answers to these logistical questions?

Susan, in her 17th year of teaching, spoke of the changes made to how teachers must do their job. She would want more active & engaging lessons, but now the schedules are strict and restricting. She wants to promote social and emotional learning, so students can function in a global society.

Emma, also a teacher, spoke of the new google classroom system. It was bizarre, and mirroring her frustrations, a Student asked “why don’t you just ask us?” She found that powerful, as at the end of the day, students know what best supports their learning and success.

Agenda item 4.01 is to Receive a Dreams4RPS, the 2018-2023 plan, update on Priority 2 - Skilled & Supported Staff.

A representative came to speak as a proxy, substituting the 3 directors. Different aspects she would mention was 2.1 ensuring customer service for office, 2.3 Modern system and infrastructure of online portal. 2.5 Equity & Inclusion to fight implicit bias. 2.6 University partnerships, amongst others.

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