This is my perspective of the situation:
Administrators throughout the district have the responsibility for establishing and enforcing protocols for visitors and this includes the district offices and Dr. Suggs. It is an administrator's responsibility to protect the practical and perceived security of district staff and the purpose, focus and integrity of the work for which they were hired in service to our students. Having sign-in procedures and limitations of access to work spaces depending on the nature of a visit and the arrangements with and expectations of staff seems a common and reasonable practice in private business, government offices and schools. For example, I have been in two different LRSD schools in the past week. At each visit I signed a visitor log and visited only the parts of the building where it was agreed upon I had business. At one school, I had a staff escort for my visit. This did not seem unreasonable to me in any way even as a board member. While it is important that visitor policies be applied consistently and fairly, I would also expect an administrator to utilize some flexibility as to how they are enforced based on special circumstances in service of staff and their work.
This matter does not rise to the level of a policy concern and so would be inappropriate to place on the board's agenda.
I renew my request that the Board consider this matter for placement on the Agenda for public discussion. Your letter implies that Ms. Springer and I were not authorized to be in the district building in that we violated policy by being there. This is a full Board matter in that each Board member is equal.
You should have discerned that we had authority to be in the building, were not disruptive and sought information authorized by law. All contacts with Dr. Suggs were initiated by him at which time he did not address any of the points of his letter nor indicate any disruptive activity on our behalf. I, therefore, couch the issue to be "whether a citizen entitled to access information authorized by the FOIA may be punished, excoriated and otherwise subjected to gross hearsay about that citizen's historic behavior, especially when Dr. Suggs could not have evidence of such past behavior?"
My request is that the Board reaffirm its commitment to following the law after it affords the public an opportunity to address the matter. I reiterate that this is not a matter where the right of the administrator to set reasonable conditions for building access is an issue.
Consistent and fair application of visitor policies is the past practice. Will that remain the case under Dr. Suggs? Or will Dr. Suggs, upon inquiries for information that he does not wish to disclose, create new rules without Board authority??
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
John W Walker
The State will agree that LRSD, PCSSD and NLRSD may phase out the interdistrict magnet school program by not enrolling new interdistrict transfer students in those programs for the 2014-15 school-year and beyond.
The funds received by LRSD under this Agreement will not be counted as local revenue.
Dr. Suggs and I met with the AG and others in August to discuss in very general terms the possibility of a settlement. We left with the understanding that a specific written proposal would be considered in good faith. I talked individually with board members who said what they have said many times before publicly and privately - they believed that a reasonable settlement would be in the best interest of LRSD students. I met with Dr. Suggs and Kelsey Bailey in September to discuss a settlement proposal which Dr. Suggs had prepared and the work Mr. Bailey had done to show that LRSD could make the proposal we made and remain financially stable during and after the proposed seven year transition if the proposal were accepted. I called or met with board members individually to talk generally about a proposal which did not include continued State funding of magnet schools or limitations on charter schools. I did not ask for any commitments and asked them not to discuss this with each other until we had a substantive response from the AG to consider at a public meeting. I sent the proposal to the AG on September 27. There has been no substantive response. The proposal does not require continued State support for magnet schools or interdistrict transfers, although the recent change in the school choice law would allow interdistrict transfers to magnet and other schools. There is no restriction on charter schools in the proposal. Previous efforts to settle this case have been unsuccessful primarily because the parties have been unable to resolve magnet and charter school issues.
As you all contemplate segregating children further on the basis of income by setting up smart student schools [the board is considering converting an elementary and middle school to attract top students], please take into account your historic treatment of poor students who don’t do well during the regular year, who go to summer school and fail there as well because of your gining students as if they are criminals and otherwise treating them in the same manner.Walker hoped to ask new superintendent Dexter Suggs about the fining practice at a public meeting this evening. No report yet on what transpired.
The long term board members (Curry, Carriero and Adams) are respectfully requested to respond to my letter or to set a public meeting where the public can have it explained why the poor children ofthe district who are required to attend summer school can’t get educated during the summer time either. Your urgent attention to this matter is urgently requested.
At the click of a button, the core features of this impressive webpage will:
· Increase the user’s knowledge regarding State law that governs compliance with FOIA requests
· Provide answers to frequently asked questions about the FOIA
· Provide access to specific public requests
Working with administration, I was able to include in the Dress Code that it not become Policy for a year so that employees have an opportunity to adjust. In my mind, the worst thing that could have happened was to receive a directive saying as of a certain date all employees had to comply or face immediate disciplinary action. I thought it best to be "at the table, not on the menu."
The School District's public relations office distributed the following about a district meeting Monday that articulates his broader ideas about the school. Good words. Followthrough is the only measure of success.
Dr. Suggs Unveils Cultural Imperatives
to Teachers and Staff
Little Rock School District Superintendent Dr. Dexter Suggs will hold a day-long convocation event on Monday, August 12, 2013, in order to introduce his ten cultural imperatives and outline his expectations for a successful year - where we put children first - to teachers and support staff.
Little Rock School District
1. Children come first!
2. All employees are accountable for student achievement that meets or exceeds state standards.
3. All employees will demonstrate professionalism and integrity.
4. Student success is the only option.
5. Potential is discovered and nurtured.
6. An academically rigorous environment is evident in all classrooms.
7. Communication is clear, open, and timely.
8. Students, parents, families, and community members are essential partners.
9. Diversity is valued as demonstrated by culturally competent practices.
10. Facilities are safe, clean, secure, and inviting.
The NEW Little Rock School District
Where WE Put Children First
Monday, August 12, 2013
8:00 am Elementary Teachers
9:30 am Middle School Teachers
11:00 am High School Teachers
1:30 pm Support Staff-All Schools
3:00 pm Support Staff-Central Office
UPDATE: A photo sent by a friend shows that Dr. Suggs brought the new imperatives with him from his previous job.
I received this note overnight from Shaun Gains, who said he's 20 and attended Hall High School:
For over a year I have been having a conversation with concerned citizens, parents, and educators in the LRSD. I have heard the good and bad. I have heard that parents want more of a say in their child’s education. I have heard educators discuss how charter schools are hurting their schools by taking much needed funding out of the public schools, and I want to stand with those who have no other representative on the school board. I’ve decided that age and experience shouldn’t stop me from making a run to change the LRSD. It’s not about me, it’s about our students, it’s about our parents, and it’s about our teachers.
In the next three months I will be listening even further to those who I want to represent. I want to be a clear choice for the Second Zone. Electing me would bring integrity back to the second zone seat, it would bring a new face and fresh ideas back the school board. Please reach out to me, so I can know what you want from your school board representative.
Michael Nellums is the incumbent in Zone 2. The election is in September. Gains has a Facebook page up.
The Little Rock School District informed Parkview High School parents tonight that a female Parkview student was grazed on her cheek by an airgun pellet fired at her bus. Two bus windows were shattered, but there were no other injuries. The shooter was described as wearing a black shirt, red shoes and a red jacket. The bus was fired on at Burnell Street, in Southwest Little Rock south of Baseline Road. Here's the letter to parents:
Good Evening, Parents:
I’m sending you this email on behalf of Parkview Principal, Dr. Dexter Booth. At approximately 4:30 p.m. today, the driver of First Student Bus #050 was carrying Parkview students home, when an unknown individual shot at the bus several times with an air gun at Burnell Street. The driver stopped the bus at 7725 Burnell and immediately contacted the Little Rock Police Department and Little Rock School District Safety and Security officials.
During the investigation, it was determined that a 9th grade female student had been injured on her left cheek when she was apparently grazed by a pellet. Two bus windows were also shattered. A LRSD Safety and Security Officer transported the student home where he met with her mother, who subsequently took the student to the hospital for treatment. No other injuries were reported.
As of this time, there has been no apprehension of the individual who committed the act. The District takes this matter very seriously and is committed to working with LRPD to fully investigate and catch the person responsible.
LRSD will have Safety and Security units out in the morning and afternoon to patrol the area near the scene of the incident. The suspect was wearing a black shirt, red shoes, and red jacket. If anyone has information on the incident or the alleged suspect, they are urged to contact LRPD or school officials immediately.
Thank you and have a good evening.
Leslie Peacock sends along this report from the meeting:
A small crowd let up great big cheer tonight as the School Board voted 6-1 to hire Dr. Dexter Suggs as the district's new superintendent. Suggs was the favorite of the parents, teachers and other advisory groups, board member Jody Carreiro, who made the motion to hire Suggs, said afterward, and he said the concensus on the choice bode well for success.
Michael Nellums cast the only nay vote. He and Dr. Walter Milton, another candidate whose choice as a finalist was controversial, are friends.
After the vote, the board made remarks, all thanking board president Dianne Curry for her work. Curry praised Suggs and said the district "can't go anywhere but up." Board member Greg Adams added that, "We are ready for a new day. We're going to go with it and we're going to do great."
Waiting for the board to come back from executive session was a small group of parents from Roberts Elementary School who want the district to build a new middle school in West Little Rock. Jennifer Stephens, one of the Roberts parents, said "we feel like this board has made a step toward the community" with the hire, "and the community has moved toward the board."
Cathy Koehler, the president of the Little Rock Education Association, was thrilled at the selection, calling it a "great day." She said Suggs was by far the best among the candidates, one who had "come up through the ranks" as a teacher, principal and chief of staff for the Indianapolis School District. He is a Milken National Educator Award winner. Suggs holds a doctorate of education in organizational leadership from Indiana Wesleyan University, a master's degree in education administration supervision from Indiana University-Purdue University, a master's degree in education in curriculum and instruction from Wesleyan and a bachelor of science degree from Southern Illinois University.
Curry said she'd called Suggs on the phone and he'd accepted the job. She said they haven't figured out when Suggs will start, but she said she had invited him to come to Little Rock on March 14 for the district's facilities meeting. Carreiro said he expects Suggs will visit regularly and that an interim superintendent will have to be named in the meantime. A committee would be formed to oversee the process.
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