Amherst, Pelham, Regional School Committees
About the only thing missing from this afternoon's multi-School Committees "retreat" was a group hug to start off the proceedings.
The Amherst and Pelham School Committees and the members who make up the 4 town Regional School Committee started off by placing dots on a poster board beside statements they deemed the most important.
Click to enlarge/read
"What has gone well and what needs improvement?" was the clear winner.
Most members thought the budget process went well this year but the evaluation of the Superintendent Maria Geryk not so well. And of course topping the list for outright bad things, all the drama associated with the racial incidents and the factions that were formed within the Committees that carried over to the community.
Fancy fixings at the meeting which was held in Valentine Hall, Amherst College
Amherst School Committee Chair Katherine Appy admitted, "Trust has been a big problem," adding "factions do drive us apart." Pelham School Committee Chair Darius Modesto agreed saying, "The School Committee needs to change its tone, it's affecting the students."
Communication was constantly cited, as in, the Committees need to do a better job communicating with each other, School administrators and the general public.
Obviously the public becomes (greatly) concerned because public schools account for the lion's share of annual tax expenditures, and good schools help to maintain high property values.
Also discussed was the role of the School Committee. Should they act as cheerleaders for administrators, or be more critical and "call them out" in the hopes of micromanaging them into better performing schools?
Mike Morris Assistant Superintendent, Maria Geryk Superintendent
The former certainly has not worked all that well the past few years ...
A good crowd 2 or 3 times larger than the combined committees attended
Email from one of the "factions" drumming up support