🏫 School Board Enthusiasts 🏫 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team's School Board Blog
Since there wasn’t very much going on during the May School Board meeting, we decided that it would be good to also include perspectives about the meeting from community members. We reached out to...
some of our friends in the community to hear about their perception of the meeting, their experiences with some of the discussed issues, and more. Some of their comments are so helpful for getting through this uncertain time and others are really great to help consider further implications of the issues discussed during the May School Board meetings.
Mrs. Jenny Hill states that the concern towards the bullying report has increased as the school year progressed. The number of confirmed bullying reports through the third quarter of the 2019-2020 school year was extremely close to the end numbers from all of the 2018-2019 school year. It was stated that the school took a different route for training teachers in bullying prevention by conducting the training as an online course and eliminating the in person aspect. The facilitators realized very quickly that this might not have been the best decision. The connection on the presenter’s end was not the best so every detail was not received. She did state that this coming school year, they will make their decisions regarding training early on but there was much more said about the bullying report.
The subject that took the longest to discuss at this month’s board meeting was the School Reopening Task Force. Plans were presented for how the task force will be assembled and what the general plans are for the committee. It seems that the taskforce is going to include students, teachers, parents, cafeteria workers, and bus drivers. I’m glad to see that the task force will be considering all aspects of school reopening in order to provide the safest environment possible for our students. I’m also really glad to see that the board talked about this plan for so long and asked so many questions. I’m very thankful to live in a district with school board representatives that care this much about the students of Hamilton County. There have been a lot of guidelines released by the CDC about steps to take to reopen schools, which seems to be encouraging for next year. Many students are still fearing that the modified format of school next year could be just as depriving as online schooling. Even further, we’re afraid that we could still miss much of our next school year due to another wave of COVID-19. It will be really great to finally get answers over the next few weeks and months as the task force works on the reopening plan. I hope that this information will help students to begin to cope with whatever school may look like next year.
School aged child care will be available as early as June. There is an increase in these programs but with this increase comes a decrease of the amount of students allowed to be in those facilities at a given time. There has been a report of 25 facilities that will aid in the child care program this summer. However, there are only 25 slots available per facility. These precautions have been set in place due to the spread of COVD-19. In order to determine who would be admitted if more than 25 students applied, the board planned to use a lottery system if they couldn’t relocate students. Since the meeting, the issue has been resolved and they were able to relocate students to other locations and will not need to use the lottery system.
Thank you so much for hearing our thoughts about this school board meeting and so many others. Now we want to highlight the thoughts of some of our friends in the community. You can find more community thoughts below:
“Training on canvas is preferred by teachers to in person training. We have the same training every year so we are familiar and the precious time in August is needed to prepare for students. I typically do not know what I will be teaching or who I will be teaching until the first PD day in August. Then we have about 3 days to prepare before students come, those days are usually filled with professional development and teachers spend the evening until late into the nights to frantically get ready. I hope they give us more training on canvas instead of in person but it doesn't sound like they will.” - Andrea
“The school board members spent a significant amount of time talking about the number of confirmed cases of bullying, but I think that the number is irrelevant considering how much bullying goes unreported. Only about 20% of bullying actually gets reported to adults in the school building, so there is a lot more bullying going on than what the numbers show.” - Kelsie
“It's difficult to determine how the school year is going to look when it doesn't begin until August because no one knows what the next few months hold. As Dr. Johnson said, maybe there will be a vaccine created by August 1st and every teacher and child can get one before school starts August 12th. This is highly unlikely, but this is an unprecedented time and no one can predict what is going to happen in the coming months. I do appreciate the work that the task force is putting in so that schools will have the option to reopen in August.” - Kelsie
"I did have some concerns with how the system will handle those students whose parents do not want them to return back to school but do not have the ability to teach them with their resources. I can see how the system could say it's the parents' problem to handle but the sole reality of this is, there are people who are still afraid to send their kids back to the schools without some kind vaccination or something more concrete!" - Dre
"Masks don't bother me at all, I always wear them in public to be respectful and responsible. However I would not be able to teach effectively wearing one. Students need to see my face and facial cues to understand me. My students still have very limited understanding of English so I am always very animated when speaking to them in English, a mask would make that difficult. I also have 1 student who is deaf and exclusively relies on reading lips." - Andrea