Wednesday, October 18, 2006

So in the Dark

The nation's sixth-largest school system lost its leader Tuesday, after a sharply split board voted to fire Superintendent Frank Till.

With Peyton's first day of kindergarden rapidly approaching, I feel I should be more knowledgable about the school board and public school system that he will be attending. I'll be honest with you, public school terrifies me. Mostly the unknown. I attended a small Christian private school all 12 years and have no idea the inner workings of the public school system. The idea of my 5-year old son in a school with over a 1,000 other students stops me in my tracks and makes my heart flutter at an alarming pace.

I've read reviews and articles about the elementary he is zoned for and I'm pretty confident that the school is a good one, but I'm worried how this firing of the superintendent will disrupt the whole system. Also, the vote was almost split, which is indicative of a troubled board as well.

If anyone has any good ideas on where to begin my search for more knowledge, please let me know.


Ballpoint Wren said...

I say, stay away from the PTA, because you'll get caught up in lots of fundraisers rather than having an impact on how the school works.

Attend meetings of the school site council (if you have those in your school district) because they're more about running the school than fundraising.

Volunteer in the classroom, and if possible, in the main office, and you'll get a quickie education on the workings of the school district.

Make friends with the school secretary, and you'll learn all the details you can't get elsewhere.

But I warn you: I did all this (and more) and all this extra insight helped fuel our decision to pull our kids out and homeschool them.

Ballpoint Wren said...

Also, the firing of the superintendant may not make a difference at all. The school board is one thing: they make decisions like hiring and firing and recognizing major contributions to the school system. The staff in the superintendant's office is more likely to impact your kidlet's day-to-day experiences.

You can ask for minutes of last year's previous board meetings, too, and that will give you an idea of what the board accomplishes. Those records are public information.