Superintendent complains parents distributing some misinformationSuperior school district administrators say they’re concerned about incorrect information circulating about their proposed language immersion school.
By: Anna Kurth, The Daily Telegram
Superior school district administrators say they’re concerned about incorrect information circulating about their proposed language immersion school.
But parents say they aren’t getting answers to their questions about the concept, and they’re getting angry, said Heidi Larson, Lake Superior parent-teacher association president.
They’re upset about plans for a public meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Superior High School.
The meeting is a presentation about immersion schools by an immersion school expert and a former educator and parent involved with immersion schools in the Twin Cities.
At the meeting, written questions about the concept will be collected prior to the meeting for the speakers to answer during the presentation. The meeting is designed for parents interested in sending their children to an immersion school to get more information about how it would work, said Mary Klun, board member.
At the meeting the district will ask parents interested in the immersion school to fill out a form committing themselves to sending their child to the school if it is approved by the school board.
District parents are frustrated by this approach. All immersion school meetings to date have come with an hour-and-a-half time limit.
Parents say the time limits have limited their voice and the district is keeping interested parents in the dark about possible hardships the school could have on their children, Larson said.
At the March 26 Lake Superior meeting, administrators announced that the school would begin at 8 a.m. and these kindergartners and first graders coming from throughout the district would transfer buses at Superior Middle School. These parents who want to sign up for the immersion school aren’t necessarily hearing that, she said.
“There needs to be some kind of open meeting where parents can speak their minds,” she said.
On their side, district administrators are frustrated by parents who are taking matters into their own hands and handing out their own brand of immersion school information.
People passed out flyers with false information to parents dropping off their children at Bryant Elementary School on Monday morning, said Superintendent Jay Mitchell.
The handout stated that class sizes at Bryant and Great Lakes elementary schools would get larger if students from Lake Superior transferred into the schools, but that’s not true, according to the superintendent. Both schools have plenty of room to absorb Lake Superior’s 180 kids and not affect class size, Mitchell said.
Both Great Lakes and Bryant elementary school have unused rooms and are Student Achievement Guarantee in Education schools, he said.
Parents of some Bryant students handed out the flyers because people don’t know what is happening with the immersion school concept. Most of the informational meetings held so far were targeted to parents of children who could attend the school, but all parents and community members should have the opportunity to learn about the concept and have their opinions heard. The parents aren’t against foreign language in the schools, said Amy Callaway, a Bryant parent.
The flyer also included some opinion and an encouragement for people to attend tonight’s meeting.
Other information in the Bryant flyer also disturbed administrators, Mitchell said.
The flyer referenced a retiring teacher at Bryant elementary school and stated that position would not be refilled. It also stated that materials for the language immersion school would be purchased from the district’s general fund.
A position at Bryant is opening this year, but the board has not yet made a decision about hiring. It’s true that classroom materials for an immersion school would come from the general fund, but library materials would come from a separate Common School Fund that is only for purchasing library resources, Mitchell said.
A lot of untrue information is going around, he said.
Mitchell plans to address some false statements in communications board members have received related to the immersion school at the regular board meeting Monday, he said.
Parents and community members will get a chance to tell the board their concerns if the immersion school exploration team receives enough interest from parents and schedules a special board meeting. At that time the board would listen to all concerns and make a decision based on what they think is best for the district, Mitchell said.
Parent’s feel they’d be better served with an opportunity to voice their concerns and get all their questions answered before parents are asked to make a commitment, Larson said.
The district is giving people a chance to make their commitment tonight, but not to ask their questions, she said.
“When is there a public forum because I definitely think there needs to be one,” Larson said. “There are just some things people need to know before they make these commitments.”
Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail email@example.com.