Monday, August 23, 2010

School Committee - say it isn't so!

The School Committee reviewed the District Improvement Plan at their last meeting on August 10. As one of the contributors to the Steering Committee that developed the Strategic Plan, it was good to see the mission, vision, and values fleshed out with detailed action steps and follow up status points.

There is one significant omission. It was also noticed by one of the eagle eye readers here as well so I wasn't the only one to catch it.

The District Improvement Plan: The last goal statement was built on the core value that the community provides resources for learning. Resources in this case is not just funding and the Strategic Value was worded carefully:
We partner with all members of the community to exchange ideas, solve problems and build a comprehensive educational experience.
From this value, the goal statement is worded as:
GOAL STATEMENT: The community will collaborate to provide the financial resources to support the educational program.
This gets to the heart of the matter. For whatever reason (economic times, lack of trust, or just 'no more', etc.) the Franklin voters have spoken to deny the schools the funding the School Committee/Administration claims is required for the education of our children. One would expect that this issue, how to better engage the community, would receive a high priority and fortunately it does with the Value and Goal Statement as shown.

For this goal statement, the plan lists two learning objectives:
  • Administrators will collaborate with School Committee to develop and implement a budget
  • The FPS Administration will collaborate with town and community to address FHS facility needs
What is the omission?
Where are the parents? Where is the Parent Communication Council (PCC)?

Don't you think that the parents should be involved in the process? Shouldn't the parents (especially in their role as voters) be involved in the planning and communications around the educational priorities?

Shouldn't there be an objective to reach out to the parents (and other groups in the community) to improve the information and awareness of the school budget and priorities?

Is it just me or is the School Committee/Administration missing the boat?

Why is this an issue?
The School Committee agenda for Tuesday, August 24 has an action item:
  • I recommend acceptance of the District Improvement Plan as presented at the last meeting.
The operative wording is "as presented" and not "as modified based upon feedback from the presentation and discussion". And if the action item was just written incorrectly but the document had actually changed, that could be considered a typo or oversight. But the document as distributed with the School Committee packet did not change.

Say it isn't so!

The action item and District Improvement Plan can be found here:


The 'final' Strategic Plan

Strategic Plan Steering Committee

Strategic Plan presentation to Town Council

Franklin, MA


  1. I watched the last school committee meeting and saw you mention that the PCC was not part of the DIP.(thank you!) Have the administrators and school committee deliberately chosen not to include the PCC?

    The fact that the override failed does not mean that parents do not support the schools. Each school's PCC raises thousands which help fund field trips, science/music enrichment, guest authors, and a host of other programs that benefit the students' education. Parents not only support their children's school by raising money, but volunteer their time as well. I believe strong parental support has helped to contribute to the success of Franklin Public Schools. I also believe communication between parents and the schools is critical. How will the administrators and school committee foster positive parent relationships without the PCC?

    Sad way to start off the school year.

  2. 4school, thanks. I went back for just this calendar year (2010) and there were 22 contributions by the school PCC's totaling $49,549.85 each individual contribution required the item to be voted on an approved by the School Committee.

    I agree that communication with the PCCs is critical to the success of the entire district.