Friday, February 10, 2012

"Macon Miracle"

A School Board Meeting to Remember

Bibb County, Georgia U. S. A.

Last evening I took the opportunity to attend a Bibb County School Board Meeting.  The agenda included the recognition and honoring of 46 Scholars of the Bibb System.  Forty-three Scholars were recognized for their participation in the International Student Media Festival.  They represented the following schools:

Alexander II Magnet School
Burdell-Hunt Magnet School
Heritage Elementary School
Jones Elementary School
Riley Elementary School
Skyview Elementary School
Appling Middle School
Howard Middle School
Miller Magnet Middle School
Rutland Middle School
Howard High School

Three Scholars were honored for their recent participation in the Bibb County Spelling Bee.  The winners attended these schools:

Vineville Academy of the Arts
Howard Middle School
Williams Elementary School

The agenda then called for Remarks from the Visitors to address the Board.  With the upcoming vote on the "Macon Miracle" pending there were plenty of comments concerning this proposal.  I will summarize the comments here in the order that they were presented:

  • Safety.  This person indicated that there are convicted felons in some classes
  • Macon Miracle.  Need to improve but do we need to rush the process.  At this time there are too many unanswered questions.  There appears to be a disconnect within the system. Safety is vital.
  • Honest Communication/s.  The recent event at Northeast High School has the Central Office saying one thing and several members of the School Board saying another.  We are hearing different stories.
  • Take Time To Consider.  Slow down the changes.  Think this proposal through.  Haste May Make Waste.
  • Lacks Specifics.  Financial Cost, etc.  Which Schools to be closed?  Concerned about the age ranges at the proposed levels.
  • Changes Needed.  We need to fix our system.  The proposed plan needs more discussion.
  • Supports the Macon Miracle.  But slow down.  Listen to all.
  • Discipline.  This 1980 graduate from Southwest High School reminded the board that he was part of the largest class and that Safety should be number one.
  • Public Schools.  This speaker spoke of a Niece who was home schooled and had also attended private school, however attended Central High School.  She reported that it was a great experience.
  • Race To The Top.  There is no specific data to support many of the concepts of the Macon Miracle as to if they are effective.
  • Focus on Teaching.  We do not need to teach racism.  This comment was made in view of a proposal to obtain the services of a consultant whose name I did not hear.  There is no evidence it will work.
  • A Patriot Fan.  (I noted this individual because of the sweat shirt).  No need to eliminate 300 teachers.  As a recent high school graduate he also informed the Board that he spoke on behalf of younger siblings.
  • Quality Education.  Schools must provide a safe environment.  Change is needed.  The plan is too board.  Most concerned about the grade level configeration.
  • Grade Groupings.  Concerned about grade four students in with grade seven students.  Just too much difference in this grouping.  Safety is critical.  The proposed focus on schools with programs to reflect student interest with transportation  concerns does not allow a local school to reflect community values.
  • Community Involvement.  This is critical.  Also concerned about the longer school days and the year round proposal.
  • Chose Our Home Location.  This speaker reminded the Board that cross town transportation of students to their school of interest would esculate transportation cost.  This speaker addressed five concerns:
a.  Transportation challenges
b.  Safety/Security/Discipline
c.  Grade configerations
d.  Against year around school
e.  Will school choice destroy school band/sports options?

         Somethings need to be tweaked.
  • Safety.  A vital concern.  Do something!!
  • Parents Accountable.  Starts at home.  Go back to the drawing board.  We need change, but in the best interest of all.  Again, this person spoke of a potential consultant.  They spoke of "No Singleton."  (Please note that is how I heard the name).
  • Could Not Hear.  Apparently a lot of attendees could not hear this speaker because a later speaker requested that the Board have an operational "Public Address" system in operation by the next meeting.
  • Some Is Good.  Not enough parental involvement.  Need more proof of what works.
  • Support Macon Miracle.  We need a breath of fresh air.  We must improve to bear fruit.  We must overcome the past.
  • Air Force Veteran.  Each Board Member has a reponsibility.  Organizations usually fail from the inside
  • Please Explain the Macon Miracle.  There is no room for personal agendas.  We need drastic changes.  We must trust somebody. 
  • I Want The Best For My Boys!!!  I would submit that this speaker was the most brief in comments, yet the most powerful.
  • Sorry You Missed the Students This Morning.  This comment was made in view of the fact that Dr. Dallemand did not meet with the over 200 High School Students who had assembled in front of the Board of Education Offices.
  • Some Good Points in the Plan.  The current situation at Northeast High School is causing citizens much concern/grief with the Bibb School System.
The Board approved the selecton of Mr. Joseph Hicks as a new Coach at Central High School.  I left the meeting as the Board went into Executive Session to discuss Personnel Matters/Future Acquisition of Property/Pending. 

The meeting started at 6:00 P.M. and accomplished the recognition of Scholars and listening to the speakers in two hours.  A very useful meeting in that it allowed the Citizens of Bibb County to speak out and also very useful in view of the recognition provided to forty-six Scholars in the Bibb System.

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