The Truth about Garvey - Parents' View

I'm a Garvey parent. I agree with the sentiment and points articulated by the parent above. Thank you for standing up for so many parents and families.

Other side

Thank you for speaking for the other side and a lot of parents who are unable to because of lack of courage, intimidation, schedules, language barriers, or other reasons.


The Truth about Garvey - Parents' View

Another Garvey parent concurs with this parent.

Garvey Parent View

Since my name was mentioned on Facebook on the blogspot connected to this comment. First, my views on these issues are NOT based on "who is right" (the teacher or management). They are based solely on sound educational philosophy. I feel that spending time on money on promoting educational methodologies that are NOT new and in which teachers have received CONTINUAL training over the past seven years. Further, was it necessary to spend $50,000 on bringing "trainers" in from Arizona and housing them when the County Education Office has many experts available who can provide the training for little or no cost? Second, why are certain teachers being ridiculed for not getting the raining when they were not given the chance to get it? The September training allotted about 60 slots to our teachers. Over 100 signed up. Those not afforded the chance to participate were promised a "second round" - something that hasn't occurred yet. Yet the complaint is that our teachers are "..too lazy" to get the training! Is this fair?? Third, there ARE forms of management other than "top down" - just look at Steve Jobs! Some form of "Collegial Management" is being practiced in hundreds of corporations throughout the world. Many blogs of education leaders continually discuss how collaborative management of school produces much more positive results in the success of students! Finally, former Superintendent Peterson is accused of "kicking the can down the road". Is instituting "Response to Intervention, "Professional Learning Communities", "Thinking Maps", and "Leader in Me" - all "cutting edge educational reforms - "kicking the can"? Is raising the District's API almost 200 hundred points in seven years - having all but three schools pass the required 800 level - "kicking the can? Is facing a 20% drop in school attendance - thus losing millions of dollars of state support of our schools- without massive cuts in employment "Kicking the can". I remind the readers, Ms Peterson was selected California "Superintendent of the Year" two years ago because she DID institute these changes! I challenge "garveyparent" to name themself, as I have, so this discussion can continue.
Bob Bruesch - Garvey School District Board of Education.

What is meant by dysfunction?

Garvey is not a perfect place by any stretch of the imagination, but being in "Program Improvement" does not mean a District is unsuccessful. This is not the place to debate the merits of "No Child Left Behind" and the validity of the title "Program Improvement." I also don't know when these "threats of state takeover" occurred. California is not even doing state takeovers in regards to PI status. What does "threats of state takeover" mean?

The District has become dysfunctional under Dr. Johnson's watch because there is no collaboration. There are many stakeholders in the District. Some include, parents, students, teachers, classified employees and administration. Dr. Johnson speaks with all the groups, but also works hard to keep these groups from talking to each other. Whenever they do meet together, the decisions to be discussed have already been made by administration. I have seen it firsthand.

She does not foster the concept of "working together." We are not a team under her leadership, we are all pieces on her chess board. Some are pawns, some might even move up to the rank of rook or knight, but she is the queen. Sometimes in chess, pieces are sacrificed for the end game.

In our current climate, tough decisions must be made, but making them in a vacuum without regard for the people involved is not my idea of "functional."

"It has been said..." Said by whom? Are they credible? Did they ever work with Ms. Peterson?

Whatever one feels about Virginia Peterson, she knew that other people were capable of having ideas and that we were all in this together. We all have the same goal in the end, providing our students with the best education possible.

We should all have a place at the table, not all be pieces in a game of chess.

Some who do not know me will pass this off as the President of the Teachers Union propagandizing his agenda. Nonetheless I am the duly elected representative of the non-administrative certificated employees of the Garvey School District.

Change is not necessarily bad, but the Garvey School District can not sustain itself if the stakeholders are continually pitted against one another.

Michael Drange
Garvey Education Association President

Searching for the Truth

On the blog “thetruthaboutgarvey.com” I am responding to “The Truth About Garvey (Parents View) for those that are interested.

The current dysfunctional nature of the Garvey School District is not really related to Program Improvement Status. The debate about the validity of “No Child Left Behind” is better left for another time and place, but being in “Program Improvement” does not necessarily mean a school is unsuccessful. The dysfunction comes from an inability to have meaningful dialogue. This system of separation and exclusion has been set up by Dr. Johnson. Have the parents and teachers ever sat down together at a meeting in which the District isn’t simply trying to prove its case? I know the teachers had a meeting with parents over Spring Break. They also plan more, and if administration and classified wants to attend, they will be welcomed.

I also don’t know what “state takeovers” are being referred to. The state of California does not take part in “state takeover” of program improvement schools. It is part of NCLB, but California has stated that option of NCLB does not apply here. If somebody is telling you that California threatened to take over any of our schools because of program improvement, they are misleading you.

What other types of management are there? Here are the most commonly referred to types of management. There are dozens more. You could look here for some insights. http://www.typesofmanagement.com/

1. Autocratic (This is top down)
2. Consultative (aka Paternalistic)
3. Democratic
4. Laissez-faire
5. MBWA (Management by Walking Around)

If you have only seen autocratic management in your line of work, I hope you get more effective managers in the future.

Virginia Peterson understood that people have ideas and by giving people a voice, the person at the top is much better equipped to make important decisions. People who live an experience every day are often well suited to speak towards improvements and deficiencies. As a teacher, there are things I have experienced that give me a unique perspective, but I would not be able to advise the cafeteria manager in any meaningful way.

Dr. Johnson behaves as if she knows everything about everything.

What decisions have been made that were necessary for student success? Name a few please. How is success being measured?

We have proof that the program of a double block of Language Arts at the intermediate schools is successful. Test scores have risen and the teachers at San Gabriel High School have stated (in a letter read at the last school board meeting and presented to the board) that Garvey students are coming better prepared. The Superintendent is cutting the double block for some of the students at both intermediate schools. The Language Arts Teachers at both schools (13 of 14 at their last meeting) oppose the move. They live it every day and might have some insight as to what works. The San Gabriel High School English department opposes the change. They have recognized a difference in our students since this program was put into place. This double block of Language Arts for all students was put into place before Dr. Johnson arrived. The state of California recommends in their framework a double block of Language Arts for all students at the intermediate level, yet Dr. Johnson is ignoring all this evidence as well as California recommendations, because she knows best. She is setting the table for failure, not success.

I can’t speak for individual children, but the ability to retain students has changed in recent years. (See AB 1626) For example, mandatory summer school before retention is needed. Garvey District has not even had remedial summer school for years. Parents also have to be part of that process. Were the parents visiting the school, talking with teachers and administrators over the years? I can’t speak to the issue without specifics.

Maybe the 5th grade teacher was not prepared because the Superintendent rammed through a multiple day training the week before school started, the same year the District adopted a new textbook in Language Arts. Instead of working with teachers and the textbook company before school started to be best prepared for the first day of school, Dr. Johnson was making sure her friends from Arizona were getting a trip to California.
(http://thetruthaboutgarveyparentsview.blogspot.com/2012/04/re-balance-li...) (http://www.thetruthaboutgarvey.com/2012/04/garvey-parent-blog-response-1...)

Maybe this isn’t the reason the teacher was not prepared to your standards, but the District has not been supporting teachers in trying to make them better, instead they tear them down. Ask some teachers about morale when the Superintendent comes to call.

The next School Board Meeting in the Garvey District will be on May 10th at 6:30. Hope to see you all there. Help save our community.