******* LIES!!!!! LIES!!!!! LIES!!!!! *******

THE Colville School District LIED!!!!!!!

Transgender Policy in Full Effect NOW!

The school board said they would table the transgender policy until the Nondiscrimination Task Force came to a conclusion. That was a complete lie!

It was brought to our attention during the Nondiscrimination Task Force that there is already a transgender individual using the bathroom of the opposite genitalia at the Colville Junior High School.

Make no mistake. The proposed transgender policy 3211p that the board claimed to table is currently in full force and effect in the Colville School District.

What can we do now?

1. Board meeting tonight 6:00pm

Aster Elementary building, 217 S. Hofstetter, Colville

Come voice your concerns again because apparently they weren’t listening to you the first time!

2. Protect your children. Contact every school that any of your children attend. Demand that your children be allowed to use the faculty bathrooms starting immediately. Make sure that you state that the only bathroom you want your children to use is the private faculty bathrooms, and that they be allowed complete privacy during the usage. I would also suggest that you put it in writing so that there is no question as to what it is you are requesting.

If any child has an accident at school, is reprimanded for being late for a class because of bathroom usage, or misses any part of their education because of this, then the district is discriminating against or denying your child’s education, personal safety and/or medical needs.

3. Fill out a privacy form for every one of your children and hand it in to the school district immediately. Linked here. After you get to the page, click on “US (Non California) Students” to download the document.

When we fill out the privacy form, then the school is legally liable for any incidents that happen to our children on school property.

4. We as a community can boycott every community school bathroom. Whenever you go to a school district function, insist that you use the faculty bathroom. Line up at the bathroom even if you don’t have to go and make a scene every time you go in to the school district. Any sporting event needs to have the faculty bathroom available for use for every member of the public at all times. They cannot deny it to us.

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December 16 School Board Meeting Summary

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Colville School Board Discriminates

Against people speaking out on the Non-Discrimination Policy!

I would like to thank everyone who showed up to endure the abuse by our school board. It was not an easy thing to sit through while the board showed a blatant disrespect and disregard towards the people attending the meeting. Your presence at the meeting was very much appreciated and while the board may not have any respect for us, I certainly have an enormous amount of respect for the people of this community. When we show up in numbers, it absolutely has an effect on the board even though they try to pretend it doesn’t.

The board refused to bring in more chairs for the people standing during the meeting.

The board refused to bring in more chairs for the people standing during the meeting.

Before the meeting started, the police were called. Two officers responded, and joked about the lack of rowdiness of the crowd. They left shortly after arriving.

  1. The meeting was held in a room too small for every attendee to fit into.  With standing room only, many people spilled into the break room and out into the hall where they could neither see or hear the meeting. Some left in disgust which is probably what the board wanted in the first place.
  2. When asked, President Sid Green refused to move to a larger room or to provide more chairs, which were easily available.
  3. There was no microphone, so the speakers were difficult or impossible to hear for those outside the meeting room.
  4. President Green made an announcement about public comments: “If you are speaking about the Policy 3211 on the transgender students, we are willing to hear from you on this topic if you did not speak at the last meeting on November 18th. If you spoke at the last board meeting and have a desire to speak on another topic, you are welcome to do so. “
  5. President Green told people they would not be allowed to applaud the speakers – Several times when people tried to applaud, he rapped his gavel – no Applause, no applause!
  6. This is only about a quarter of the number of people who were trying to listen from the hallway.

    This is only about a quarter of the number of people who were trying to listen from the hallway.

    Director Moore insistently tried to silence one speaker because he spoke at the last meeting, however, he was eventually allowed to speak.

  7. The board was so inattentive to the people speaking, that one person had to ask for the boards attention.
  8. After 8 public comments, the board went on with their regular meeting.
  9. When department updates were presented, the board was courteous, laughed and giggled with them, engaged in multiple conversations with them, and then the board themselves led APPLAUSE for the people. Yes, the BOARD APPLAUDED their own invitees multiple times. (This is not something they normally do – it was a show put on for the public.)

The mood of the public before the meeting was excited, friendly and upbeat with quiet anticipation, but after the meeting was outright anger at the boards utter contempt and condescension of the people in our community. This is the same board that is completely puzzled why they can’t get more attendees to their meetings when they are trying to pass a levy.

I have seen this same treatment of the public several times over the past 6 years. This board seems to do everything they can to discredit and discourage people in the hopes that these people don’t return to future meetings and it usually works. I sure hope this time the people will stand up and not back down.

I will post the complete transcripts of the meeting as soon as I can type them up.

A photo of the board ignoring and disrespecting speakers. Directors Sumner, Newman and Green are looking at their laptop computers during an impassioned speech about keeping our children safe from rape. You can even see Director Newman manipulating her keyboard. The elbow of the woman speaking is shown in the bottom left corner of the photo with the black leather jacket.

A photo of the board ignoring and disrespecting speakers. Directors Sumner, Newman and Green are looking at their laptop computers during an impassioned speech about keeping our children safe from rape. You can even see Director Newman manipulating her keyboard. The elbow of the woman speaking is shown in the bottom left corner of the photo with the black leather jacket.

The same directors listening to a board invited speaker. They have all turned in their seats and are looking intently at the speaker. Director Newman is even smiling.

The same directors listening to a board invited speaker. They have all turned in their seats and are looking intently at the speaker. Director Newman is even smiling.

Directors Ohrtman and Moore have also turned in their seats to listen to the same speaker.

Directors Ohrtman and Moore have also turned in their seats to listen to the same speaker.

Public Comments

The public meetings of our elected officials are FOR THE PUBLIC. That is why there is a public comment section during the meeting, to have a spot in the agenda where the public can can have a voice. While the board does have the option to limit your time, they CANNOT shut you down because of the topic you bring up. To prove this, several speakers talked about the Transgender policy, and the board sat quietly listening.

In future meetings, I would suggest that anyone who wants to speak, fill out one of the half slips at the table with the sign in sheet, present it to the board, and then the board HAS TO LISTEN to whatever it is you want to say.

PARENT MEETINGS

A parent spoke with me last night about getting some community meetings together with just the public where everyone can speak who wants to speak. We are hoping our community can coordinate together in finding ways to deal with the board in future meetings, or maybe discuss other options that we have at our disposal. I think it’s a great idea, and hope that others will stay with us on this topic so that our children won’t be bull dozed by a handful of apparent activists who have occupied our schools. I will be putting up a post when we have organized a time and place for the meeting.

How Well Does Colville Know Superintendent Pete Lewis?

Lewis

It’s important to know the people taking care of the safety and education of our children. That’s why school districts do background checks on their employees. So as parents, we should know as much as we can about the number one person in charge of our children, Superintendent Pete Lewis.

Last Position Held before Colville: Superintendent in Fairbanks, Alaska

June 9, 2014 Lewis was FIRED from Fairbanks North Borough School District

  • “… he exhibited a total failure of leadership leading up to the sexual abuse of a student on school property.” (Link)
  • “demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to perform the duties expected of a superintendent, which has resulted in potential liability to the district …” (Link)

Fairbanks School Board President Haas went on to say Mr. Lewis had knowledge of:

  • 1. significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students
  • 2. failed to ensure others took appropriate action; and
  • 3. took inappropriate action himself.

*****

The superintendent’s unwillingness to perform his duties or inability to do them exposed students to harm and the district to legal vulnerability, the board said. Despite inappropriate student contact, Fowlkes received a glowing recommendation, Haas said.

Lewis allowed an employee to routinely work mornings and nights without being paid, putting the district out of compliance with federal wage and hour laws, Haas said, and fostered an attitude of disrespect toward the board that has permeated down to other staff members, Haas said. Link

*****

Mr. Fowlkes has been convicted of 3 counts of sexual abuse of a minor and is now serving time in jail. Fowlkes has also been charged with seven counts of sexual abuse of a minor regarding allegations made by a student at Hutchinson High School in 2014. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District has agreed to pay $920,00 to the family of this student.

*****Heidi Haas Video

Here is a video of the Fairbanks School Board Director talking about the Investigation of Claude Fowlkes III and showing her concern that the Colville School Board did not contact them for information about Mr. Lewis before hiring him. Link to Video

*****

June 11, 2014 Pete Lewis was HIRED by Colville School District as their Interim Superintendent (only two days after he was fired from Fairbanks).

December 2014 Pete Lewis was HIRED by Colville School District as their Superintendent. Normally a school district will keep an Interim Superintendent for a full year before hiring them full time. It is a curious thing that our Board chose to hire Mr. Lewis early.

Continue reading

A Slap in the Face, and Another, and Another!!!!

THE FIRST SLAP: The Colville School Board decides to create a policy to allow transgender students access to bathrooms of their gender identity choice.

Let me just say that I am short. Very short. It is uncomfortable for me to sit in chairs where my feet dangle – which is almost always. I do not get on a podium and ask people to only manufacture chairs that I am comfortable to sit in so that everyone else is UN-comfortable. That is patently ridiculous – and I’m sorry, but isn’t that what this policy is doing?

ANOTHER SLAP: The Colville School Board changes the wording of the procedure. Here are the changes with explanation:

Pete

This is the notice from Superintendent Pete Lewis indicating changes have been made to the Transgender procedure. Don’t get your hopes up folks. Continue reading

Parent Teacher Conferences

3340467206_4f1f87673f_z_flickr.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2015 was Parent Teacher Conference day. On the afternoon of January 26, 2015, I received a phone message reminder. It’s nice that the school sent a reminder, but sad that it was the night before.

I remember a day when schools actually had parents attend these days. They gave the parents a written notice with plenty of time for the parents to rearrange their schedule. Parents can’t just drop everything and take off with a moments notice, they need time to arrange with their boss, so they can take off work.

I’m also assuming the teachers can’t see every parent at the same time, so it seems like it would be more beneficial to give at least a weeks notice so that everyone could arrange their schedule.

But that’s just me.

I’m sure the school will say that the conference days are listed on the school calendar, so parents have already had plenty of notice and that’s a fair argument.

My point is that if the school is going to send a notification, it would be nice to have it at the very least on Monday, so parents have a couple of days notice instead of getting a phone message on the night before the scheduled day. It’s kind of hard to call your boss to get permission for a day off when your boss isn’t at work. Parents have very busy schedules, and don’t always put every date in their calendar, especially when it’s several months off.

In my mind, when the school sends a message the night before, it seems as if they don’t actually want to have parents attend.

7071223009_3c49174fcc_bThe school also says that less and less parents attend every year. Why is this?

– Is it because parents don’t care how their children are doing in school?

– Is it because parents are not properly informed?

– Is it because parents trust the schools more now than they did years ago?

– Is it because standards based grading means nothing to the parents or the children and nobody understands what’s going on anyway?

– Is it because conferences are during the day when parents can’t attend instead of at night when parents have free time?

– Is it because parents have much busier schedules now and can’t drop everything on a minutes notice?

Superintendent Pete Lewis Fired from Previous Position in Fairbanks

Fired_stamp_commons.wikimedia.orgThis post is informational for the good people of Colville. I believe it is important for this community to understand as much as we can about our new Superintendent. I find it important for people to know that Mr. Pete Lewis was fired from his last position in Fairbanks, Alaska for

“significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students”

handcuffs-294516_640To put it more bluntly, an employee named Claude Fowlkes III was arrested for allegedly raping a student multiple times on campus.

Prior to this, Mr. Lewis was made aware of multiple complaints that Mr. Fowlkes was grooming students. The action Mr. Lewis allegedly took was to transfer Mr. Fowlkes to another building without informing the principal of his past behaviors. This action by Mr. Lewis is what allegedly led to the rapes and to Mr. Lewis’ own firing.

Here is an excerpt from a Fairbanks article written on the KSL.com website  http://www.ksl.com/?nid=157&sid=29870313

The board cited a “total failure of leadership” by Lewis in the investigation and retention of employees, including Claude Fowlkes III, 34, a tutor at Hutchison High School who was arrested in March and charged with six counts of abusing a student at the school.

“Significant allegations and observations of ‘grooming’ and other alarming behavior with students were either not understood or were not dealt with in a serious manner,” Haas said in a statement signed by all board members.

Problems began at Fowlkes’ previous assignment at another Fairbanks school, Haas said, but the Hutchison principal was not made aware of them, Haas said.

Fowlkes from 2008 to 2014 was the subject of at least three complaints regarding conduct toward male students or minors. He violated district policy and engaged in inappropriate behavior with a male student at Tanana Middle School, the board said, but remained employed.

The superintendent’s unwillingness to perform his duties or inability to do them exposed students to harm and the district to legal vulnerability, the board said. Despite inappropriate student contact, Fowlkes received a glowing recommendation [by Mr. Lewis], Haas said.

You can find links to more informative articles at the bottom of this page.

5222712198_a24e1ba298_b_flickr.comQUESTIONS

– Do you as a parent feel our school board was honest with us in every way?

– Why did the school board hire Mr. Lewis two days after he was fired from Fairbanks, AK?

– Why did our board feel the need to rush in a superintendent to our district that had been fired for “significant allegations of employee misconduct towards students”?

– Should this community have been properly informed of Mr. Lewis’ past mistake before he was hired?

– Did our school board do a thorough hiring process, or was Mr. Lewis rushed in? (See post ‘Questionable Interm Superintendent Hiring’ https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/questionable-interim-superintendent-hiring/ )

– Did our school board skip the steps in their own policies that require them to inform the public of a superintendent or interim superintendent search? (Once again, see “Questionable Interim Superintendent Hiring post). If so, why?

– Did our school board rush Interim Superintendent Pete Lewis into a permanent position without a proper Superintendent search (according to school policies) before the public could be informed of Mr. Lewis’ past? (See post ‘Superintendent Hiring Procedures’ https://colvilleparents.wordpress.com/2014/11/26/superintendent-hiring-procedures/ )

– Do you, as a parent, feel comfortable with Mr. Lewis in charge of your children?

Continue reading

Why I Hate Standards Based Grading

15a30f91a0b84b7ac737c756e657813e_pinterest.comI’m not going to mince words here, I really do HATE HATE HATE standards based grading. Why? Because it explains NOTHING. The parents, children, teachers and even the administrators cannot explain exactly what a student has learned, or how well they have grasped the subject. Let me give you an example from one of my experiences:

When my daughter received her first standards based report card:

– We didn’t know what the grades meant.

– We asked our daughter what her grades meant to her and she didn’t know.

– We asked the principal and he didn’t know, he told us to ask the teachers.

– The teachers sent us lots of paperwork, but it didn’t really explain our daughters understanding of what she had been taught.

– We went to the administrators office and after a very long conversation using lots of fancy verbiage that we assumed was an attempt to confuse us, make us feel stupid, or make us leave, they finally admitted that they couldn’t tell us exactly what her grades meant.

End of Story.

What I can’t understand is how so many people believe something is wonderful when nobody can explain what it is or how it works beyond an incredibly generic and non specific concept. The people who love it will tell you it gives them so much MORE understanding of where a student is. Really? Then why can’t you explain my child’s grades when I ask for them?

Here’s another way to explain what’s wrong with standards based grading. Let’s look at the rubrics used by other schools to explain to their staff, students and parents how it works.

Rubrics for Standards Based Grading

I’m inserting links here because they all take a lot of room to explain.

http://www.minnetonka.k12.mn.us/academics/gradingandreporting/reportcards/Pages/GradingRubric.aspx

http://washburn.mpls.k12.mn.us/standard_level_grading

http://www.exemplars.com/resources/rubrics/assessment-rubrics

Pretty clear right? *sarcasm* Every school has a different method for grading. Why is this a good thing? Where are the “standards” in standards based grading?

My child receives a “4” in Washington, but an “8” in Minnesota for the same grade. And then you have different grading rubrics for different subjects. Talk about confusing on a grand scale. They expect us to understand something completely unexplainable – AND they expect our children to understand it too.

The school will run you around with so much double speak on this subject that you are supposed to leave feeling like they are so much smarter than you. It’s not true. I am not stupid and neither are you Do not think you have to accept a ridiculous concept as having any kind of merit when it comes to your children’s futures. If they can’t explain what it means, then it has no meaning.

Grades are a tool used to measure a student’s understanding and knowledge. If a carpenter uses a fluctuating measurement system, anything they make would fall apart. So what good is a fluctuating grading system to our children? Will their futures fall apart if we keep standards based grading in our schools?

Standards Based Grading in Colville Schools (as explained to me in percentages): (if anyone at the school wants to contact me to tell me my chart is wrong, don’t bother.  I get different answers every time I ask and I don’t have room to put in a manual full of explanations – so this is my best interpretation with what I’ve been given.)

4 = 95% or better (A+)

3 = 60% to 94% (C- to A)

2 = 1 to 59%  (D to F – or student wrote their name on the paper.)

1 = Fail

As you can see, the majority of the students will receive a 3, which is anywhere from a C to an A.

The school will tell the parents;

“Your child is doing good, they are getting a 3”.

Well, what the heck does a 3 mean in the first place?

Is it an “A”, a “B”, a “C” or “Nearly failing”?

That statement is worthless when the value of the three is meaningless.

So standards based grading is great if you just want to get through school, but for those students who want to excel, it is bewildering and frustrating on every level.

My son was always grade conscious, but when they went to standards based grading, he didn’t understand his grades anymore and nobody could explain them to him. He became frustrated and apathetic because he didn’t understand what was expected of him and what he WAS doing no longer had any meaning.

For the rest of his school career, he just muddled his way through by pleasing the teachers. This ridiculous system taught him to just ‘do as he was told’. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with actually learning (or teaching?) the subject matter – which is what we thought school was for in the first place.

ANOTHER ANNOYANCE: Continue reading

Bully Petition – Transcripts of Public Comments from School Board Mtg.

TranscriptsThe school board held a regular meeting on March 26, 2014 to address the Bully Petition.  One of the things they discussed during the meeting is a survey that was taken at Colville High School. After the board discussed the survey, they turned to the large grouping of community at the meeting for input.

A few interesting notes about the meeting:

– Many ASB students showed up.

– While the room could hold quite a bit more people than it was set up for, I could not get any school board director to organize it so more people could sit down. I asked them to get more chairs because there were people standing up and people spilling out into the hallways. I asked Director Krista Ohrtman to help get more chairs so people could sit down and she said she wasn’t sure she had the authority do do that. I asked Sid Green for help and he said, “That’s not my job.” By the way, any director has the authority because it’s their meeting. I have seen many more people sit in that room than what it was set up to accommodate for this night.

In my opinion, the board sure seemed to be trying to keep people out of the meeting, or uncomfortable enough to want to leave. The bully incident was scheduled fairly far down on the agenda and didn’t start for nearly an hour. That means, the board left many people who wanted to speak standing for well over an hour. I consider this reprehensible behavior by the board because you never know when someone has a medical condition that makes it difficult for them to stand. The individuals sitting in the hall had a lot of trouble hearing what was going on in the room and weren’t able to speak. Seems like if the board wanted the discussion to be heard, they would have accommodated everyone equally, but that’s just my opinion.

Incidentally, I have since found that a person can do a “Point of Privilege” and ask the board to accommodate these individuals per the Roberts Rules of Order:

Point of Privilege: Pertains to noise, personal comfort, etc. – may interrupt only if necessary!

I also found this on the Attorney Generals page: http://www.atg.wa.gov/OpenGovernment/InternetManual/Chapter3.aspx#.VIBnlMlS9Rk

While the OPMA allows the public to attend all meetings, it does not allow for the possibility of insufficient space. Presumably, if a nearby location is available, the governing body should move there to allow attendance.

– As an FYI – I gave up my seat for someone else to sit in and sat in the hall for the meeting, so I wasn’t able to speak.

As always, I apologize for mistakes with anyone’s names.

School Board President Sid Green Ok (garbled) go on. (Inviting public comment). Paul?

Paul Brozik One thing I would say would be that – One thing that happened at the high school would be that when doing survey’s with the students is that for one, the teachers take them more seriously and the students take them more seriously to know that there really is an issue in the – possibly by doing this – by putting the (garbled – excessive audience noise on tape) complete.

Sid Green The whole idea is we put the survey out there, whether they take it seriously or not, we can’t force them. You know, we can’t sit behind them and say take it seriously. And you’re going to get that.

Student Plus isn’t the whole idea of there being an issue still kind of speculative at the moment? That was one thing that raised the concern in the first place.

Sid Green Whether there is an issue?

Sid Green That’s …

Sid Green You don’t think there is?

Student I personally don’t. I love all of my teachers, I interact with them amazingly. I have no problems. Continue reading

Bully Post

bullying_01_gopixpic.comI believe bullying in the Colville School District is an issue that needs to be addressed. Bullying can come from students, teachers, staff or administration. If you have a story about bullying that you would like posted, please contact me.

For this first post, I would like to discuss a bully situation that was widely discussed in our community. In February of 2013, a very brave student named Paul Brozik addressed an issue he was having on change.org. I have posted the text of the petition at the bottom of this post along with the link.

I think it’s very important to know how our school board addressed this issue. In short, I believe they buried it.

– The board had a “non” meeting to talk with the public. This means that they spoke with members of the public, but did not have a quorum of the board (3 or more members) attending, so that they did not have to post minutes of the meeting.

– The board spoke with Mr. Brozik and his family about the issue in an executive session. Our board members believe that anything they discuss in executive session may never be talked about again, so this is how I believe they muted themselves.

NOTE: Many public organizations will release minutes of their executive sessions, so it is legal for the public to know what goes on in executive session. If a public records request is submitted for executive session documents, those documents fall under the open public meeting laws and they must be turned over to the public. Unfortunately for the public, our board does not take minutes in executive session and doesn’t share the minutes or the documents – at least they have not shared them with me when I have put in a request.

– The board allowed comments in a public meeting and the subject has never been brought up again.

– I don’t have any information about reprimands of any kind. All I know is the teacher is still teaching at Colville.

I personally like the teacher discussed in this bully incident, so I was disappointed to hear she might be bullying other students. During the “non” meeting/public discussion there were several conversations about teachers that some people thought were bullies and other people thought were great teachers, so there seems to be quite a big divide in some cases with individual teachers.

As children, both my husband and I were bullied by teachers. My children have been bullied by teachers. In my opinion, my family and friends are continually bullied by the Colville administrators and school board, so bullying is one of the reasons I started attending school board meetings regularly. I have started this blog to communicate this information to the community. There have been many times that I see one thing happening, but the public is told another by our district, or the information is buried so the public cannot see it. It’s time to have all sides of the stories are out there for everyone to see. This petition is a huge part of getting the word out to the community. The petition explains the bully incident best and the multitude of comments below the petition add quite a bit to the story of bullying in the Colville school district.

Petition Text and Comments https://www.change.org/p/colville-high-school-fix-take-care-of-unprofessional-teaching-and-unjust-practices-at-chs
Continue reading