DRAFT – These items will be voted on during the April Dear JCPS Board Meeting.
In order to accomplish the goals of our mission statement, we have identified 5 key areas that make up the vision of Dear JCPS, as well as specific action steps our organization has implemented in order to “be part of the solution.”
1. Stakeholder Input. Dear JCPS was founded as a response to continued decision making by district administrators and board members that appeared to be absent genuine stakeholder input, especially from teachers and parents.
Action: Dear JCPS engages in activities such as a presence at every board meeting, posting open letters from stakeholders on our website, conducting anonymous letter campaigns, sending email blasts, facilitating board members’ participation in “Shadow a Student” week, hosting coffee talks and mixers, and developing safe forums and “voice” teams for teachers, students and parents to provide and share feedback without fear of retribution.
2. Fully Funded Public Education. Dear JCPS and Save Our Schools KY believe every child should have access to a high-quality, fully funded public education. Therefore, we are opposed to anything that could take resources, attention and support away from public schools.
Action: We are actively monitoring legislation surrounding public education funding and publicly funded charter schools. We push for transparency and accountability in upcoming legislation, engage and inform constituents on these issues and encourage them to contact their representatives, as well. We will work to ensure prudent implementation of anything that would take resources away from, or distract from the need to address, the most vulnerable populations in JCPS.
3. Reduce Emphasis on “High Stakes” Standardized Testing. Dear JCPS recognizes that too much emphasis on high stakes tests leads to a resentful and non-collaborative environment, extremes at both ends of the spectrum giving too much power to those who win at a rigged game, squeezing out of deeper learning opportunities and wrap-around services and are disproportionately affecting at-risk students. Instead of teaching to the test, labeling and punishing students and schools, we want to see a return to an emphasis on a portfolio of skills, contributing to love of learning and creating lifelong learners.
Actions: Dear JCPS has made recommendations to administrators and legislators that include: banning all high stakes tests on grades K through 2, ESL and ECE students; limit the amount of time that can be spent on testing in priority schools; and inform parents of upcoming tests their students will take. We are interested in educating and empowering parents and students on the facts surrounding the frequency and appropriateness of high stakes tests, as well as their rights, responsibilities and repercussions surrounding refusal of the tests.
4. Early Childhood Education. Dear JCPS recognizes that many of the problems that exist in our schools today are a result of students in later grades requiring additional resources to get them to grade level reading and math. Emphasis on making sure students enter school ready for kindergarten and are provided the supports necessary to achieve the 3rd grade reading pledge in the district’s Vision 2020 statement are areas where we advocate.
Action: We are implementing a program called Ready 4K!, which sends text messages three times per week to parents of 3 and 4 year olds helping them prepare for Kindergarten.
5. Accountability and Transparency. Dear JCPS expects board and district decisions to be implemented with fidelity. Action: Our organization communicates with board members and district leaders to ensure this happens, attempts to resolve situations when infidelity occurs, and speaks at board meetings or with media when reasonable expectations have been exceeded.
Action: Dear JCPS continues to ask for updates, solicit feedback from stakeholders and policymakers, and shares this information at board meetings and on our website and social media avenues.