Very concerned and hurt how Dann C Byck is looking. It needs a whole new make over. The school looks so bad that the children have nothing to look forward to. We want our children to have Hope. They can’t at that school. Every door needs to be painted, the windows look bad and curtains are falling down. The principal should be ashamed of herself knowing that her salary looks good. But her school looks bad. Please Help our school. I am hurt Thanks, Vanessa Goodwin
XXXXXX is a school in need of something. My child attends there and wants to learn but tells me everyday how disrespectful the kids are to teachers and some teachers spend half their class time trying to gain control of the class.
My daughter has a class with a teacher who can barely speak English and has repeatedly asked to be transferred to another class but it was refused..however a child of another race was transferred out who tells the same story about this teacher..2 different periods where half the class is failing.
I have contacted the counselor and requested my child be transferred still not happening..I’ve contacted the board with my concerns and was told they’d be forwarded to the principal..a week later still no response. My child has a 504 that clearly states her problems and it goes ignored… My child is falling through the cracks here and nobody seems to care…i guess she has to fight a teacher to get attention (sarcasm)..the focus seems to be on all the bad kids there..
Iroquois is not on fire. You are! Bring your buckets of water if that’s what you think because you’re a liar with your pants on fire.
Our school isn’t perfect. You won’t find one that is. Sometimes we have above average challenges and at all times we have an above average staff to meet those challenges. If you’re actually on our staff, Anonymous, you are the weakest link. Transfer season opens in three months and I’ll do your paperwork for you, will gladly help you pack, and hold the door for your tired behind to leave quickly, quietly, and reverently.
You’ve attacked my wonderful principal, our dedicated counselors, our committed staff (amongst whom are proud alumni), and worst of all, our students. You see, my own children, scores of extended family, and all of my godchildren were educated at Iroquois. My son was valedictorian and graduated magna from UofL. Professors couldn’t believe he’d graduated from Iroquois. I could. It’s a great school where, without regret, I’ve dedicated 20 years of my life. I’ve never had a bad day there. Challenges? Yes. I signed up for public school and everything that comes with it. I love my school.
What peeves me about you, Anonymous, is that you choose to hide behind your words. I would not normally give such messiness the time of day, but you attacked something dear to me—my school. You attacked someone dear to me—my colleagues and students.
Stay comfortable in your misery, sad person, because what’s said in the dark will come to the light. But before you post again, let me go low for a moment. According to my writing scoring rubric, I would like for you to work on the following—this one’s on me:
1. Organization is key. Group your rambling thoughts coherently. 2. Though we could understand your miserable letter, transition words would make it a smoother read. If you’re going to insult us, at least smooth out the wrinkles in your pig’s ear. 3. Ramp up your vocabulary to better represent the best of your thinking—unless your vocabulary as presented actually does represent your level of thinking. In that case, sign up for Iroquois where we will teach you to strengthen, well, everything you’ve written. 4. Use concrete examples and skillfully interweave them throughout your writing. Tie in example, explanation, etc. Give your audience a full picture to prove you know what you are writing about. Try not to “list”. 5. Be truthful in your writing. Authenticity is also key. 6. Own your writing with a closing that includes your signature and printed name.
If you are amongst us at the school, you have lost the respect and trust of your colleagues. Maybe you need a hug. Maybe you need Jesus. I don’t know. But what I do know is, while our school is not for every teacher, our school is for every student. We value Iroquois and, like any commitment, we take the ups and the downs with grace. And for those of us who are committed, and I’m included in that number, it has been and it remains a distinct pleasure to work for everything Iroquois.
A teacher sent us this additional background on the cell phone issue.
Our cell phone policy is contradictory and ineffective. The directive at the beginning of the school year was that cell phones were completely banned between 7:30 and 2:20. They were not allowed in hallways during passing, not allowed at lunch, not allowed in classrooms. Teachers cannot make exceptions for educational purposes.
If students are on their cell phones, we are supposed to warn them that they are not allowed to be on their cell phones. We are to warn them even if we warned them every day for the last month. If they continue to use their cell phones, we can call for a staff member to come get the student. The student gets to choose whether they want to give up their phone for the rest of the day, or keep their phone and go to ISAP. We must also call the student’s parent if this happens.
There are a number of loopholes in this system. First, it’s tough to keep track of who you have given warnings to today and who you haven’t. It takes extra time out of class to manage that. If a kid gets on their phone anyway (and they usually do, since there’s no effective consequence), then we have to stop class to call for someone to come to my room. We then have to deal with the disruption to class that will cause. Students have learned that the last 5-10 minutes of every class is a free-for-all because there isn’t enough time for someone to come get their phone before the next class. The last class period of the day is the Wild West because worst case scenario if they take your phone, you’ll get it back in a few minutes anyway.
We are supposed to enforce the policy in the hallways during passing. The way this works is the kids walk down the hall with their cell phones in hand and ear buds in their ears. Teachers tell them to put them away. Half of them put their phone down until they’re a few steps past the teacher and then get right back on it. The other half ignore the teachers altogether. Either way, there will be no administration enforcement so the exercise serves no purpose except making teachers look futile and powerless.
The day after the incident with the teacher at Iroquois, I kept track of my class with the worst phone issues. Students were working on group projects. At the beginning of class, I told students to put their phones away (this is how I have to start every class, since there are usually quite a few in use after the bell despite the ban). I gave the class instructions on what they should be doing, and told them that anything requiring technology should be done on the chromebooks I had checked out for their use. I again repeated that students should not have cell phones out for any reason (it’s November but I still have to explicitly state this classroom expectation that has not changed since August). Within the first five minutes, I had to warn EIGHT students to put away their cell phones. By the end of class, TWELVE phones had to be confiscated in a class of 27 students.
The next day, it starts all over again. The same kids who were on their phones the day before have to be told again that it’s against the rules, and to put their phones away.
Every day, they get angry and offended by being told to put their phones away. The warnings just tell a kid how long he can stay on his phone before the possibility of a minor consequence might occur. It’s exhausting to keep up with. But God forbid you don’t give a warning to that kid that you’ve had to tell to put their phone away every school day for the past four months, because if you don’t then the kid, the parent, and admin will raise hell with you.
It doesn’t matter how engaging a lesson is, the kids wouldn’t notice because they’re blasting their music and messaging their friends on snapchat. Every time I tell a kid to put their phone away, every time I call to have their phone taken, I know I’m running the risk of disrupting my class, or setting up a violent reaction. Best case scenario, I’m losing precious minutes of instructional time pursuing a policy that is not working.
I am scared for the future of Black children in Louisville. School was an empowering experience for me, but my son is treated like a number in a prison. The ClassDojo app is revealing serious implicit bias and I am disappointed at the apathy surrounding the motivation of him and his classmates. I’ve witnessed adults yelling at children on multiple occasions. I’ve witnessed a teacher dragging a child out of a classroom on more than one occasion. I see our advanced children be forced to do”busy work” while exhausted teachers “discipline” other children. I am sad about the state of our schools. We can and we MUST do better for our young people. My son’s school has no PTA. I love the principal and appreciate many of the staff members, but overall I am concerned that our children and being discarded like trash.
Louisville Judge sides with Dear JCPS co-founder. Orders JCPS to release PTAs’ financial records to the public.
“In these challenging times, as educators and decision makers explore the glaring inequities in our district and seek ways to resolve them, Dear JCPS wants to make sure every student has an advocate in their corner — especially our most vulnerable students.“
District leaders are to be commended as they grapple with tackling glaring disparities in the current student assignment plan, closing achievement gaps, and reducing behavior and discipline inequities. In addition to these visible inequities, there are often unseen disparities among parental involvement, volunteer and community participation, and fundraising between schools primarily comprised of students whose parents have the social, political and financial capital to advocate for their students to ensure they attend “the right schools,” while those whose parents lack the time, transportation, technology or literacy to navigate the complex system of “choice,” do not.
To that end, Dear JCPS co-founder, Gay Adelmann recently made a routine records request of the largest school district in Kentucky (27th largest in the nation), to obtain copies of local PTAs’ financial records for the past 5 years. These records, which, according to the “Redbook” are required by Kentucky law to be filed annually with each school’s year-end audit, consist of a preliminary budget and a one-page year-end financial review. Her hope was to identify schools that might benefit from a little extra help with programming or fundraising and raise community awareness so that these disparities could be taken into consideration while the district is actively tackling the bigger picture issues.
As often happens when records are held in multiple locations, or when district personnel are unavailable during summer break, the district notified Adelmann that additional time would be required before these records would be made available to her. They informed her she would receive the documents on August 30.
On August 12, Adelmann received an email from Kentucky PTA attorney Coy Travis informing her that his client had filed a complaint in district court to seek injunctive relief in order to prevent the district from turning these records over to her. A hearing was set for August 15 in which she was invited to appear.
With less than three days to prepare, Adelmann sought counsel from pro-bono attorneys and open records experts. They helped her prepare this brief, which was filed during the hearing, but none were able to accompany her in court.
At the hearing, Judge Cunningham was critical of the Kentucky PTA’s request but decided to defer the decision to the Attorney General’s office, in the event all parties were not be able to work out an agreement before then. Adelmann, without an attorney to represent her, trusted the Judge’s decision, and agreed to meet with Kentucky PTA attorney after the hearing to see if they could come up with a mutually beneficial solution. He assured her he would try to help her obtain the documents as long as she asked the “right way.”
Amye Bensenhaver, a former assistant attorney general for Kentucky and a widely recognized open records expert, during this week’s episode of Save Our Schools With Dear JCPS on Forward Radio 106.5 FM said, the Attorney General should never be put in the position of telling an organization NOT to release open records. His job is to get involved when entities SHOULD release documents but are refusing to do so.
Upon further consideration following last week’s court decision, it appears Judge Cunningham agrees. On August 27, as these court documents show, he sided with Adelmann and filed an order for JCPS to release the documents. Kentucky PTA has until September 16 to appeal.
At a time when privatizers are trying to get in through every nook and cranny, influential entities such as Kentucky PTA should be dedicating resources toward revealing predators and exposing their influence. This lawsuit does the opposite.
How much money and time is this lawsuit costing their dues-paying members and taxpayers? More importantly, where was this level of activism when charter schools, vouchers and loss of local parental voice on SBDMs were on the menu? In the past 10 years, only one resolution has been passed at the Kentucky PTA annual convention, and it was one that was initiated by Adelmann.
“This district is taking great steps toward addressing disparities that exist between our school communities. One of those less-often-seen inequities is the availability of parents’ time, talent and treasure,” said Adelmann. “The PTA should be helping us fight undue influences that promote and maintain inequities in our school system, not facilitating it.”
Transparency is the only tool we have to ensure that those with money and power are not using it to advance their agenda while others cannot. As a powerful, influential entity themselves, we have to ask, “What is Kentucky PTA trying to hide?”
I am a very engaged public school parent in Jefferson County. I want to warn you about something happening in Lexington this weekend. Kentucky PTA is holding their state convention, and along with it, their officer elections.
For example, there have been unaddressed reports of excessive Redbook violations, election tampering, inappropriate use/handling of funds. Some active volunteers have been called “uncooperative,” “ineffective,” “disobedient” or “disloyal” when they refused to do the administration’s bidding, even if it went against Redbook or the best interest of their students.
The current state PTA president, who also hails from Jefferson County as the past president of 15th District PTA, once along with her husband and father held positions on the board simultaneously. Therefore 3 of the votes and 3 of the points of view guiding decision-making came from one shared perspective. Her husband is one of the candidates being challenged on today’s slate.
Our district PTA’s immediate past president, who also served as the state PTA’s nominating committee chair that devised the above slate, is another one of those candidates, and is also being challenged.
Serving as a PTA volunteer leader is an exhausting, thankless job. We are grateful for the service of these leaders, and in fact, I would not be here today if it weren’t for them. However, we feel that our board is no longer reflective of the needs and demographics of our district, and its time to take a different tact.
National PTA is Pro Charter
Perhaps one of the reasons this is happening is that National PTA is pro-charter. And in this climate of charters, vouchers, state takeovers, and SBDM power stripping, we would be naive to dismiss the possibility of pro-charter leaders. I’m not saying that’s what they are, but if they are not, why don’t they have the courage to push back on National PTA for their controversial stance that harms Kentucky children? To educate and inform their members so they can stand up for our children?
I served on the 15th District PTA Board in Louisville from 2014 to 2017. I constantly warned fellow board members about the likelihood of charter school legislation ahead of the 2017 session and the destruction they have caused in other states. In late 2016, I made a motion to simply “educate and inform PTA members about pending charter school legislation.” It passed. However, months went by and no action on this motion was taken by PTA leadership at either the district, state or national level. We weren’t asking them to take a position, just educate! They finally published the National PTA’s position on charters. That’s it. Session ended in March and guess what! The ALEC-backed legislators got their charter school bill through in the final hour on the final day. Don’t you think that might have ended differently if PTA had found some way to advocate for Kentucky’s most vulnerable school children, who will be most harmed by this legislation? Would we still be fighting against vouchers and a funding mechanism this upcoming session? I don’t think so.
Members Have Another Choice
I and another JCPS mom have decided to run from the floor at this weekend’s election, in order to give members another option. We realize that most parents can’t afford the $75 late registration fee, $129 in hotel costs, ability to take two days off work, etc., so we’re attempting to represent those who cannot be there. We just want you to be aware, get involved, ask questions, and help us ensure PTA is serving all of Kentucky’s children, especially those who don’t have advocates at the table. It’s our moral imperative.
Gay Adelmann is co-founder
of Dear JCPS and Save Our Schools Kentucky. Her son, Peyton, graduated from a
so-called failing school in the West End of Louisville and is now a senior at
the US Naval Academy.
I understand JCPS legal counsel has issued a “hands off” directive regarding oversight of external organizations.
And hand’s off is fine as long as principals and administrators are told the same thing.
But they’re not, and that’s problematic.
I understand that we are under intense scrutiny from the state. Criticism from the audit revealed that our board may have been overstepping in this regard. And we have an upcoming audit and we don’t want anything that could lead to additional state criticism that could potentially lead to state takeover.
I get that.
However, couldn’t excessive Redbook violations, election tampering, Inappropriate use/handling of funds, etc. also leave us vulnerable?
We’ve heard reports from some members who have been called “uncooperative” or “ineffective” when they refuse to do the administration’s bidding
We’ve heard reports of Nepotism, squatting in positions for decades, election tampering, cycling thru positions from school to district to state and back, sometimes in schools where they don’t have children, again, when there are authentic parents wanting to serve.
These organizations could be changing bylaws to allow them to extend term limits, hold clandestine elections and limit who can vote, while changing rules in order to shut out voices of authentic parents and volunteers.
These external organizations have access to our students and their families. They have access to district resources dedicated to them in terms of staff, office space, materials and production. are assured representatives can serve on committees, and are named in documents that govern the oversight of elections that can impact school policy and hiring.
They are not subject to open records. They could be holding vendor fairs in your schools, charging fees to the vendors and not delivering what is promised. Some could be manipulating external organizations to achieve financial means that are disallowed by school and district activity funds.
And they are holding inaccessible elections that are not democratic. For example, one organization’s state convention is this weekend, if you want to vote for officers, you have to pay a $55 registration fee, take time off work, drive to Lexington, pay another $129 in hotel fees, etc.
Who, I ask, is voting for these officers that are supposed to be representing all of us? Do they represent all of us? Or only some? What about our most vulnerable?
Some of these organizations are not racially reflective of district makeup, some of these organizations are pro charter, or at least not anti privatization.
We would to naive to not consider possibility infiltrators. We are allowing these organizations to use our kids to make money and push an anti public school agenda. These organizations should be focused on kids learning. How do we gauge their effectiveness?
Not every organization is bad. Not every volunteer is an infiltrator. Not every administrator is corrupt. In fact, 99% of them are good. But we’d be naive not to realize that some of them have found ways to exploit the system to their own advantage. To take advantage our our children, especially our most vulnerable populations.
And our board has been elected to represent us, and therefore protect us and our children.
And you have a handout from Redbook that says:
The school or district, with approval of the local board of education, may establish additional guidelines/requirements for the external support/booster organization.
Listen to speakers at the last JCPS Board Meeting here:
The current climate of Kentucky and JCPS schools has been changing, in ways that can be positive for the future of our students. More parents, guardians, and students are speaking up every day to be involved and included in the decisions that affect our families’ lives. We’re seeking to create an environment where every voice included, welcomed and encouraged. This climate is creating an amazing revival in family involvement. Now Dear JCPS is taking our focus to the 15th District PTA Elections.
For the first time ever in the 15th District, there were enough parents wanting to be serve on the Executive Board that there were challengers to several positions. In this first test of how a “delegate” plan for managing contested elections works during the 2019 15th District PTA Elections, there were several issues that we would like to have addressed and changed for future elections. Our purpose, that should be shared by all, is to create the most fair and balanced system possible to elect a board that reflects the needs and experiences of all students in JCPS.
The current system for becoming a candidate for office for 15th District PTA is: a nominating committee of 5 existing members of the current/outgoing 15th District PTA Board for that year take applications from all interested candidates for that year’s election. From those who turn in paperwork to run for office on the Board, only one person per position is presented as a “slate” candidate and is put forth as the preferred choice of the current Board. Candidate applicants that are denied the opportunity to run on the ballot, or who miss the original application deadline, have a second option to run at this point. They can request to run ‘from the floor.’
At the time of voting, “slate” candidates received favorable treatment above the candidates running from the floor and were printed in a bold font compared to the plain lettering of other candidates. In addition, “The candidates in bold indicate they are the 15th District PTA Slate chosen by the Nominating Committee.” was included in the official ballot directions.
Considering the barriers that make adding new voices to the ongoing and important discussions about how to best educate our kids, the following changes are requested for consideration to existing bylaws laid out in Article XII of the 15th District PTA :
Allow all qualified candidates who complete the application process for an elected office of the 15th District PTA to run for the office of their choice but limited to a reasonable number as to be determined by further discussion. If the scenario should occur that more than the predetermined number of eligible candidates wish to run for any particular position a committee comprised from schools under the elected office position in question may narrow down the candidate field for that position to the number limited on the ballot. This will ensure that every candidate receives equal and fair treatment in how they are presented for consideration by voting members and eliminates unfair advantages created by the current guidelines.
In creating a more fair and balanced election process, a secondary advantage is in further streamlining the election process is through elimination for the necessity of “floor positions.” We would move that one single window of 14 days be created in which applications can be submitted, with submissions closed at the end of that 14 day period.
To ensure that all members of the PTA are included in the decisions affecting their students, we move that at a period no later than 30 days prior to the application period opening all possible efforts are made to inform 15th District PTA families than elections are coming up, including and not limited to : call and text systems, social media, email, letters sent home with students. This will create optimal participation, which is the goal to guarantee all students are represented to the best of our abilities. This addresses a concern we have seen voiced by several parents that the majority of the families for the District are unaware of elections to begin with.
Initiate and create a process to ensure all efforts for diversity in 15th District PTA board to better reflect representation for all students. 54% of the 98,361 current JCPS students identify as non-Caucasian. With the candidates who were presented as preferred by the Nominating Committee, this was in no way reflected. This is a reflection the failure in our current system as whole to both recruit a wider and diverse pool of candidates and allow minority candidates the right to be chosen by fair election process of their peers to office.
The process for voting until the 2019 15th District PTA elections has always been done by vocal vote, in accordance to written bylaws. The change to a written ballot in this year’s election was due to the sole fact that for the first time there are candidates challenging those chosen by the members of a current/outgoing Board on the Nominating Committee. With this, bylaws limiting the way and number of people allowed to vote in the election were enacted to cover this scenario. Only 5 delegates per the 169 schools in the 15th District PTA were allowed at maximum to vote, along with a vote to each of the current Board members.
We heard from many PTA members that they had not been informed of the voting process at all, and were only made aware from sources outside of the PTA. This was combined with the fact that the announcement that a deadline for a finalized list of delegates allowed to vote from each school was made only 10 days prior to the deadline. Out of over 850 potential voters per current bylaws, only 168 delegates were named in time to be allowed to vote and out of that only 114 people cast ballots. This means that out of a reported (per JCPS) 27,674 15th District PTA membership, only a limited and select number of people constituting less than half of 1% of all members were able to fairly represent their wishes by voting. There were other multiple issues and concerns reported during the process for voting not limited to:
Members who wanted to be delegates and allowed to vote, to be told that their school delegate selections were already filled and that they would not be able to.
Most commonly that efforts made to let 15th District PTA members know that a vote was taking place in the first place was not effective, leaving the majority of members unaware there was an election. To ensure this does not occur again, we request that all efforts to inform all members of each Board election along with voting opportunities be made a period no later than 14 days prior to the election date, including and not limited to: call and text systems, social media, email, letters sent home with students.
Many schools submitting zero delegates with the lack of communication for all members and time constraints, therefore having absolutely no say in the future of the 15th District PTA leadership and direction.
Only allowing a maximum of 5 delegates per school selected at the sole discretion of one person in each individual (the PTA President of that school) does not allow a for a fair and accurate reflection of the wishes for all 27,674 members of the 15th District PTA.
Reports from registered delegates who were able to cast ballots feeling uncomfortable that current Board members and candidates were present in the same space where written votes were cast due to the lack of privacy while voting. We move to request that for all future elections all ballots be cast to the level of seclusion given for example as in the way a government polling station provides during election.
There were comments from delegates that voted who felt uncomfortable that members of the current Board had contact with ballots after a numbers were assigned and a list was generated to match ballots to the names of voters. We therefore request that once numbered ballots and corresponding lists of names are generated in future elections, that both are sealed until the time voting is open and only be handled by a neutral party not serving on that current board once sealed, unless a challenge resulting for the necessity for validate the votes are required or they are destroyed. This will protect the integrity of total anonymity in voting and concerns voiced that other PTA and Board members have the ability to see how an individual votes and therefore cause potential influence on how a vote is cast.
Beyond specific actions listed, we are calling for the voting process to be remade in a way that all members have a voice, not a select few. To make this a more fair and balanced process, we request that all meetings exploring ways this can resolved to the satisfaction of the majority of 15th District PTA membership be conducted as open and public, with all eligible members being granted the opportunity to attend and speak if they wish to.
In addition to the problems we have discovered that the current election guidelines create, there were several challenges specific to the candidates of this election that we would like to address. In the spirit of inclusion and fairness to all members, beyond our primary request and demand that the election process be updated in order to best reflect the true wishes of all 15th District PTA members we would like for it be taken into consideration that the election results from May 7th 2019 be set aside. We would request like any future changes we are asking for that all efforts be made to remove the biases created on the ballot itself by promoting some candidates over others to voters, along with addressing the specific candidate issues listed below and the serious failure to ensure adequate representation reflecting the diversity and totality of our District PTA membership was made in the representation of voters. Issues specific to this election and candidates included:
In the confusion and chaos created by utilizing “floor nominations” for the first time, a candidate who requested to run from the floor for the VP 5 position was instead placed on the ballot against another candidate also running from the floor and the candidate chosen and promoted over the floor candidates in VP 4. Not only did this give gross disadvantage to both floor candidates over any other as votes were likely split between them when they would not have been in the first place resulting in a far less chance of success, it gave advantage to the chosen slate candidate as this pretty much created an issue of canceling out votes that both would have gone to both women. Even more grevious of an offense, this also nearly guaranteed the elimination of half the minority candidates running for the Board before a single ballot was ever even cast.
After the final delegates were published, a set of new bylaws were passed to specifically prevent a floor candidate from being allowed to take office without completing a punitive and non-transparent appeals process, even if that candidate had won their race for President Elect. These requirements essentially guaranteed that this position would be won by one candidate, the one chosen by the current/outgoing Board members of the Nominating Committee to become the new President Elect.
Rules were enforced inconsistently. For example, a requirement for a form ID along with a PTA membership card was stated for the first time to be allowed to vote in the May 7th 2019 election, deterring some people that may have wanted the ability to vote but not in possession of both and ID and membership card. At the actual voting site, these 2 items that a member was required to produce on site before being allowed to cast a ballot was only checked for some delegates and not all voters.
In conclusion, we as members of the 15th District PTA are petitioning to address and correct a very long list of problems and concerns that have proven to be issues the way the current election process is written, now and in the future. The best way to ensure that the needs of all students in JCPS are best reflected and executed is to create a system that is inclusive of all members in choosing their leadership and direction of the future of our District organization. The more widespread and diverse parental involvement we have in our schools, the better the outcomes for ALL students. We urge you to sign this petition and share to send a message to the 15th District PTA Board that you share these concerns and believe that all member voices should be counted and heard, not those of just a small, established percentage.
Did you know Dear JCPS is 100% volunteer run and every expense is paid from our own pockets? But volunteers don't have unlimited resources, and burnout is high. If you think we are providing a valuable service, isn't it worth at least what you pay for your annual PTA membership? Please give today.
Submit an Open Letter:
One way to have your concern heard is to share it on our open letter forum. You will have the option to remain anonymous.