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VBOE wants to host CAP forum in Franklin

Published 1:38pm Friday, April 25, 2014

RICHMOND—Concerned that the Franklin public had not spoken on the Corrective Action Plan for Franklin City Public Schools, the Virginia Board of Education wants to come to Franklin.

VBOE President Christian N. Braunlich said the issue of community engagement is very important to the board, particularly in a situation like this.

“It is our intention to hold a public hearing before we vote, so we can hear what the Franklin city citizens have to say about the plan,” he said. “What ideas they may have that are not in there. Maybe there are ideas in there that weren’t such good ideas, that they want taken out.”

FCPS Board Chair Edna King favors the board’s visit, and said she and central office would work with Dr. Kathleen Smith, director of the Office of School Improvement, to set up a date.

“In awareness that we do need support, thank you,” King said.

VBOE members also had ideas toward improving the corrective action plan.

Dr. Billy K. Cannaday Jr. thought the superintendent didn’t just need to be the leader of the school system, but also the person who guides the board members in their responsibilities.

“It is very difficult, especially as a lay board because there are other parts of our lives,” he said. “If it is not an explicit part of the plan, you will find that you have not one superintendent, but 5-6-7-8-9 with the board members.”

Cannaday said being a school board member is a difficult job and members are responsible for a lot of information, so they need a good superintendent to make sure board members don’t unintentionally get in their own way. He compared it to what Dr. Patricia I. Wright, superintendent of public education, has to do with the Virginia Board of Education.

“She has to work with a lot of new board members on readying them to do their best work, and not do any harm,” he said. “It is not intentional, but it can happen. The superintendent needs to be the board developer.”

VDOE member Diane T. Atkinson had three areas of concern with the CAP. She wanted to beef up the sections dealing with principals in the area of leadership, making sure the lead turn-around partner is more involved with the CAP, and the biggest thing, the role of parents in the school district.

“The issue of parent engagement is very important,” she said. “I’m not talking about parents volunteering. I’m not talking about PTA. I’m talking about parents as partners in the education of children.

“Earlier, we had said it needs to be all hands on deck. One of the major hands needs to be parents.”

Board Vice President Winsome E. Sears also wanted the students to have a voice, and Braunlich thought that was a good idea for the public hearing that board will host at a later date in Franklin.

“The definition of public input is very broad,” he said, saying that it included parents, students, teachers, staff, members of the business community and other stakeholders.

The board president added that there was another important factor to remember — how this relationship is viewed.

“If we are going to help Franklin City Public Schools move forward collaboratively together, it has to be viewed not as Richmond coming down telling people what to do, but as Richmond talking and listening to the Franklin city community,” Braunlich said.

  • mason

    JustWondering, who is your intended audience? Because I agree with what you have written, I encourage you to communicate your concerns directly with the VBOE, as I think it unlikely that they read these blogs.

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  • JustWondering

    “If we are going to help Franklin City Public Schools move forward collaboratively together, it has to be viewed not as Richmond coming down telling people what to do, but as Richmond talking and listening to the Franklin city community,” Braunlich said.

    Sorry, but you need to come and tell people what to do. Case in point, if there was no parent or community attendance, input, or participation during any of he FCPS Board’s so-called hearings, why didn’t the board and superintendent take other actions such as hosting meetings in the community, at the schools, in conjunction with other school functions, in churches, etc.? Because the board thinks narrowly and the superintendent checked out months ago, just collecting a paycheck.

    Board Chair favors the visit and says she and central office will work with Kathleen Smith? Are you kidding? Central Office is a joke. Curriculum, HR and Special Education are running things (again, superintendent absent) and they are running them right into the ground. They are not truthful to the state about what they have done and are doing so who would believe what they say they will do?

    Atkinson wants to beef up the section of the CAP that deals with principals. Wonder what that means? Hope it means that they will get real support, guidance and timely communication. The division is so big I can see how Belle couldn’t get to them all and how the division struggles to communicate with them and three schools.

    And thank you for emphasizing true parent involvement, something else central office doesn’t understand, The effort being put into a reactive volunteer program with no deep thought about recruitment, training , and organized effort is a joke. And the elementary school has been plagued by a loose, thoughtless PTA president with a personal agenda for years so hopefully a stop can be put to this. The principal shut down some of her antics, but she is still off the hook.

    The strongest message in this article is that the superintendent needs to inform and guide the board so that Franklin does not have 8 superintendents (Belle + board). I suppose the board started taking actions because Belle didn’t. (Why are we still paying her?) that’s probably why Wade and Smith (central office) are so out of control too – super just letting them do whatever.

    Bottom line, VBOE come, tell us what to do!

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