Chariho School Parents’ Forum

March 16, 2007

By request of Andrew McQuaide

Filed under: Chariho — Editor @ 6:32 am

To the participants and readers of this website: 

I would first like to applaud having open communication with one another about your concerns with the district.  Communication is key to keeping our concerns alive, and a place to rant and/or express our opinions is vital. 

However, I would like to make several suggestions to enhance your level of commitment to both these concerns and open communication. 

I would first suggest calling, writing a letter, e-mailing, or in some way communicating your concerns to other school committee members.  Their numbers and addresses are available in the Chariho Times.  To a certain extent this website is preaching to the choir, and again, that is important, but opening up your concerns to those less educated to your opinion is vital in furthering your cause. 

I am open and receptive to many opinions (something that my education at Chariho taught me to be), as I believe many other school committee members are. I ran because I am passionate about Chariho, and I appreciate people who are the same, regardless of their opinions. 

As for Barry Ricci: 

We are paying him far too much money to have him sitting at his desk all day searching for criticism and responding accordingly. If you are genuinely concerned for the education of our youth you would not advocate for his consistent (or any) response to this site. 

However, he will be the first to tell you his door is ALWAYS open.  If you are not inclined to meeting with him in person, he does have a phone (364-7575).  If for whatever reason that is a problem, he also has e-mail and can be contacted at bjric@chariho.k12.ri.us. 

I would however suggest that any and all correspondence with Mr. Ricci are signed by the author (as opposed to “curious resident”) for two reasons.1) If your opinion is worthy of your time, energy, and effort, then own it.2) We wouldn’t want Barry discussing our school policies, curriculum, etc, at great length with someone who may or may not be a resident (this is the WORLD WIDE web), as it would again be a misuse of your hard earned money. 

Mainly if you have enough time to post on this website, and care that Barry, myself, other school committee members, or even town councilors are privy to such information, please take the extra two minutes to copy,paste and e-mail it. 

Other ways to stay informed.-Attend or watch school committee meetings.  (Our meetings are generally attended by three people, two of whom are press, if you are in attendance you can be heard)-Review school committee minutes. (I will be requesting that minutes be posted on the district’s website)-Editorials are for the most part generalizations regarding a problem and usually only touch on certain aspects of a problem, not always the root.  If you are genuinely concerned regarding something you have read in the newspaper, please investigate further, and place a call, or e-mail a school committee member. 

I certainly agree that time is invaluable this day and age.  With time spent between college, work, family, and school committee (not always in that order), it is a wonder that we even have time to form opinions let alone express them.  I also believe communication is the key to a better society (and a better school district), but remember to take in everything with an open mind, and don’t be turned off by the opposition, I’m not. 

Thank you,
Andrew McQuaide
Charlestown Representative
Chariho Regional School District
School Committee

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6 Comments »

  1. It sounds like young Andrew is taking direction from Ricci. The rumor he was brought onto the the board by someone in the administration seems to make sense.

    Comment by Johan23 — March 16, 2007 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  2. I don’t know about that but I will give Andrew credit where credit is due. I don’t agree with him on all issues but he has been open minded in regards to the managment study Bob Petit has championed.

    Comment by cspf — March 16, 2007 @ 3:55 pm | Reply

  3. Mr. McQuade, Thank you very much for coming here and sharing your thoughts.

    I am curious at what you consider a “rant” versus expressing our “opinion”? I find the use of “rant” insulting and hopefully you simply chose your words badly? If you would please let us know which comments you consider “rants”, we would be enlightened? I suspect that those of expressing our opinions care deeply about the education of children and we offer our opinions with the desire that those in power, such as yourself, may take the time to consider our concerns.

    I am baffled why you would dismiss this forum so lightly? While Chariho taught you to be “open and receptive” to many opinions (my parents taught me), apparently Chariho didn’t teach you the amazing potential of modern day communication methods? Perhaps you are like me and attended Chariho pre-Internet, but if not, then Chariho failed in some respect if you are unaware of the Internet’s incredible ability to connect many people at one time.

    I am also stunned that you think it is a more efficient use of Mr. Ricci time to communicate with us all individually rather than come here and deal with issues for all to see and read. Or maybe he could create his own Internet forum? Imagine the possibilities – parents could be directed to a public forum where we could all read Mr. Ricci’s views on a regular basis. He could answer parents’ questions, and since many times parents think alike, I’m betting it would save him tons of time that could be spent elsewhere. How could anyone not be excited by this time-saving possibility?

    As for my residency, whether I am a Chariho resident or not has little bearing on the Chariho issues I bring to this forum. The curriculum is the curriculum; the bond is the bond…certainly you do not question Mr. Felkner’s residence status? Most of my comments are in direct response to the information he brings here. Besides, if I’m not mistaken, Mr. Ricci is not a Chariho resident, but I’m sure this does not diminish his desire to do what is best for Chariho children. I hope you agree?

    As for anonymity, oh well, sorry, but I do not trust government to protect my privacy or to treat me fairly. I hold no animus towards Mr. Ricci or the School Committee. I question whether my family would receive the same courtesy should I be known.

    This week I had a conversation with a local educator who was not happy with the TERC curriculum. When she discussed her concerns with school administrators they reacted as if she were personally attacking them and she was warned about insubordination. She keeps her mouth shut now.

    Apparently disagreement over curriculum has the potential to anger administrators. I see no reason to expose myself or my family to vindictive retaliation. My opinions, and the opinions of any citizen, should stand on their own merits. I find your attitude worrisome. If the issue raised is credible, then everything else is superfluous and I can’t think of any “good” reason why you or Mr. Ricci needs to know my name?

    As for attending meetings, I appreciate representative government as it allows me to express my opinion to elected officials like Mr. Felkner and if I can convince them to agree with me, they will bring forth our shared view in their elected position. I’ve attended government meetings many times, and frankly citizens have little chance to voice opinions with any specificity. We may have a sound byte society, but I’m not a big fan. Also, some of us are not good public speakers. We may do more harm than good when we attempt to express our opinions in a forum which is not suited to our communication style.

    I appreciate Mr. Felkner’s willingness to engage the residents he represents. This website must take up much of his time and it is indicative of his commitment to the education of Hopkinton’s children. I also appreciate your representation of Charlestown residents. I’m sure they would be thrilled if you overcame your aversion to broad based public communication and shared your perspective here. Or maybe even start your own communication website?

    Oh, and by the way, if you truly care about doing what is best for Chariho’s children, then we may disagree on specific ways of achieving the goal, but you can be sure that I am not your “opposition”.

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 16, 2007 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

  4. What is the management study that Mr. Petit has proposed?

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 17, 2007 @ 12:32 am | Reply

  5. Scott Bill Hirst first proposed the management study at the Omnibus meeting. Mr. Petit carried this over and proposed it at a school board meeting. It is still in development but essentially we want to look at how Chariho compares to other districts on certain measures – teacher to student ratio, administration to student ratio, special ed costs, etc…

    Basic stuff any CEO would do in a normal business. Look at how our “company” compares to our competition, with extra attention to how we compare to top performers.

    Right now, all we have done is send a letter to 5 companies that do this sort of evaluation. We will let them come back with proposals and go from there.

    To give Mr. Petit the proper credit, the idea was not well received. But after a “vibrant” discussion, we settled on at least sending out the info request letter.

    The concern will be how much will it cost us. But it should be looked at in the light of how much will it save us over the long haul.

    But like any business, the review of this information should have been standard operating procedure. But since it was not, we will have to develop it on the fly. Once the guidelines are established, we can continue the process in-house.

    Comment by cspf — March 17, 2007 @ 2:23 pm | Reply

  6. Sounds like a good idea to me. Beyond comparative data, would the analysis also include recommendations? I’m sure your description is purposely simple as to be understandable, but it doesn’t sound like this type of study would be expensive. Do we have any idea of cost?

    Does “vibrant discussion” mean resistance? If so, was there resistance from the administration or from committee members or both? Was the objections only about cost or did you sense they were afraid of what a study would reveal?

    I’m very disappointed that the meeting was not available for broadcast as I would likely know this stuff already.

    Comment by Curious Resident — March 17, 2007 @ 3:01 pm | Reply


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