Chariho School Parents’ Forum

May 24, 2007

Analysis – RYSE

Filed under: page updates,RYSE paperwork — Editor @ 11:52 pm

 

I’ve decided to devote a permanent page to the RYSE program, obviously as a reaction to the information  and misinformation presented at the May 22nd meeting.  As Bill Day said, there were a lot of “discrepancies.” 

At this meeting, the board approved a contract for mental health services for the RYSE School.  We did not send this contract out for bid. 

Elaine Morgan, parent of a RYSE student, tried to testify on the services we were voting to purchase.  Bill Day, chair of the school board, ended the conversation after she told us that RYSE “forced” her to drop the clinical service from South Shore (funded by United Health Insurance) and utilize the services at RYSE (funded by the taxpayers). 

The reason she was denied the right to speak, according to Mr. Day, was because the Director of Special Education, Kathy Perry, disagreed with her testimony.  Thus the “discrepancies.”

The purpose of this website has always been to increase transparency and community involvement.  I will provide you with the same information that I have (with scans of related documents) and you can evaluate these discrepancies for yourself.  Hopefully, you will be encouraged to get involved. 

For more details, Chariho has written minutes of the meeting and a video tape.  They are both open to the public.  But please don’t expect them to make copies of the tape (we didn’t budget for this).   Maybe watch it there or obtain a copy from Cox.  Chariho should be able to provide the contact person.

Lets step back and  review how we got to this point.  Here is a brief outline and history of the RYSE program and the no-bid contract the board approved –

BRIEF HISTORY

In 2003, Chariho developed the RYSE School.  Before RYSE was developed, students who needed professional services were sent to various service providers in the community. 

According to documentation provided, these service providers were Bradley (South Kingstown & East Providence), South Shore Mental Health (Charlestown) and Forwardview (North Kingstown).

Some students were given a variety of services by a collaboration of agencies.  As an example, a student could go to Bradley for “day program” services (funded by school budget, ie. taxpayers) and at the same time receive clinical and/or evaluation services from South Shore Mental Health (insurance funded) and also get diabetes treatment at the local hospital (insurance funded).

RYSE was developed to provide all of the services “in-house.”  We still integrate in the community but the services are provided by RYSE staff.

I would assume there are some services we don’t supply yet but we have recently added the “Autism Spectrum Disorder” program, and the ”Elementary At-Risk” program.  We also now provide diabetes treatments. 

I have been open about my concerns over the RYSE School.  RYSE is advertised as providing “twenty four hour a day/seven day a week mental health services” for students “from other districts” with “serious mental and emotional health issues.”  

My concerns include:
1) I don’t think we should get into the “mental health services” business.
2) If we are in it, are we doing it efficiently and effectively?
3) the treatment model we use (MST) is designed for “serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders.”   We are the only school in RI that has a program designed for this population.  If DCYF wanted to relocate a group home, our district and community would be a likely location.  Furthermore, Chariho policy allows “out of districtplacements into RYSE with board approval. 

In 2003 the board approved the development of the RYSE School (note – there is some debate as to whether the development of this program without voter approval was a violation of the Chariho Act).  

But Chariho did it and now they needed to find someone to provide all of these services (all the services previously provided by the above list of community providers) and advertised for these services with this Request for Proposals (RFP). 

We received 2 bids :

South Shore Mental Health Center, Charlestown-RI, bid $276,000 and uses the community based model.   This model utilizes a collaboration of services in the community and is designed for a variety of populations.

Psychological Centers, Inc., (PC does not have a website) bid $420,000 and uses the multisystemic (MST) model.  This model provides “in-house” all  inclusive services and the program was designed for “serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders.”  

Here are what I see as the major differences between the two service providers.

Psychological Centers Inc. (PC),
1)     has been in business since 2000,
2)     is located in Middletown (outside of our district)
3)    
is an agency that utilizes a system designed for “serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders” 
4)      the treatment model has never been used in a public school before. 
5)      this model does everything “in-house” and subsequently completely funded by taxpayers 
6)      the treatment model research supporting its efficacy is cited in the bid, “the strongest and most consistent support (comes from studies) focused on violent and chronic juvenile offenders.”  I should also preface this by saying that MST Group, LLC., was the developer of the MST model and is also the licensing agency.  They are not a government entity and the certification is not a government (federal or state) certification.

South Shore Mental Health Center (SSMH),
1)      has  been in business since 1964,
2)      is located in Charlestown (in our district)
3)      this treatment model was not designed for a specific population.
4)      we had already done business with SSMH for 7 years
5)      utilized a community collaboration (rather than soup-to-nuts “in-house” services) that allowed insurance to pay for some services.
6)      the treatment model is supported by research cited in the bid.  
  

UPDATE: May 24 

The Chariho school committee voted to accept the $420,000 bid in 2003.

I will explain how we get from there to Tuesday’s $669,000 no-bid contract soon, but the “real world” has been keeping me busy.  In the mean time, here is the 2007 contract the Chariho school committee voted to accept. 

The RYSE School – Psychological Centers Inc., “No-Bid Contract, 2007

more to come…. 

 PS.  There were 8 other board members present at the meeting (Giancarlo Cicchetti and Holly Eaves were not present).  5 voted for the no-bid contract.  I know you visit the website.  Please post your comments or questions below in the “comments” section.

Please post comments on the permanent “page” here.  Not on this “post.”

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18 Comments »

  1. I have moved the comments posted here to the the permanent “page” here (https://cspf.wordpress.com/analysis-ryse/). Please post future comments on that page or on the pages dedicated to specific forms you are commenting or questioning.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 24, 2007 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  2. Just my two cents, but when I visit websites, I usually don’t do much hunting and searching…at least initially. While the posts themselves are excellent, I think you do a disservice to the usability of this forum if you don’t allow comments to remain on the front page. New visitors, and hopefully they’ll be many, may not always have the Internet acumen to look around for things.

    Your way is organized and logical, but take my word on this one, if comments are pushed off the main page, they will often not be viewed and public discourse will be lessened. As I said, I spend a lot of time looking around the Internet, and I just caught a comment by Ms. Capalbo from a few weeks ago because it was not readily viewable without going looking for it. I think many others won’t be as diligent.

    Take if for what it is worth.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 24, 2007 @ 10:47 am | Reply

  3. My only concern is that this “post” will not be on the top of the website everyday as “posts” are listed chronologically. The “page” will always be listed on the first page of the website.

    That being said, maybe I can just copy and paste so they are available at both the “page” and “post.” Solves both problems. Suggestion taken and utilized!

    Here are the comments originally posted here and are now also on the permenent “page.”

    1.

    My concern is that once a child is labeled ’special needs’ it is very difficult within the school system to solve the problem and unlabel the child. All children have special needs but these are generally handled by loving parents and compassionate friends, neighbors and others – and the child generally outgrows these ’special’ difficulties.

    I am sure there are children who are seriously and continually needful – serious autism, bi-polar, severe depression, schizophrenia, etc. These children are due the services the parents can provide (through insurance and Medicare), the school can provide (through taxpayer funding), and their community can provide (through compassion).

    The ProJo had an article this last Sunday concerning the over-labeled (especially minority – Hispanic, Black, Native) children in ’special needs’ in many towns around the state. These students are extremely expensive for everyone and the schools may indeed consider them a revenue stream as funding comes from the Feds and the State as well as enormously out of the pocket of all local property taxes from citizens. These funds do not help the average and high performing students – their needs are not met, the advanced classes and teachers are not created or hired, the classrooms are for 6-8 students instead of 18-20 students and the additional ’special needs assistants’ are overwhelming the budgets. At Chariho we spend approximately 20% of our 50 million dollar budget on these (possibly over-labeled) students.

    If a child needs the extensive help, we should give it. It is difficult enough to be the parents of these children and I am sure insurance and Medicare cannot cover the expense (emotional, financial, physical, etc.) they incur daily. But, the majority that can be helped and ‘unlabeled’, especially in elementary and middle schools, need to be returned to their classrooms and classmates without the label. It is embarrassing to these children and hurtful when teased — and children can and do tease unmercifully.

    I do believe that Mrs. Perry and her staff do a great job helping a number of students. But this portion of Chariho’s (and all other communities) budgets compounds annually by ridiculous amounts and percentages. RI Department of Education will be demanding more and distinct accountability for these bloated numbers of ’special needs’ labeled students. Parents should demand simple and low-key after school tutoring or speech therapy or whatever – not pull students out of class for ’special assistance’ or hover over them in class. Kids are not stupid and they know this isn’t normal which makes the problem emotionally worse.

    And as Bob Petit said at the last school board meeting — the state will probably reduce funding for everyone and by a large amount. The Hopkinton budget was reduced by $274,000 this year alone – and although these were school funds, the school didn’t take an iota of the hit. Richmond will be hit harder and Charlestown and Westerly absorbed the loss for their schools as well.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 24, 2007 @ 7:28 am | Edit This

    2.

    BC,
    You are correct on the number of student’s assigned IEP’s in our state. RI has the highest percentage of such student’s in the country (approx. 20%).
    While Chariho is lower than the state average, it is still high compare to the nation and we have virtually no (statistically speaking) students from identified minority populations typically associated with receiving those IEP’s. Furthermore, Chariho has a relatively low number of 1) single parent families, 2) families in poverty 3) head of family is unemployed, 4) head of family is a high school drop-out (factors associated with “at-risk” children). These numbers for Chariho towns are even low compared to our demographic peers (Westerly, Coventry, SK, NK, Exeter)..
    Also, just to clarify, the RYSE program probably does average about 5-6 kids per classroom but the classroom typically has more than one staff member assigned to it (teacher, teachers aid, etc..).

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 24, 2007 @ 7:35 am | Edit This

    3.

    I posted this yesterday, but it hasn’t appeared yet, so I’ll try again.

    Mr. Ricci is involved with a Southern Rhode Island group call SORICO. The stated mission (see below) seems to jive with the attempt to make the RYSE program suitable for housing many more students then Chariho’s needs. I don’t believe for one minute that there are not plans to fill the vacancies in RYSE.

    The Southern Rhode Island Collaborative Education and Training Center (SORICO), created in 1988 by the RI Legislature, is a regional service agency working with 9 school districts in southern Rhode Island. This includes 8 high schools, 11 middle schools and 33 elementary schools. There are about 23,000 students, of which 25% receive special education services. The nine districts include Block Island, Chariho, East Greenwich, Exeter/West Greenwich, Jamestown, Narragansett, North Kingstown, South Kingstown and Westerly.

    Our mission is “to develop and offer programs and services that meet the needs of its member districts when such services and programs can more effectively and economically be provided on a collaborative basis.”

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 24, 2007 @ 9:18 am | Edit This

    4.

    I posted some information on the Hopkinton RI Speaks blog (see below). In quick research on Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is is very clear that this program targets severe juvenile delinquents.

    I question the value of MST at Chariho? How many severe juvenile delinquents are in the RYSE program? I’ve heard the number 28 or 29 (Mr. Ricci being his normal fuzzy self), and find it hard to believe that we have that many severe juvenile delinquents at Chariho. This is the problem with the one size fits all approach and also why South Shore Mental Health’s proposal seems much better suited for a range of problems likely to exist in Chariho’s student population. Is it healthy for all RYSE students to be subjected to a program designed for severe juvenile delinquents?

    From my limited research of MST, it appears that Mr. Felkner’s concerns about Columbine-type anti-social behaviors is well placed. By selecting MST, Chariho is telling us that RYSE students are potentially dangerous to the community and other students. An MST conference (follow the link below) makes it clear that MST is used for children who engage in violent, criminal behavior.

    Here’s the post:

    Doing some research. The actual acronym is MST (Multisystemic Therapy). The approach is family oriented and according to informaion I read (see link below) MST targets violent children with criminal behaviors.

    While I like the family oriented part of the program, I have to wonder how many violent criminals we have in Chariho? According to a report in Projo a few years ago (see last week’s posts for a link), Hopkinton has a very low rate of violent crime. Are the violent criminal children coming from Richmond and Charlestown? If so, maybe those communities should be paying the cost of RYSE?

    http://www.mstconference.com/proceedings.shtml

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 24, 2007 @ 10:06 am | Edit This

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 24, 2007 @ 10:59 am | Reply

  4. Regarding your question of how many “violent children with criminal behaviors” there are at RYSE –

    The company that provides the MST certification (MST Group, LLC.) lists on their website that the program was developed for “serious juvenile offenders” and the research is “strongest and most consistent” for “violent and chronic juvenile offenders.” At the meeting, I asked how many violent and chronic juvenile offenders were in our district’s population. I will have to review the tape for the specific answer but I can tell you that no numbers were given.

    I’m sure it is available somewhere but I doubt that Richmond and/or Charlestown has a crime rate dissimilar to Hopkinton. In other words, I don’t think we have very many kids that fall into that category. That is why I am so concerned that our program is developed for that population. “If you build it, they will come.”

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 24, 2007 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

  5. Not only that, but I imagine that a program built on the premise that the students are criminally violent would have a lot of expensive and unnecessary safeguards. Unless all these students are “serious juvenile offenders”, we are paying for services we don’t need.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 24, 2007 @ 5:22 pm | Reply

  6. Still watching the meeting, but my wife needed a break, so here are my comments and observations so far.

    Mr. Day is a horse’s ass and should be ashamed of himself for the way he conducted this meeting. Does he have a clue that we live in a democracy? He was more then willing to allow Ms. Perry and Mr. Block to drone on about the value of MST and RYSE, but when faced with an opposing viewpoint, he couldn’t shut it down quickly enough. It was like a kangaroo court.

    Mr. Polouski is a blathering idiot. When he pompously declared that PC Inc. was being awarded a no bid contract because they are the only Rhode Island company “licensed” he showed he has no clue about MST. What does it mean to be licensed by a for-profit entity? I could create a program too and offer “licensing”. This is meaningless without understanding whether MST is the most effective and cost efficient program available. Has Mr. Polouski ever seen a computer…a library? He obviously spends a lot of chair time, so you’d think he would put that time to good use and explore some of the issues he will be voting on. Mr. Polouski…less food, more reading…you’ll live longer and might even add something worthwhile from time to time.

    Ms. Capalbo offered something very interesting. Did she claim that the Chariho solicitor told the committee they had to lease buildings for RYSE or they would be violating the Chariho Act? If so, is this on the public record. While I think RYSE immediately violated the Chariho Act by expanding the educational scope of Chariho, the fact that the committee was advised how to manipulate the Chariho Act is amazing to hear.

    Mr. Abbott was very impressive, and his input was invaluable even it was ignored by those supporting RYSE come hell or high water. The reality that DCYF could send troubled youths down our end of the state because of RYSE didn’t seem to bother the dopes who voted to plunge forward without considering the ramifications. Mr. Day’s admonition about compassion was foolhardy. The current contract is for almost $700,000. If DCYF decides to fill up the RYSE program, we will be paying an additional $18,000 per student. This means that we could be on the hook for an additional $1,260,000! That is a whole lot of compassion, especially considering these would be kids coming from other communities, not ours. Let those communities express their compassion for their children.

    I was happy to see Mr. Petit vote against shutting off debate. At least I think I saw him raise his hand in opposition. Maybe this guy will come around and start defending children and taxpayers against an out of control administration and school committee.

    Perhaps RYSE is a worthwhile program, but the majority of the committee doesn’t care to find out one way or the other. I’m proud of the Hopkinton representatives as none of you voted in favor of the PC Inc. contract without knowing all the facts and results of the program. Once again, Richmond and Charlestown voters showed their stupidity in voting for their school committee members. These towns’ school committee members are willing to take everything the administration tells them as an edict from on high. Does it ever occur to these nitwits that Chariho’s per pupil costs are among the highest in the country for a reason? One major reason is that we have a school committee loaded with yes men and women. They do no reseearch. They ask no questions. They simply nod and vote in favor of whatever the administration wants. Pathetic display!

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 24, 2007 @ 9:39 pm | Reply

  7. Mr. Polouski added to his legacy as a blowhard with his tirade against Hopkinton. Good for Mr. Petit, Mr. Felkner and Mr. Abbott for defending Hopkinton citizens! I wonder if Mr. Polouski ever considered that it is his citizens and Richmond citizens who choose to ignore what happens at Chariho? I think it is a tribute to Hopkinton that we try to make informed decisions and ask appropriate questions before relinguishing our hard earned money to Chariho.

    Mr. Day couldn’t make up his mind whether he was making a “joke” or was worried about his committee colleagues when he joke/empathized about ending the meeting. Mr. Polouski referenced being a “dinosaur” and I think there is more than one fossil on the committee. It is all well and good to look at the history of Chariho, but until the administation and the school committee is more open with data, results, and budget items, they must take us for fools if they think we’ll accept everything presented at face value. Good for Mr. Day for is 12 years on the committee. I’d feel a lot better about his tenure if his family wasn’t earning a living at Chariho trough.

    The management study is an excellent idea. Mr. Hirst made some good points and I was happy to see him support this proposal. For some reason certain members seem to think that asking questions and looking for information is an attack on the administration and the school committee. Personally, if they answer the questions and provide the the information, they might be surprised. If they speak the truth, spend our money wisely, and educate our children properly, they have nothing to fear. The fact that they do hide information and refuse to answer questions is the entire reason they feel “attacked”.

    I was disappointed that a motion was not made to contact MGT and ask a representative to come before the committee. I assume a motion needs to be made for this to happen? If so, we’ve now delayed the process by not doing this at this week’s meeting. Probably an oversight or maybe a motion is not needed…I hope not.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 24, 2007 @ 10:40 pm | Reply

  8. Good morning CR,

    One point I will also take exception to is the comment by Mr. Poulowski effectively that ‘we hired these people, we should listen to them’. The Chariho School board should listen to those they hire — but they were elected – not appointed or hired — specifically to personally research, ask hard questions, listen to all citizens, be objective not subjective, and move the district to the highest and best performing standards in the country (not Rhode Island).

    They were not elected to nod their heads and agree with the school district proposals without questioning, researching and demanding transparency in the process, so that we all can agree or disagree on facts, not one line appraisals. Mr. Chiccetti from Charlestown is always polite but firm in his demands for information, discussion, and forward movement concerning excellence in the district; Bill and George and Bob from Hopkinton are asking hard questions too – and these people have never worked for the district or have family members employed by the district. They have no financial gain at all. The point of questioning is not ‘micro-managing’ — it is thoroughly understanding and determining the best approach for the district as a member and speaker for all the citizenry of our towns.

    Also, in business, all RFP’s are structured to allow the product or service you wish to be the best applicant. This is standard and I seriously doubt that Ms. Perry was unaware of that fact. Anyone can be ‘multi-systemic’ — it simply means using many sources to assist or solve a problem (‘many systems’). I would assume other agencies are similar in their work although they may not have had ‘scientific research’ to prove this system – MST did (but only for ‘serious juvenile offenders’ not clinically injured kids). I don’t mind using Psycological Services if this is the program Ms. Perry wishes to use – I mind paying double.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 25, 2007 @ 7:05 am | Reply

  9. I’m with you all the way on this one Ms. Capalbo. Mr. Poulowski’s comments about “trusting” those we hire is ludicrous and dangerous to our wallets and our kids.

    Obviously we need to listen, but not brainlessly nod our heads and agree with everything they propose. We know for certain that Chariho per pupil costs are among the highest in the country. We also know that are test scores are not acceptable. Mr. Poulowski may want to bury his head in the sand and ignore this reality, but there is a reason for these facts, and it should be his job and the rest of the committee’s job to do their homework and improve both cost efficiencies and student performance.

    Committee members remained tellingly silent about RYSE’s compliance with the Chariho Act. I deem this to be a concession that they are worried that Chariho is in violation. Who did Mr. Poulowski “trust” when he decided to violate the Act with his vote in favor of RYSE?

    I also find it pathetic that so many school committee members seem happy to remain ignorant and these members ask so few thoughtful questions. From what I can tell, members receive a packet of information before each meeting. Did they ever think to do a little research and familiarize themselves with the issues they will be voting on?

    As you note, MST simply means Multisystemic Therapy. As you describe, this isn’t rocket science and it is not some specialized form of psychology. MST is an approach that could easily be incorporated into any number of mental health programs. Mr. Poulowski highlighted the ignorance of some members as he emphasized that MST was “licensed”. Obviously, this guy has been duped into believing that a “license” issued by a for-profit company is of great value. This is pathetic and shows how easily an educated person can be fooled if they don’t bother to do their homework. As a former teacher, shame on him for not recognizing the valuee of homework!

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 25, 2007 @ 7:35 am | Reply

  10. BC,
    Just to clarify – Petit does have family at Chariho. Brian Stanley is his cousin. From what I have picked up from conversations, McQuade, Polouski, Petit and Day have family at the school. The others may as well but those are the only ones I know about.

    That being said, it doesn’t make it wrong – just something to consider.

    As far as Bill Day’s “joke,” this isn’t the first time he has said something on tape and later said it was only a joke. Maybe we will discuss that prior incident sometime. It’s quite compelling.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 25, 2007 @ 8:27 am | Reply

  11. I want to hear about the “compelling” “prior incident” now! That’s my tantrum for the day.

    I inadvertently posted the following at Hopkinton RI Speaks. I thought I was on this website…anyway, here it is:

    Three minutes of MST research reveals (see below) that the average duration of MST treatment is 4 months. Why are we paying for intensive therapy for each student for years? If serious juvenile offenders can be transitioned out of MST programs in 4 months (on average), why do less seriously impacted children need to remain in MST for far longer?

    These are the kind of questions any diligent school committee member would have asked if they had done even a modicum of research. But not our school committee…they believe in trust and don’t verify…Mr. Felkner and Mr. Abbott excluded.

    Treatment Termination

    The average duration of MST treatment is 4 months. MST typically ends in one of two ways. Either the goals are met, by mutual agreement of the therapist and family and, as appropriate, stakeholders; or the goals are unmet, but it is felt that treatment has reached a point of diminishing returns for time invested. It is important for the MST team to recognize situations where progress is not being made, despite varied attempts to address barriers to effective change. In such cases, the decision to terminate MST services will contribute to the cost effectiveness of MST, and provide the family an opportunity to try another type of treatment that might be helpful.

    Approximately two-thirds of MST cases in community settings end with successful achievement of the goals specified by the family and influential stakeholders. The latter stage of MST is spent preparing the youth, family, and stakeholders for the withdrawal of MST services, and termination is openly discussed. Caregiver competence is highlighted, and mechanisms for maintaining progress are identified. If there is a need for further services, appropriate referrals are made. However, it should not be assumed that families need ongoing services.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 25, 2007 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  12. I actually find it humorous that MST is ‘licensed’ by itself. The parent company (MST) licenses other businesses to become an ‘MST licensed’ business. It has nothing to do with federal, state or local regulations.

    Sometimes life is just funny. I hope everyone has a lovely and relaxing long weekend.

    Comment by BarbaraC — May 25, 2007 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  13. You too Ms. Capalbo, and I know this weekend you will be honoring all the veterans who have sacrificed so much for the rest of us.

    Yes, the idea of a company licensing its owns product is quite funny. Funnier still that a majority of the school committee and the head of Special Education would fall for this marketing gimmick. It is turning out to be a very expensive joke, but still gets a chuckle out of me. The thought of Mr. Poulowski going on and on about MST being licensed is a visual I won’t soon forget. My wife and I felt like we were watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond because we were laughing so hard at the silliness.

    After watching the most recent school committee meeting, and seeing first hand how uninformed many of the members are about important issues, I’d like to offer my Internet research services to any local politicians who don’t have the time, inclination, and/or intellect to do their own research.

    I offer my help free of charge. As I am unable to commit to serving on boards with specified meeting times, this is something I can do for my community that allows me the flexibility I need with my schedule.

    While I am being sarcastic and cynical, if anyone seriously wants to take me up on the offer, I would consider it. Most often I find myself researching these issues and discovering information when it is too late for any real impact.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 25, 2007 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

  14. I had a chance to watch a little of the meeting on tape today. It occurred to me, as I was being chastised for causing Kathy Perry to “leave the room crying” that nobody seemed that concerned about a child who had a breakdown because of the services we provided.

    Have a great weekend.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — May 25, 2007 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

  15. That meeting was sickening.

    I’m am pleased that Mr. Felkner and Mr. Abbott are taking the stand that they are. They are doing so with a lot of knowledge, experience, and research behind their comments.

    I am sorry that Kathy Perry left the room crying. She obviously believes in what she is doing. I feel that those outside of the committee who support this approach should have been standing beside her because I felt she was standing alone; I can’t include Mr. Block as support. And perhaps, that is the frustration she felt as well. I can’t speak for her feelings, but where was her support.

    I saw Mr. Day’s tirade about compassion too. That made me angry. Tom and I have a nephew in RYSE. I personally have worked in the past with clients from the Wash. Cty Mental Health, which I believe is now called South Shore, and I’ve worked with the Olean Center with their work program. We do not deny they are special people. I personally went through their ups and downs in life. And these were adults. So, I take great offense from Mr. Day because I might disagree with the implementing of this program.

    That’s not to say that it isn’t a good program. I just find issue with some things. I find issue that Ms. Morgan could not speak against the program.

    I think the licensing issue should have been understood better. Anyone can be licensed to use a program if they go to their seminars, and classes. Just complete the program and you’re licensed. This does not mean that the state recognizes it as a viable program.

    I have an issue with contracting out at a higher price, when everyone else in the state uses a different program. If they felt their programs were inadequate, they’d be on the MST bandwagon.

    I have issue with insulting Hopkinton. Mr. Polouski should be ashamed and should apologize if he hasn’t already.

    I believe a school committee member should abstain from a vote if he/she needs to do more research on the subject. And they should say, let’s put this on the agenda for the next meeting so I can do a little more research. I’d rather a member ere on the side of caution and delay a vote for a couple weeks to be sure they are making a good decision. Maybe this is why Mr. Petit abstained. I invite him to explain his abstention.

    I know their packets can be large. When are they given them? And is this enough time to digest the information?

    Where are the advocates for the other positions? They should be aloud to speak too (ie. Ms. Morgan). Things should be debated. There are always at least two sides to every story. People should not be silenced about their experiences with a program. After all, we make judgements on things all the time from our past experiences which are loaded with personal feelings.

    I again plan to watch the meeting (It’s taped.), as I have decided to tape them all (when I remember).

    I am educating myself daily on the issues, and there is so much information out there and in a million places, too. I look to this blog for additional insight. I would ask CR again to tell us what search engine he uses. I know you mentioned it before, but I can’t remember. Bill, your links to other sites are invaluable. As, you find more please post them.

    I would add that as I am familiar with special ed needs to a small degree, I find http://www.schwablearning.org/ an excellent resource for parents who need support for their special needs child. Charles Schwab, the founder, had a learning disability. They sometimes mention court decisions and changes in the IDEA laws, as this is a confusing thing that seems to get changed often. They also have an extensive resource library on-line, and they have a parent forum (blog) that provides parents the ability to pose a question, so those that have already experienced the same issues, parents and teachers, can aid them through their adventure. Most educational needs can be answered here.

    There is also http://www.allkindsofminds.org/. These people are dedicated to explaining the way the mind thinks. That we all have our strength and weaknesses. And you need to look at both when providing a quality education for all. Dr. Mel Levine, the man who began the program, has provided help to improve teaching in the Triad area in North Carolina, and most recently, N.Y.C. They are dedicated to helping parents, teachers, and clinicians, and probably school committee members too.

    Anyways, have a nice Memorial Day, as we remember our past and present defenders of our country.

    And keep up the debate.

    Comment by Lois Buck — May 26, 2007 @ 10:56 am | Reply

  16. Mrs. Buck, I recently found a web engine called http://www.Zuula.com. This site allows you to use quite a few search engines very easily. You can also use Ask.com (formerly, AskJeeves.com). I find this at least as good as Google (Google is one of the Zuula engines).

    Also very important to any Internet search is the use of keywords. Too many keywords can produce few results, while too few can be so broad that it would take hours looking through everything to find what you are looking to find. I usually start with a few words and expand from there.

    Hope this helps.

    Comment by Curious Resident — May 28, 2007 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  17. Thanks! I remember when I was researching grade configurations, if you didn’t get it just right, you got a lot of garbage.

    If anything, perhaps this will help others get more involved too.

    Comment by Lois Buck — May 30, 2007 @ 6:46 am | Reply

  18. […] yes we pay for it – that was the no-bid contract for wrap-around services you […]

    Pingback by Bob and Bill - who is fighting for whom (and who is “fighting hard enough”) « Chariho School Parents’ Forum — July 19, 2008 @ 12:49 pm | Reply


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