Chariho School Parents’ Forum

September 25, 2007

Board meeting on ch. 18 Wednesday @ 8PM, Friday @ noon

Filed under: contract negotiations,meeting notice,MGT — Editor @ 11:32 pm

Just a reminder to watch the board meeting on Wed or Friday.   During the public forum – Richmond updated on the water situation and its moving forward.

Pete Gingras brought up the complaint that he filed at the Labor Relations Board – he said I should “cease and desist” in my activities.  Since I’m not doing anything wrong, I’ll continue to do what I do.

The business section was non-eventful until MGTFirst were brief discussions of Young Adolescent month (Oct), mentoring program and the Salt report.  Salt reported that we should improve opportunities for high achieving students.  Also a good outline of the portfolios if you have been wondering.  Its a mandate from RIDE (at least this is our interpretation of that mandate – there are different approaches in diff districts).

The MGT study ran into another roadblock.  There seems to be some confusion on the bids.  It said we were getting a discount for doing business with them in the past.  But the bid offered was the same as it was before MGT knew about the other study.   The Johnstown bid was for $125k, so the $105 could be seen as a discounted rate, but they didn’t frame it well if that’s the case.  Either way, its back out for clarification.



  1. Getting a chance to watch Monday’s school committee meeting. Could someone please ask Mr. Giancarlo, Ms. Jennings and all others to stop putting their microphones down against the table. This drove my family crazy as every time Ms Jennings and Mr. Giancarlo wrote down something it interfered with the audio . We even heard Ms. Jenning’s pouring everyone water .

    I was unable to tape the first part of the meeting and picked it up when some ladies were at the podium speaking about the mentor program. Didn’t catch the entire presentation, but the program sounded fine to me.

    Interesting to hear about the Senior Portfolio project. Discussions went on much longer than I needed, but I really like the fact that seniors have this requirement. Adam Champlain did a great job!

    Mr. Polouski made the observation that the portfolio may not be the best tool for comparing Rhode Island schools. As he noted, perhaps a Chariho student who did not rate proficient would rate proficient at another school with different evaluators.

    Mr. Polouski also noted that Massachusetts uses a test to compare schools, and a test would be the same for everyone with no subjectivity. This is a very good point and while I think the portfolio is an excellent idea, Rhode Island should also include an objective method when comparing schools.

    Mr. Giancarlo asked about students exceeding proficiency on the portfolio. As he noted, students should be encouraged and supported in efforts to excel. I couldn’t agree more.

    The presentation by Richmond school was very informative. We learned that Investigations/TERC is still the primary math curriculum being used, but there is a pilot program for Scott Foresman curriculum. In visiting TERC’s website I found this:

    “At this writing, in the fall of 2005, we are in the midst of a major revision supported by the National Science Foundation, TERC, and Scott Foresman; this revised version will be available for the school year 2007-’08. While fundamental principles have not changed from one version to the next, the embodiment of the principles has been refined and improved and the implications of the principles have been revisited, resulting in a deepening of these principles and/or changes in emphasis in our work.”

    I wonder if this TERC/Investigations/Scott Foresman collaboration is the pilot program being used? I copied an article at the bottom of this post which may be of interest. I hope that Chariho is rid of this damaging TERC/Investigations curriculum very soon.

    I applaud Mr. Abbott for asking Richmond’s principal about the Investigations curriculum. She mentioned Scott Foresman, but did not tell Mr. Abbott that the Scott Foresman pilot program was still associated with TERC, so she was either hiding this connection or the pilot program includes another Scott Foresman curriculum independent of TERC. I hope a committee member finds out for us and lets us know?

    Mr. Abbott also asked directly about the principal’s professional opinion of TERC. She hesitantly replied “decent”…looked in the direction of Mr. Ricci and Mr. Thornton…and quickly said “good”. It seemed obvious to me that she was uncomfortable with the whole topic, and who can blame her? TERC/Investigations has caused her school and her students to perform below capabilities. I’d be uncomfortable too.

    Mr. Giancarlo then asked Richmond’s principal about students capable of exceeding proficiency. The SALT report noted that Richmond school is not doing enough to foster excellence in those students capable of learning at a level beyond proficient.

    Mr. Petit expressed concern about some students getting ahead of other students, but Mr. Giancarlo seemed to reassure him when he replied that students could be differentiated by depth of knowledge rather than overall knowledge. As an example, he said that a high achieving student could work on more difficult multiplication problems (depth), but not move ahead of the class to division (knowledge).

    I was thrilled to see Mr. Giancarlo put emphasis on student excellence. I think Chariho puts so many resources into proficiency for all students, we forget about the students who have the capabilities to rise well above proficiency and Chariho’s educational model holds them back.

    Mr. Felkner also addressed this issue pointing out that proficiency for all must mean “the bar” for 100% proficiency must be lowered. Mr. Thornton denied this, but it was silly since we know that there are degrees of learning ability and the only way to have everyone rate proficient is to lower the standards to the lowest common denominator.

    Personally, I don’t care where the bar is placed as long as each student is allowed the opportunity to succeed to the maximum of their ability, motivation and intellect. I think Mr. Giancarlo does not think this is now happening at Chariho, and I’m afraid he is probably right.

    Next up was the Management Study. It was obvious to me that the study has a long row to hoe if it is to get majority support. Mr. Ricci was quite sly as he questioned the integrty of company being looked at to conduct the study (MGT…I think). Mr. Ricci wondered how this company could be trusted to evaluate Chariho management since they were unaware that they had included Chariho in another study they had conducted in 1999.

    I don’t blame Mr. Ricci of being afraid of management study, but he should not to be so blatant in his cowardice. To hear the guy who NEVER is able to give a clear answer to anything criticize a company for lack of memory was pretty pathetic. If recall is the a surest measure of competency, then Mr. Ricci may be the most incompetent individual I’ve ever witnessed.

    Besides Mr. Ricci’s red herring, Ms. Jennings, Mr. Polouski, Ms. Serra, Ms. Dolan and Master McQuaide all signaled that they would not vote for the study.

    I laughed out loud to think that these are the same committee members who seem to have not a care in the world when Chariho spends millions of dollars on programs and curriculum which may not be in our children’s best interest. They had lots of questions about the $105,000 management study, but sit on their hands with nothing to say, when Mr. Felkner questions million dollar expenditures. Instead, they try to shut him down.

    If they gave RYSE, TERC, employee contracts, administration, etc. half the scrutiny they’ve given to the management study, they might actually do something positive for the district. Alas, they have an obvious agenda to protect the status quo at Chariho, regardless of how much of our money is wasted. Quite pathetic…quite sad.

    I’ve got more to watch and probably will have more to say. Here’s the article on TERC and Scott Foresman:

    PROVO — Without much fanfare, the Provo School District Board of Education approved new mathematics books for elementary students — and the books include occasional use of a search-and-learn math program that has caused a major uproar in a neighboring district.

    Provo students in kindergarten, first and second grades will use “Growing with Mathematics,” published by the Wright Group. The cost will be $249,000.

    Students in third through sixth grades will learn from “Mathematics,” published by Pearson-Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley. The board agreed to spend $220,275 on the program.

    Those text books will have on average two lessons per each nine- lesson chapter taken from Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, the program that sparked a public fight over math instruction in Alpine School District.

    The program, often called “Investigations Math,” which advocates group work and less direct teacher instruction and “discovering” algorithms instead of learning them through memorization, has been used in Alpine schools since 2001.

    While some spoke out in favor of the program, many parents of children in Alpine schools have been vocal about their disdain for the program and built Web sites devoted to ending it. The math issue cost one member of Alpine’s school board a bid for re-election.

    The Alpine District is adopting new textbooks, too, and, largely because of parent input, the emphasis on Investigations Math has been toned down.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  2. More fireworks in regard to the Management Study. We’re watching and see Mr. Petit with his hand up as if he wants to speak. Mr. Felkner makes an amendment and then Mr. Day throws a hizzy fit because Mr. Petit informed him he had his hand raised and has something to say. Mr. Day claims to not have seen his hand up. That could be, but it is obviously past Mr. Day’s bed time because he sure was outraged over nothing.

    Mr. Petit then tell everyone he has a collection of emails from school systems that have had an MGT study and they were very pleased with the results. Mr. Petit offers to share the emails with anyone interested. I don’t see anyone express an interest. Mr. McQuaid then tells everyone he still has questions about MGT integrity. Funny, you’d think that he would be very interested in the emails. Maybe he really isn’t looking to be informed?

    More to come.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  3. Management Study tabled until who knows when? Fools.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 8:06 pm | Reply

  4. What a school committee! Mr. Polouski is concerned with fund raisers as if people are forced to donate and have their money spent on programs they don’t like.

    So let’s understand this. When people voluntarily donate their time or donate their money, Mr. Polouski wants a limitation policy, but when it comes to spending our taxes, which are taken from us under the penalties of law, Mr. Polouski doesn’t give it a second thought. This is better than a sitcom. These people are priceless (and clueless)!

    Maybe if we want Mr. Polouski to control spending at Chariho we need to have that pizza parlor owner express displeasure?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 8:14 pm | Reply

  5. Mr. Abbott makes an honest attempt to identify what programs may “exceed the scope of the function” of Chariho. I can understand that this would be tough to answer as many things could exceed the function of Chariho.

    Perhaps the right question is what is the function of Chariho?

    From my perspective, and I hope the legal perspective, education is the function of Chariho. Any services or functions which go beyond education should be considered exceeding the function. I’m sure the Chariho solicitor disagrees.

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

  6. I think Mr. Giancarlo is actually Mr. Chicetti? Can’t quite make out his name placard. Anyway, his concerns about musical instruments being allowed on less than full buses seems reasonable, but on the other hand, I would problaby complain if my kid couldn’t bring on a musical instrument while other kids could. Tough call on that one.

    Mr. Felkner comes up with a brilliant suggestion to reduce the transportation costs for sending children out of district. He notes that it can cost up to $76,000 to send one child on a bus to Providence!

    Mr. Ricci isn’t sure exactly how many children Chariho sends out of district. What a surprise! Does the guy remember anything?

    Mr. Felkner suggest offering enhanced compensation to parents if they provide transportation for their children. Mr. Ricci is confused and says Chariho already offers them mileage. After several attempts, I think Mr. Felkner’s point penetrated his skull and he understands Mr. Felkner wants to offer an amount above and beyond mileage, but still much cheaper than what we currently pay for transportation.

    Recognizing that Mr. Felkner’s idea might save taxpayers money, Mr. Polouski interjected with a supposed concern about liability. Apparently Mr. Polouski doesn’t understand that Chariho is already liable for anything that goes wrong during bus transportation, so the worst that would happen with parents driving is that Chariho would still be liable. He probably knows this, but God forbid he let a cost savings plan go unchallenged. He might be friendly with the bus driver after all, or maybe he needs to check with the pizza parlor owner before deciding such an important issue?

    Mr. Felkner asks to table a motion to accept the minutes for the Sept. 11th meeting. Mr. Felkner wants to find out if a video tape exists first. The secretary tells him her minutes are “extensive”. The committee votes to accept her minutes and not wait for the tape. I’m guessing the committee was up to no good at the Sept. 11th meeting?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 9:04 pm | Reply

  7. Not sure if they voted to seal the minutes of the closed meeting, but I guess it doesn’t matter anyway since they routinely break the law by discussing items in closed meetings that should be addressed in public. I expect that they treat sealed minutes with the same respect for the law.

    I guess Mr. Gingras made his appearance at the beginning of the meeting (the part I didn’t tape). Too bad, I kind of wondered if he looks like a weasel since he writes like a weasel?

    Comment by Curious Resident — September 27, 2007 @ 9:16 pm | Reply

  8. Actually, I don’t think it is an easy question. And relates to part of the problem. Mr. Abbott’s question speaks to the formation of RYSE (was it legal). Another issue is the services provided at RYSE that were previously provided ‘in the market’ (as example, clinical services were received at whichever therapist the parent selected from their insurance plan). At RYSE we provide those services and they are judged ‘education related’ and as such no longer eligible for insurance. However, Medicaid does pay for ‘education related’ so we collect Medicaid.

    Look at the numbers – pre-RYSE we got under $30k reimbursement. Today we get 10 times that. Why? Because we provide “wrap around” services. In other words, what ever the child needs, even if it includes therapy for the parents, we cover it.

    All school’s look for revenue generators. Chariho generates about $1M in revenues, 2% of the budget, and revenues float as surplus and allow you to raise your budget with a cusion. Chariho went 3.5% to the taxpayers but it really goes up 5.5% counting the applied surplus of $1.2M.

    So, for the school its a big plus. Lets say it cost Chariho $100M (kidding) to send the kids out to the community prior to RYSE (2003). Today we do it inhouse and it still costs $100M (still kidding) but now the school gets the Medicaid funds that previously went to the provider in the community.

    It’s easy for a school to try a new buisiness. Failure is subsidized.

    Comment by Bill Felkner — September 27, 2007 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  9. Want to start your private office arms race right now?

    I just got my own USB rocket launcher 🙂 Awsome thing.

    Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters – which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
    You can get the gadget here:

    Check out the video they have on the page.


    Marko Fando

    Comment by markofando — October 3, 2007 @ 2:25 am | Reply

  10. hcjiakkziugmbriowell, hi admin adn people nice forum indeed. how’s life? hope it’s introduce branch 😉

    Comment by Apagmagvokinwarma — December 28, 2008 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

  11. You REally Have TO See Thsi…,

    Comment by name — November 18, 2009 @ 11:16 pm | Reply

  12. tohatesmbd.gtus,

    Comment by name — November 20, 2009 @ 3:01 am | Reply

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