Some parents of Sheridan Elementary School students are unhappy after Unified School District 475 decided the school might take part in a pilot schedule next semester.
The discussion left some parents, including Kristen Goodyear, concerned that the district was moving too fast.
“From my perspective, and the parents’ perspective and other people’s perspective that I have talked to, it felt rushed and we don’t feel like there has been transparency in why it needs to be done,” she said. “What are we trying to fix?”
Goodyear said she believed the district had failed to communicate sufficiently with Sheridan families.
“Generic terms such as academic achievement have been thrown out,” she said. “But when you go to the state website to look at where our district falls in academic achievement — and even Sheridan specifically — it’s within one or two percentage points. I don’t feel like it’s been outlined as to what this alternative schedule — how we’re going to measure whether it’s successful or not. So what are we measuring, how are we measuring it and how are we going to know that it’s going to make a statistically significant difference in the education that our kids are receiving versus what they’re receiving now.”
Goodyear said she is not totally against the prospect of the pilot program.
“I think parents could be — potentially — on board with this if we had more information to go off of rather than basically being told that this is what we’re going to do,” she said. “Really, parents and teachers — we’re already actively involved in the education of our kids and we want to remain that way. I think we’re asking important questions and we’re just not happy with how this has gone and feel like the board of ed needs to listen to our concerns and work with us.”
Goodyear said the district’s transfer policy will remain in place and be the same for Sheridan students as for other students in USD 475 schools.
However, she said she was not ready to consider transferring her students from the school.
“We haven’t got there yet,” Goodyear said. “I’m still hopeful. For example, we don’t even know what the pilot calendar is — or the alternative calendar is. I cannot find it on a public forum. The board voted for it, but yet it hasn’t been shared with us.”
The pilot program was put to a vote at a March 25 USD 475 Board of Education meeting when the district approved its calendar for the upcoming school year.
Goodyear said she also hoped USD 475 would hear other community perspectives on the alternative calendar.
“I think this needs to be a community effort and can be, but right now it’s not, from our perspective,” she said.
Goodyear added that a survey was sent out to parents before the vote was taken, but the survey results were not offered to parents prior to the district casting its vote. Board members asked about the results of the survey during the meeting where the vote was taken, according to Goodyear but the results were not presented.
“Parents need to be involved,” she said. “We just need to know more. And I’d be curious to see the research that they have found that going to an alternative schedule is helpful.”
USD 475 Superintendent Reginald Eggelston could not be reached for comment.
More about this matter was expected to come up at the Unified School District 475 Monday night, after the April 6 edition of the Union went to press.