Parents voice concerns to Geneseo School Board
The Geneseo School Board did a last minute change of venue for the February 11 meeting, moving from the District office to the Concert Hall at the high school, accommodating between 35 and 40 concerned parents who attended.
Eighteen parents from various backgrounds got the opportunity to voice concerns. Twelve were via emails sent to Superintendent Adam Brumbaugh, and six in-person, at the beginning of the meeting. The overwhelming consensus was that in-person schooling should occur, and the District should increase the number of days, optimally to a five day school week.
Criticisms of the District were varied. From the lack of make up of lost in-person schooldays, kids feeing isolated and unmotivated and falling behind in school work, to the fact larger school districts have returned to all in-person schooling. Sara Hamlin, a mother of two elementary children, and holding a Masters in Education herself, summed it up by saying “The lack of in-person schooling is worse than Covid.”
Kyle Morey, a Geneseo 7th grade teacher, and member of the “Covid Committee”, a group created of parents and teachers to advise the Board, criticized the Board for not being consulted when decisions were made regarding school day schedules.
Superintendent Brumbaugh stated that though the positivity numbers had improved, down to 2.7%, the best since July, the District has been cautious, and that any additional adaptive pauses (full remote learning) were to be avoided at all costs. Teachers who were interested have had their first dose of vaccine, with a second one scheduled shortly. Full immunization should occur by March 8, the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The decision to schedule a Special Board meeting in the near future, once proper notices go out, and include input from the Covid Committee was made. The suggestion to add an additional Wednesday to the alternating groups, adding 4 more in-person school days for each group for the quarter was made, as well as extending the existing school days to 3 PM. The Board asked Morey and his committee to try to draw up plans for various models for the 4th quarter for them to review. Parents were urged to watch the District's website for further information.
A program on “Instructional Coaching” , a program the District implemented this fall was given. Four Instructional Coaches were introduced into the classrooms, for the purpose of being and creating resources for teachers. The concept involves assessing the students, implementing instructions, a post assessment, and a support after the fact. The suggestion of adding a fifth coach was made. Testimonials were heard by teachers who were assisted by the Instructional Coaches.
Pete Perez, of Boyd Jones Construction, a General Contractor,, spoke about how his firm could assist in the proposed Vocational Building planning and construction. Perez is a Geneseo resident, and commented that his company is aware of the need to bring more vocational training to his industry. Board member Kyle Ganson asked if the District would be allowed to use their own architects, as they have experience with specific codes regarding school buildings. He was assured they could.
The Superintendent stated that $1.2M has already been pledged from local Foundations towards this project, with the possibility of another $250,000 from another as well. The Board was also asked to commit an additional $200,000 for the next three years from excess sales tax receipts. Brumbaugh indicated the intent was to determine what funding might be available and work back to what kind of facility they can afford.