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Upcoming 2018-19 Meetings

Sept. 18
Oct. 23
Nov 20
Jan 22
Feb 26
March 19
April 23
May 21

Regular meetings held at The Hickcok Meeting Room, Summit Public Library, 9:15 a.m.

Regular monthly Speak Up Summit meeting, April 19, 2016

Representatives were present from all Summit schools, except for Lincoln-Hubbard.  We do hope that someone from LH will volunteer to be a liaison next year and report our discussions back to their PTO, and bring any school concerns to us.

The date of the next (and last) meeting of the school year has been changed to May 24.

Summit High School:
We spent a good bit of time discussing what is perceived as less liberties for students at Summit High School.  This ranges from students now having to bring a pass from the classroom to go to bathroom, and then having to sign in with a teacher who sits outside every bathroom.  Every time.  Sometimes, the kids have to take longer inside the bathroom, and this can result in embarrassment.  We questioned if this was connected with the need for the drug-sniffing dogs that were recently brought to SHS; or is the bathroom policy just because kids were found to be wandering the halls when they were supposedly using the bathroom.  Or was it vandalism concerns?

This conversation led to discussion that the only email announcements generated by Power School over spring break was the following:

Please be reminded of the following from the student handbook:

Students must meet a grade requirement of a B- or better in all of their classes. Citizenship, attendance, and academic standing will be evaluated on a quarterly basis. 

Seniors will lose the unassigned privilege if they decide to: 
(1) Cut a class 
(2) Accrue 8 morning lates to school within a marking period 
(3) Accrue 12 lates to any class within the year 
(4) Commit an act that results in suspension 
(5) Leave school grounds without permission

Again, this was perceived as adhering to more stringent policy, particularly the enforcement of the rule not allowing seniors with a C to have an unassigned period senior year.  Parents said that their students have told them that they are feeling a more “big brother” approach from the high school administrators.

Additionally, for example, some students are taking a very aggressive work schedule with difficult classes, but want to explore new interests and try something out of the “norm.”  If they are getting a C in this class, they are penalized with the loss of unassigned, even if they have all A’s in their academic classes.

Also, there are more threats of detention out there.

Lastly, some students need to “just think” or even rest in study hall.  Perhaps they need to plan an upcoming assignment, perhaps they just need to chill.  There has been some concern that if students were not actively doing academic work during study hall that they were abusing it.

Some students have expressed concern to parents, but just as parents do not want to stir the pot with unfair sports team policies that might result in their children getting benched, parents are often uncomfortable approaching administrators with concerns about in-school policies.  The “it will come back to bite you” mentality was discussed.

Special Education:
Two months ago, we had several parents of special needs students attend our meeting.  Since then, they have been working with the Board of Education, and at tomorrow night’s regular BOE meeting there will be a presentation by the Union County supervisor of child study and by the district director of special services.  SUS BOE liaison Celia Colbert stressed that at SUS the concerns were introduced, she listened and reported to the BOE.  The SE parents came to board meetings and spoke, and now they are responding to the problem.

Celia Colbert:
Shout out to Celia, who has been our BOE representative for several years.  She is going off the board next month and has attended her last meeting in this official capacity.  Celia has always been a lively participant in our monthly meetings, sharing what she could and not only listening to the concerns addressed, but synthesizing them and bringing them back to the board to impactful resolutions.  Celia often offered us a different perspective to our discussions.  We will miss you, Celia, and hope you will return to the meetings soon as a concerned and involved layman!