Had To Share This…Intergovernmental Whatever

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I shouldn’t say that I feel like she looks, but “bedraggled” may be an apt description of her situation and mine, although I’m glad to say, I’m happily bedraggled (and not wet). Lots of good stuff to do and not enough time in which to do it. Know what I mean?

Short update on our regular board meeting of 25NOV2008: All action items passed unanimously.

Short comment on Susan Gordanier’s recent Argus article describing the combined City Council/HSD 1J Board of Directors meeting: Susan, in her zeal to make a big deal out of the Thomas Middle School demolition discussion (a non-existent “stalemate”), ignored a great agreement of the combined group of elected officials, namely that the “policy makers” (the Mayor’s term for councilors and board members) needed to encourage high-ranking administrators in both the city and the school district to meet on a regular basis to maximize our partnership for the benefit of the citizens of the City of Hillsboro and the patrons of the Hillsboro School District. These officials do meet and strategize, but not on a regular basis. That’s what I call “news,” but when a reporter is in the preconceptive mode, he/she can miss a lot of good stuff. That was the high point of the meeting, but the promise of benefits to citizens never made print.

The so-called “stalemate” on the issue of the demolition of JB Thomas Middle School was not a stalemate at all, but a denial on the part of the Mayor and two of his Councilors who are apparently willing to follow him. School board members endeavored to help the those city officials understand that regardless of how “feasible” they thought the Thomas site is/was for the City, it would never be feasible for the School District, hence our reluctance to waste taxpayer funds on a useless “feasibility study.”

The School District defends the needs of children. City officials, in their quest for control over the Thomas site, never mentioned children or the needs of the children.

In other news, I’ll be presenting two break-out sessions at the international Educational Testing Service 3rd Annual Conference on Sound Grading Practices (the last frontier in education reform) this Thursday and Friday in Portland. A good number of HSD administrators and teachers will be attending. See you all there!

Citizens and Partnerships

The Hillsboro School District and the Hillsboro Police Department have developed a strong partnership in recent years. The HPD does important work in counseling and crime prevention through the School Resource Officer program, and works diligently to prevent truancy and keep kids in school.

A couple of days ago, Tom Brandt wrote a Letter to the [Blog] Editor that I think belongs here on the front page. It’s about participation and partnership, and the opportunity we all have to get involved in making our community a better place to live, work, and raise families. Thanks for sharing this, Tom. — Hugh

Tom Brandt Says:

Recently I completed 10 weeks of the Hillsboro Police Department Citizen’s Academy. The course taught by officers and staff of the police department was incredibly enlightening. Sessions covered all aspects of the operation of the police department.

You may ask, what does this have to do with education in Hillsboro? This has much to do with education in our community, both directly and indirectly. The department has, I believe, seven School Resource Officers who work full time within the various schools. In addition to traditional policing, they teach the D.A.R.E and G.R.E.A.T. programs (Drug Abuse Resistance Education and Gang Resistance Education and Training). These are important programs taught in conjunction with the schools and Boys & Girls Clubs.

The gang culture is creeping into our schools and these officers are the front line to take action to recognize and hopefully eliminate this danger from our schools. They deal with truancy and often visit the homes of truant students. The ETS report covered in Hugh’s December 13, 2007 posting addresses the problem of truancy and absenteeism.

The police deal with domestic violence often involving children directly and indirectly.

This program is a valuable source of information on how our police deal with public safety issues. How can a child have a positive attitude toward school and learning when he or she has to live in a home troubled with drugs, alcohol, violence, gang activity, etc?

I came away from this program with a very positive attitude about the police force and their mission of community policing. We should fully support them and aid them when we can. And I urge each of you reading this to consider investing about 35 hours in attending this Citizen’s Academy. Among other things, you will learn about some of the issues affecting our children both in and out of the schools.

Tom Brandt

Cross-posted from Straight Talk 12-15-07