Monday April 27, 2015
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Steady as she goes. Keep chipping away. Make vision into reality. Kudos to their efforts. I look forward to seeing the results of their sustained effort and the impact it will have on our community and students, both young and old.
I am in total agreement that strong arts programs in schools (as with all extra-curricular programs and clubs) make an enormous difference in student's sense of competency and achievement. However, they must be of high quality. They also give students a sense of belonging and ownership in the school, hence enhancing the school climate and culture. This in turn has shown to be a very strong lever for improving student academic achievement. My caveat is, they must be high quality programs. I credit Mike's spouse Daria Mason with revitalizing music education at the high school and raising the standard to a high level. Additionally, she had direct input into the current high school music instructor/director who has taken the band to new levels. Levels never before reached in Payson. A look at their performance last weekend will leave a distinct impression as to the high level of quality. My understanding is they work extremely hard to achieve such quality. In fact, subsequent to watching their performance online and hearing about their work ethic, Sylvia and I decided to donate half ($200) of our Credit for Kids (Arizona Tax credit for donations to public schools) to the Payson High School Marching Band program. They work so hard and produce such quality work, they deserve it. I am going to recommend that other folks think it over and support this quality program.
This is just information. District Maintenance and Operation budget override is for a seven year cycle. If they are not renewed in the 5th year, the override money is phased out over year 6 and 7 Source: Arizona Association of School Business Officials and Arizona Tax Research Association. The override Payson Unified School District is currently operating with, was passed on March 9, 2010 by a margin of 67% voting YES. Prior to that, the override failed in November of 2008 by a margin of 53% NO. While it is accurate to say the district has run on overrides for 15 years, it should be noted that 2008 to 2010 were "phase out" years. The original Payson Unified School District M&O override was approved by voters in 2004. Prior to that time Payson Unified had passed special capital fund bond elections for facilities. However, I believe the first Maintenance and Operations override was 2004.
I really wrestled with it. It is true, over the last four years the Board and certain board members have made some egregious decisions. Certainly in the financial realm. Certainly, they (board members) have been huckstered by a couple of different Superintendents. It is also true that the district has suffered academically. The statistics are irrefragable. I do wish the Board would have made a greater public commitment to raising academic achievement through rigorous classes, particularly at the high school level. However, I feel like I personally, cannot justify $12.00 a month (or so) savings on my mortgage considering the negative impact on the kids, many dedicated educators and the community. I am going to put some faith in Dr. Wyman whom I have known and observed for a number of years, along with (hopefully) a fresh and malleable Board.
I was looking back at a journal the other day. The last override was passed on a vote in March 2010 (it was on spring break). Tim Fruth and I had created a promotional power-point and given nine presentations in the community. Drs. Offices, PT offices, clubs, homes, Realty offices etc. Sometimes we took personal leave to do it in the morning or at lunch. Others we did at night. The Tuesday, after the override passed, I was called in by the Superintendent and told I was being RIF'd. I suppose if anyone has a reason to have sour grapes and not vote to extend this override, it may be me. But..I just can't do it to the kids. My three kids received a great education here. They received scholarships, were well prepared and did very well in college. If my little contribution gives someone else's kids a shot to have the same opportunities (assuming the rigor picks up) that my kids had, I want to commit to it. Notwithstanding, I fully respect people's decision to apply their voting rights in another fashion. In any case, this is where Sylvia and I stand for November vote.
I am voting for the override.
There are two positions open. Replacements for Rory Huff and Devin Wala.
Hello Mr. Paulk,
Mr. Frewin has two children. Both attended Payson Schools from K-12. Both have gone on to attend college. HIs oldest son recently graduated and his daughter is a sophomore. I was their principal as they attended both elementary and high school (partially for his daughter). Mr. Frewin was and is an outstanding geometry teacher. He taught all three of my children. I observed him a great deal. He had an excellent rapport with students; excellent classroom management and an extremely clear step by step approach to teaching math. He was on my leadership team when I was the High School principal. We did not always agree on every aspect of the school, but he would come to my office and we could hammer it out. Often, something better would come out of it. Though his paragraph portrays some anger. It is justified. The "regime" evolved around him such that those who voiced an alternate opinion were pruned. As a final somewhat vindictive action by a principal who had been summarily removed, Mr. Frewin was given an option of moving to the middle school (all of his experience is H.S.)...or nothing...a RIF (reduction in force) from the high school. I can firmly attest, he was far from the worst math teacher at the high school - in fact one of the best. It just so happens, he had the highest math salary. HIs statements regarding the drop in ratings are true. The high school's grade is based upon overall three year growth in AIMS scores, growth of the bottom quartile students, graduation rate and ELL growth. While I will most likely vote to extend the override, I completely understand Mr. Frewin's points and the concern of others regarding the prudence and judgement of the Board and Administration over the last five year. He simply brings to light some points and facts that other people in the town or employed by the district may be afraid to point out.
Jesse is such a great person - and a great educator. Basis school of Flagstaff is beyond fortunate to have her. Great job Jesse. You have made Payson High School and Payson proud! Congratulations John and Lu.
A significant event to consider is three years ago, the elementary school model was changed from a K-5 at each elementary (which it had been since 1994) to a K-2 at one school and 3-5 at another. Students, particularly at third grade are a product of the K-2 model. The K-2 model had no research to support its academic effectiveness. In fact the research supports a K-8 model as most conducive in every aspect, including academic achievement and positive climate and culture. Recently the Board added Kindergarten to JRE. Now students have a K-2 model in one school and a K-3-4-5 model in another.
Does this convey a systematic analysis and response relative to causality? Or, systematic thought relative to providing an educational model that is most effective, particularly in the critical lower grades?
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