Petition AGAINST the Proposed District of Innovation Draft for BISD

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Brownsville Independent School District Student Body Petition AGAINST the Proposed District of Innovation Draft   As students of BISD, we do not agree with the District of Innovation Plan and we ask that this plan not be approved. Below are the “suggestions” that were provided in the “Proposed District of Innovation Plan” that was published on the BISD website on March 30, 2016. We disagree with the following points for the reasons discussed below.   (1)    More instructional days before assessment (first and second semester)       In your “District Introduction” on Page 6, you state “Quality education cannot be a vague statement. It must be the challenge that encourages students and educators to be the very best that they can be every day.” Point number one in your proposal is “vague” because it doesn’t provide information on how our education will have more quality. On the contrary, we know as a student body that this means we will have more days to not learn, but to have more days to benchmark and have instruction that will solely be based on STAAR. You contradict your own introduction because you are clearly stating that you are asking for more days to test us and give us work to only be able to pass a test. That is not “quality education” that is having more days to teach us how to pass a test. We have little brothers and sisters who cry and worry about the STAAR test in elementary and middle school too, as high school students, we are raising our voices to protect them from further stress as well. Let us take some time off with our families to destress and come back to school with our minds rested. Cutting our summer will only have us come back to school still tired from the previous school year because of all of the stress we have received with the constant benchmarking, drilling, and worrying we do in passing these tests.   (3) Increase student enrollment       Student enrollment is low because other schools are competing against BISD and parents, based upon their bad experiences with the district, are changing their kids to other schools where they are not as pressured as we are to pass the STAAR. Other schools (charter schools) are focusing on teaching so that we can learn, not teach so we can pass a test. Maybe if you allowed us to learn things that are interesting and not learn strategies, then we could actually want to become interested in learning and thus begin passing tests without being pressured so much by the district with the same type of class for each core subject. If the district could begin to appreciate and understand what learning really is, then maybe your enrollment will increase because you will finally be providing a quality education.   (4) Aligns with University calendar      Having our school calendar align to the university calendar would only be beneficial to a very small amount of students because not everyone on campus is taking dual enrollment classes. Those students, regardless of the difference in calendar, have still been able to complete the courses successfully.   (5) Advantage to U.I.L. participation (M.S. and H.S. academic/athletic) (7) Athletics organized sooner, students don’t report until school starts       We don’t understand how adding days to the calendar would be an advantage to us for U.I.L. activities.  We already, by our choice and permission of our parents, begin practicing a few weeks before school starts to prepare for upcoming events with our teachers. These practices allow us to only focus on our U.I.L. activities so that we can perfect the technicalities of our performance in the U.I.L. event. Many of us attend summer camps during the summer to better our performance so if the summer is shortened, we will not be able to attend them and as a result, our performances can be affected. If you shorten our summer and the summer of our teachers, we will no longer have the opportunity to practice ahead of time because we won’t be able to start practicing until school starts. This would be a great disadvantage to us because other students in other districts would have had the summer to practice and we would actually be behind because we would not be able to start until the first day of school.   Points not Mentioned in the Proposal that must be Addressed:       We have become aware that certain committee members are not competent to be part of this committee because their participation would go against state law and BISD policy. Three members that we know of Cindy Elizondo, Dahlia Aguilar, and Pam Van Ravensway should immediately be dismissed since their participation violates policy regarding Nepotism and Conflict of interest. Mrs. Elizondo is married to BISD Board member Carlos Elizondo. Also, Ms. Aguilar and Ms. Van Ravensway have an intimate relationship with each other. Why were they permitted to participate as committee members if clearly their relationships can cloud their judgments and make decisions that could be interpreted as their best interests and of that of the school board. We ask that they be removed immediately because their participation at all is not only illegal, but unethical as well.       Additionally, we feel that many actions from the board are not being open to us the students and the community. We were never notified ahead of time that this committee had started meeting since March 22, 2016. Also, the next board meeting will be on May 3rd, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. will you suddenly reschedule it at short notice and hold it on a time when most of us are still in school and parents are still at work? We believe that your actions are very devious because you are not giving us the opportunity to show up at these board meetings and as students and a community we are entitled to speak our minds!       Another example of how devious this plan appears is that the academic calendar 2015-2016 does not have the statement that you included in the 2016-2017 academic calendar that states verbatim The 2016-2017 BISD Academic Calendar is subject to change. None of the academic calendars in previous years have ever made this statement until now. You, as a board, approved the 2016-2017 academic calendar on February 2, 2016. Why post a calendar online for us to view and plan around if you are suddenly going to give yourself the liberty to change it? Where in state or district policy does it state that you can do this suddenly? Your board makes final decisions, but as students and as a community we are entitled to provide feedback on issues that affect us in our schools therefore, we ask that meetings be kept when posted and set these meetings at times where we are available to attend and participate, many of your meetings are set when you clearly know that students are in school and parents are working so in our perspective, you are making decision without our input.       To conclude, as the student body of the Brownsville Independent School District, we ask that our points be considered in this process. We are the ones who will be directly affected by your decisions, and will be affected by the outcomes of this “Plan of Innovation” like we have been directly affected by the choices of food that has been fed to us. It is too late in the year to plan out a school year for each and every campus in the district. We know that and you know that this plan has not been carefully thought out and if approved will have serious consequences on us. If you want to make a change to help us and not your personal agendas, then take the time and create a plan that is carefully thought through and implemented. If this proposition is approved on May 3rd as stated in the document you provided, then who will organize our schedules and everything else on our campus so that we can begin school in an efficient way at an earlier date? This is not a proposal of a plan of innovation, this is a proposal of a plan of stagnation.       Students, parents, and members of our community, please sign the petition below so that this proposal will not be passed! Make your voices heard on May 3, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. Be on the lookout for a sudden rescheduling like the last board meeting that was initially scheduled on April 5th and then was suddenly rescheduled to April 4th. We were not notified and many of us that wanted to attend could not because we were not informed! Like and share to inform yourselves! Email the board members to make your voices heard also. Their names and emails are provided below.       Dr. Esperanza Zendejas-Superintendent- Jose Hector Chirinos- Board Cesar Lopez-Vice President-  Carlos A. Elizondo-Board Secretary –  Minerva M. Peña- Board Assistant Secretary-  Herman Otis Powers- Board Member-  Caty Presas-Garcia- Board Member – Joe A. Rodriguez- Board Member-          

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