Hello LPAS Families and Friends! Below are my notes from February 23 2022 meeting.
My notes here are brief as we are back to being in-person. See the agendas and official minutes for more details.
Note: I’m one of two parent reprensentatives, so my notes are slanted towards parent/family topics. As far as notes go, they are probably incomplete, and are definitely not “official”. Official agendas and approved minutes are posted on the LPAS SBDM page and JCPS SBDM Council and Standing Committee Minutes site.
February 23, 2022
The bulk of today’s meeting centered around the Equity & Diversity policy, so I’m placing that first (and out of order of the agenda). The regular stuff comes after.
Equity & Diversity: LGBTQIA Perspectives
We had a very constructive, collaborative discussion today focusing on LGBTQIA-focused recommendations for the Equity & Diversity policy.
In short: the students want this, the teachers want this, the administration and the district welcomes this - and I learned today that LPAS is already making strides here. Our Mental Health Practioner Ms. Sanchez, is organizing an LGBTQIA committee to support students in that community.
My two main recommendations - inclusive language in the Equity policy and the formation of a standing LGBTQIA committee - were discussed and agreed to in principle. I’m happy to announce that we’ll be crafting language for the policy soon, and we should have a reading of the new policy at the next SBDM Meeting in March 2022.
We had a number of folks attend today’s meeting to address the council on the topic, and I’ve provided summaries below:
Parent of Current Student
Her child is in 5th grade, for whom she is speaking on behalf of today - in support of including LGBTQIA into Equity and Diversity. Experience at LPAS has been wonderful and supportive. “It’s a big time right now in their life”. Gender expression is important for these students. Every aspect of the typical, gendered school day presents challenges to these students, from bathrooms to how gender is addressed. Small things like saying “Hey students” instead of “boys & girls”. Or, perhaps “Hey party people”. Goal for them is “warm, welcoming, safe space”.
Current LPAS Parent + Former LPAS Student
This parent of a current student and a former student, who is trans, addressed the council. The former student called attention to a number of points that could make school more of an affirming space. Name changing on school records. Teachers asking what they preferred to be called. He says “That’s important for trans kids.” In their experience in middle school, they “have had problems in bathrooms with other students”. “[Teachers and staff should let] other students know that this is OK. They are both seeking “affirmation”.
Ms. Sanchez is our mental health practioner at LPAS, having joined at the beginning of the school year. She splits her time with LPAS and Bloom. Has been JCPS trained as a support coach for LGBTQIA. JCPS provides access to resources, book lists, and some unofficial material. At LPAS, there is a small committee forming around LGBTQIA, which she is heading. She hopes for hopes for 2-3 coaches eventually. She also mentioned that Bloom has a “rainbow club” for LGBTQIA students. (Note: The forming of an LGBTQIA committee at LPAS was news to me - and rightly so, because it has just been formed.)
Informally, a 5th teacher pulled me aside today while I was walking into school. She told me that LGBTQIA issues are definite topics of discussion among her students and in her classroom. She’d seen my posts, and is working on using gender-neutral language. She says that she used “students” today - and at lunch she was applauded by her class!
During the SBDM discussion - the tenor and tone of the conversation was extremely positive and constructive on all fronts.
We also received word that our SBDM Liaison Shawn Stenton was “very excited” that we were having this conversation. It is apparently a new one for JCPS at the elementary level.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…
- Smart Panels are happening!
- Basketball off to the races
- COVID cases going down
- Spring performances are gearing up. (No updates on masking etc from JCPS yet, but team are prepping for end-of-year promotions, etc. Hopeful!)
- Backpack of Success: Schedule is set for Backpack defenses.
- Culture and Climate: teachers said they don’t have as much input as they’d like on “major decisions”, so the school sent out a survey to all staff. Results are coming in.
- Still in need of 1/2 of an ECE position. “A little disheartening” says Ms. Case. There just aren’t the teachers out there to fill this role.
- FEV tutors: LPAS is using these JCPS-provideed free one-on-one student tutoring sessions to help students. They are Google Meet sessions with teachers outside of LPAS focused on specific student needs.
- Budget Committee has recommended that we fully fund a Mental Health Practitioner. (We currently split a role with Bloom Elementary)
- Gifted & Talented (GT) teachers will no longer be visiting schools in next school year. JCPS will allow for teacher stipends to support those, and teachers can be endorsed as GT, but the support for standalone GT roles is going away.
- The 1/2 ECE role we struggle to fill is also one we would love to fully fund, budgetarily. Ms. Case wants us to be able to get a full time position. The school needs it.
- Outside food. Some families are ording DoorDash for their student’s lunches, and this is straining front office staff, and sometimes causing issues where a student’s lunch does not arrive on time. We briefly discussed policy options to prevent this. Is this a Wellness issue? Is this a practical issue (e.g. No Deliveries)? Something to consider at the next meeting.
See you in March!