This month will be my final month as one of two parent representatives for LPAS’ SBDM council.
It has been an honor to serve a community that I owe much of my personal growth to. I hope I served you well.
Below is a look back on this “adventure”, what we did, the work I took on, and most importantly: where LPAS’ future looks like.
What We Achieved
We did good work, this council. In my term, we:
- successfully navigated a momentous change of administration
- put considerable focus on Exceptional Child Education (ECE), and populations that needed help the most throughout the pandemic
- hired a full-time mental health practitioner
- approved funding for security upgrades the building
- wrote and approved the first-ever LGBTQ+ equity policy in JCPS (and maybe the state) with the help of our Mental Health Practitioner and a newly founded LGBTQ teacher committee
- and a LOT of other stuff.
I can’t take credit for any more of the above than my one seat (of six) should grant me. I am most proud of the work we did together.
What I Worked On
Personally speaking, my tenure on the SBDM was engaging, enlightening and, at times, challenging.
My first few months on the council were consumed with the Principal Selection process. For long-time LPAS families, especially in our COVID year 2020, this was a contentious change. The principal selection process was fair, but also opaque (as designed to protect applicants). The change was not well-received by some.
I worked with my council members to draft a statement from the SBDM Council on the process and its result: SBDM Council Statement on Principal Selection, Dec 2020
As a community representative, I felt the need to give a voice to the families I represented, and to put a point on the needs of our community at that moment. Reflections on LPAS Community Reaction to Principal Selection Process, Dec 2020
Having come through this, I made it my mission to represent the needs of the community - specifically around accessibility, equity and communication. You can read my intro, here: Why I Joined SBDM, Jan 2021
Beyond the typical budget, policy and achievement reviews, the SBDM for me became a place where I could represent families through listening, action and engagement with teachers and admin.
With so little other parent SBDM perspectives out there, I tried to be as transparent and public as possible, hence this site.
I posted up regular meeting notes, and shared them with the LPAS PTA Facebook Group, and my wider Facebook network.
I created a JCPS and Kentucky Education Media Twitter list and became engaged with those folks and the conversation on Twitter around COVID, reopening, the KY General Assembly bills, equity, LGBTQIA topics, and whatever else was germane to LPAS as a parent.
Beyond the monthly meetings, I went out of my way to represent families the best I could. Here is a list of a few things I felt were important:
- My remarks on diversity and access to school groups (From PTA Meeting 8/23/2021)
- Thoughts on Making School Communications Better, Sept 2022
- I hosted a Middle School Choices Jam, Dec 2021 for families choosing middle schools.
- I spoke out about how Senate Bill 1 would gut SBDMs (spoilers: it passed)
- I drafted this policy, providing each version to our community - but specifically families and staff that would be impacted the most by it: LGBTQIA-inclusive Equity & Diversity Policy and a Deeper Dive
Where LPAS is Today
Meanwhile, the school is here:
- There is a considerable focus from this administration on improving math and reading, especially among Black and Hispanic children. (Winter 2022 MAP data is here) It’s a considerable part of the LPAS’ current Improvement Plan, which includes funding for inititiatives to meet these goals.
- The school has never had more arts-trained staff (arts staff + grade-level teachers both).
- We hired from within (Ms. Hunt) to replace our much-loved Counselor Ms. Jones and we now have a full-time Gifted & Talented position (Ms. Millier).
- We have a full-time mental health practitioner, Ms. Sanchez
- Teacher satisfaction, regarding leadership and climate - according to the 2022 IMPACT survey - is on the rise (and well above JCPS averages).
- The Comprehensive School Survey shows that LPAS community and student satisfaction - hit hard by COVID and a change in administation - is returning quickly to it’s previously VERY high levels.
- The PTA is revitalized and engaging families in new ways.
- LPAS is the model for performing arts magnets. In fact, it wants to build another elementary arts magnet, modelled after LPAS. (See Page 115 of the JCPS 2022 Assignment Plan)
In short, LPAS’ future is bright.
What I Learned
Through this “adventure” I am better for it. I learned to be careful with words. I learned to reach out. I learned to listen (and take criticism). I learned to make my time count.
I learned to represent a community.
Being a “representative” forced me to consider issues through a holistic lens, and not a personal one. To think less about my current students, and the thousands that my actions and decisions will impact in the coming decades.
I want to leave you with this - an enduring thought I’ve had that I’ve constantly tested for truth:
There is no legacy in a school, there is only constant change.
It’s a flow, it’s a process. It is unceasing and unyielding. The best thing you can do is to learn from the past and focus instead on setting up the future - through budgets, hiring, policies and processes - for success.
I was humbled to be a small part of that change. You should be a part of that change.