Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Message from ASD Board of Education

We appreciate the opportunity to correct a serious misunderstanding about Alpine School District that has occurred because of a link that was accidentally and briefly on our website. The link was inappropriate and does not reflect the beliefs or values of the district, administration or school board. The Superintendent had it removed as soon as he became aware of it. We appreciate those who brought it to our attention.

The ASD Mission Statement, “Educating all students to ensure the future of our democracy” was developed as a reminder of the importance of education in preserving our freedoms and as a celebration of the educational opportunities that America provides for all her children; boys and girls, rich and poor. We chose ‘our democracy’ to reflect both a government with power vested in the people and our freedoms. We not only recognize that our government is a republic, but we value and participate in this form of government with an elected Board of Education. The use of the word democracy underscores the type of republic found in the United States.

Our mission statement is supported by our Values, four principles grounded in the Moral Dimensions of Teaching. They are: 1) All children should have access to a quality education, 2) Public education has a responsibility to teach children the social and political skills they need to successfully contribute in America’s culture of freedom, law, and civic responsibility, 3) Every child needs a quality teacher to ignite their love of learning, and 4) We have a stewardship to the children for these things.

The phrase, Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy, is the formal language for principle #2 (above). It is displayed in the Professional Development Center, with America’s patriotic documents contained in the Freedom Shrine, and is to recognize and celebrate the rights, responsibilities and sacrifices required for liberty in our country. There are many activities that occur in the daily life of schools that build civic virtues. These include such things as respect for others, obedience to rules and laws, service to country and patriotism, etc. We recognize that this phrase is not user friendly and since the word meanings have changed over time we need to revisit this.

ASD is committed to continuous improvement and to the ‘Public’ in Public Education. We do not make decisions in isolation or by emotion. We have in place an extensive feedback and decision-making process, both formal and informal, that includes all the stakeholders of education: parents, employees, city officials, legislators, students, business, and community members. By the time an issue comes to the Board for a vote, it has been through months of research, evaluation, input, feedback and revision through this process.

The district Mission Statement went through this process in 2005. We made refinements and alterations according to the input. In succeeding years, we have again and again taken the Mission, Vision, Values and Goals to our representative groups and to the public for their feedback. The Board annually reviews the district MVVG as part of our normal processes because it is important to us to be aligned with our community’s values. We will do this again this year taking into consideration all the input we have received.

The ASD Board and Administration love America and the freedoms we enjoy as a people. We are dedicated to student learning and working with our community to promote student achievement.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

National PTA Action Alert


Contact Your Members of Congress TODAY!

Members of Congress are making a bi-partisan effort to safeguard Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs). Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Christopher Bond (R-MO) and Representatives Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) are asking their colleagues to sign onto their "Dear Colleague" letters requesting that appropriators safeguard the PIRCs by providing level funding Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.

The Senate and House “Dear Colleague” letters are in response to the President’s FY11 budget proposal that consolidated PIRCs into the Expanding Educational Options budget authority. Consolidation means –elimination of PIRCs by directing funding away from PIRCs.

We need Congress to safeguard this sole federal program dedicated to engaging families in the education of their children.

What you can do:

* Please ask your two Senators to sign onto Senators Tom Udall and Christopher Bond’s “Dear Colleague” letter requesting level funding for PIRCs. The Senate “Dear Colleague” letter will be sent to Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.

* Please ask your Representative to sign onto Representatives Grijalva and Platts' "Dear Colleague" letter requesting level funding for PIRCs. The House “Dear Colleague” letter will be sent to Chairman David Obey (D-WI) and Ranking Member Todd Tiahrt (R- KS) of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.

If you need help finding your legislators, you can link to their contact info from the PTA Web site original article.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Legislative Action: HB 295 1S

We've been encouraged by Superintendent Henshaw to contact our representatives and ask them to support this bill. Here's a bit of background, followed by a summary of the bill will do:

Currently, districts are required by statute to use all capital outlay (revenue from property taxes) on building construction and maintenance.

What this means during difficult economic times like these is that your school might get a new gym floor, but teachers may be cut or class sizes increased. It's one of those things that gets parents shaking their heads; however, understand that under the current state law, the money is earmarked for repairs and improvements--not to pay teacher salaries.

If passed, HB 295 1S will allow districts to choose how they want to spend this revenue for the next two years, hoping that the economy will improve and by the end that time we'll have more in our school coffers.

This will make it possible for the district to make decisions about capital outlay that their hands were formerly tied on. If a school doesn't need critical improvements in order to ensure the safety of children, the district could choose to keep class sizes smaller and ignore some needed repairs.

In other words, re-wax the gym floor and let it go for a couple of years, and keep class sizes stable.

You may have heard that this bill is only affecting Jordan and Canyon school districts. No! The passage of HB 295 1S will affect every district in the state.

As of Thursday noon, this bill is on the House Third Reading Calendar, which means it will be voted on fairly soon. Please contact your representative right away and let him or her know that Utah PTA supports this bill! We believe it is in the best interest of children.

The bill's sponsor is Rep. Ken Sumsion (Lehi). He will most likely vote for his own bill, so if you contact him, just thank him for his work on behalf of kids and let him know he has our support.