Kingston Action For Education’s first parent action was regarding the Extended Learning Time Grant which the Kingston City School District applied for in October 2013 but parents did not become aware of, in general, until January 2014 when parents Maria Maritsas and Jolyn Safron asked questions about the grant at the Board of Education meeting – Freeman article here.
Parents waited for information from the district via District Wide Parents’ Council but due to snow and other situations, answers to questions were delayed. Concern became such that Kingston Action For Education was formed.
Activities of Kingston Action For Education/discussion on facebook related to the Extended Learning Time Grant:
- Kingston Action For Education facebook group formed on March 9, 2014 to raise awareness among parents regarding the Extended Learning Time Grant
- write/call/email the BOE, the Superintendent, the Freeman, the State Education Department Grant Committee…let them know. Make your voices heard! (March 9)
- Rally against the Extended Learning Time Grant planned for March 19, 2014 at JFK Elementary School (March 10) from 3:30 – 5pm
- the Extended Learning Day Program is one of many important topics being proposed by Crown Street that has garnered no publicity nor sought any public in-put. That needs to change now. Remember, the Superintendent and BOE work for US!!! Please continue to spread the word. Petition is in process, fliers are being made and a tally is planned!!!! KAFE a team of ACTION!!!! (March 10)
- Due to the outpouring of concern and questions from parents, Questions and Answers regarding the Extended Learning Time grant were posted on district website – March 10
- Petition to refuse the Extended Learning Time grant created (March 11)
- The petition will be coming down as a result of KCSD withdrawing from the grant! Announcement from KCSD posted here on March 12, 2014.
Text of Kingston City School District post announcing withdrawal from Extended Learning Time Grant
The Kingston City School District has heard an overwhelming response from parents, school faculty and staff, and community members who oppose the possibility of an extended school day. In response, the KCSD is formally withdrawing its application for the Extended Learning Time (ELT) grant with the New York State Education department.
“The ELT grant was designed to address academic deficiencies, provide wraparound services, and support students in our most diverse and socio-economically challenged schools, and the administration and Board of Education are still firmly committed to these initiatives. The ELT grant was a unique opportunity to create a state-funded pilot program without a startup cost to the local taxpayer,” said Dr. Padalino, Superintendent. “However, the ELT grant would require faculty, staff, and community support as well as parental participation to be implemented effectively. As we all know, a home-school partnership is critical to student success. Lacking this essential component, we made the decision to withdraw our application. We will continue to explore developing after-school programs that have OPTIONAL participation.”
As the KCSD moves forward with planning for the 2014-2015 school year, community participation will continue to be an important part of the process. “We hope the withdrawal of this grant application sends a strong message to our faculty, staff, and parents,” said Dr. Padalino. “We value your expertise, and we truly care what you think. We know we need to partner with you in order to create the best programs and opportunities for our students. Please continue to reach out to us and share your concerns. Please also consider sharing what you think is going well, “best-practices” that we should consider implementing Districtwide.”
There are several upcoming opportunities for back and forth dialogue with the Board of Education and the Superintendent. The first is a 12:30 PM “Coffee and Conversation” on Wednesday, March 12th at Dreamweavers Café located at 34 North Front Street in Uptown Kingston. On April 7th, there will be a budget forum beginning at 6 PM at the KCSD administrative offices, located at 61 Crown Street. Then, on Thursday April 24th there is a “Coffee and Conversation” at 288 Wall Street 8:30 at Hudson Coffee Traders.
Additional articles/blog posts related to the Extended Learning Time grant: