Jeffco PTA Letter to Board and McMinimee

From: Michele Patterson

To: “board@jeffco.k12.co.us” <board@jeffco.k12.co.us>; “jnewkirk@jeffco.k12.co.us” <jnewkirk@jeffco.k12.co.us>; “kewitt@jeffco.k12.co.us” <kewitt@jeffco.k12.co.us>; “juwillia@jeffco.k12.co.us” <juwillia@jeffco.k12.co.us>; “ldahlkem@jeffco.k12.co.us” <ldahlkem@jeffco.k12.co.us>; “jcfellma@jeffco.k12.co.us” <jcfellma@jeffco.k12.co.us>; “dmcminim@jeffco.k12.co.us” <dmcminim@jeffco.k12.co.us>; Neal Helen E. <hneal@jeffco.k12.co.us>

Sent: Monday, February 2, 2015 10:31 PM

Subject: Fletcher Miller Situation

 

February 2, 2015

 

Dear Members of the Jeffco Board of Education and Superintendent McMinimee,

 

I write to you concerning proposed changes to medical support staff for our most medically fragile, special needs students at Fletcher Miller and the plan to re-designate Fletcher Miller from a school to a program.

 

Where was the outreach to the parents at Fletcher Miller prior to the formation of this plan? Where is the transparency in this process? Who is being held accountable?

 

Given that closing or moving a school population from one location to another is no small task, has huge financial implications, and requires discussion of a newly opened space; we cannot emphasize enough how important it is and will be to include the parent community in this discussion. The entire community needs to be aware of how this will impact the district budget.

 

It is disappointing to watch a once highly transparent school district that regularly sought the input of parents and community fail in the very key messages of transparency, accountability, and community outreach as promised by Mr. Witt in November 2013. A promise we have seen this school board majority violate time and again in the last 14 months.

 

Many of the children at Fletcher Miller have severe medical conditions that teachers are not qualified to treat, yet removal of RNs from the school will place the burden of handling medical issues squarely on the shoulders of teachers and staff.  How does the district plan to address medical emergencies?  How is the district planning to be accountable to these parents for the safety and well-being of their children while they are entrusted to the care of Jeffco Schools?  How does making this decision without their input reassure them that you are looking out for the best interests of their children?

 

What are the plans for the Fletcher Miller space once the move of those students to Sobesky Academy takes place?  How is the district reaching out to parents at Sobesky for their feedback on incorporating the needs of physically disabled students with strong medical needs with the social and emotional needs of students at Sobesky?

 

It has also been brought to our attention that the district is removing all social workers from Gifted and Talented services in the middle of the school year in order to meet the needs of children on IEPs.  We would like to point out, many Gifted and Talented children also have social and behavioral issues that social workers are uniquely qualified to handle. Replacing social workers with counselors is simply unacceptable.  Has the district even considered how removing a social worker from a GT center in the middle of the year disrupts the education of those children, how it may impact them, not to mention the school climate as a whole?  Were parents included in this conversation/decision?

 

Jeffco Schools is setting a frightening trend of balancing the needs of one set of students on the backs of other students.  This is completely intolerable.

 

The apparent lack of consideration and compassion for the children at Fletcher Miller (and Sobesky Academy) and our Gifted and Talented populations is beyond alarming. These are real children with very real lives, very real needs, and very real families who are and will be deeply affected by these actions and decisions.  Your actions have very real life consequences.

 

This situation is inexcusable. The district and school board must be accountable to the parents of these children and this community. It’s imperative parents be included in any and all future discussions. You must account to this community your future plans for Fletcher Miller should this transfer of students take place and, finally, you must account for any potential negligence or issues that arise from such a move.

 

Jeffco PTA stands firmly with and supports the parents of Fletcher Miller.  We join Lesley Dahlkemper in asking this issue be added to the February 5 board meeting agenda.

 

Sincerely,

 

Michele Patterson

President, Jefferson County Council PTA

On Behalf of Jefferson County Council PTA Board of Directors