Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Friday, July 3, 2009

School’s out for summer!

So the 2008-2009 school year is officially over. My first full school year as a member of the Board of Education. Someone asked me two questions the other day: 1) So how was it? 2) Are you going to run for re-election?

Whoa, baby! Slow down. I just finished the first year of a three-year term. I don’t have to think about reelection any time soon. (Maybe that’s a good sign that I’m not a politician…aren’t they always thinking about and acting with an eye toward, reelection? The heck with that.)

I understand that those two questions are really just two ways to get at the same thing: how did I like the past year? I can tell you there were definitely highlights and low points. I feel like I learned a ton and yet nothing at all.

A few personal highlights?

In September, I enjoyed attending the opening convocation for teachers and staff. It was amazing to see the BF auditorium FULL of teachers, all energized and ready to get cracking on the new year. I’ve definitely learned a lot this year about teachers’ and how they approach their jobs.

The Communications Forum in March was a success, even if it wasn’t well attended. There were maybe 12-15 people who showed up. It was a great conversation – the first “open forum” I can remember in the district. I hope to plan a couple more for next year. Do you think you might attend?

Getting the budget passed in April was a high point. Board members and Dr. Fishbein attended something like 21 meetings and coffees in two weeks. But the citizens we met with were genuinely interested, asked good tough questions and gave good feedback.

Math…whew…for awhile I was reading so many journal articles and books and opinions and blogs, every free minute, my head was spinning…I definitely got some great insight into my personal math issues back in school, and I was glad to educate myself to get above the rhetoric (there’s that word I always mispronounce) and deal responsibly with our Ridgewood math debate.

I also enjoyed being on the Facilities committee and getting up close and personal with our 11 buildings and their various states of need and disrepair. The work we did this past year will form the foundation of our upcoming bond referendum, which will have (positive) ramifications for our district for years to come. Stay tuned, oh boy...

Attending various meetings and functions throughout the Village has been eye-opening, and the chance to meet some great people has been extremely rewarding. I love Ridgewood as much as ever.

Of course, there were some low points for me this year…but you’ll have to tune in next time!

Have a happy 4th of July! See you at the parade!


Anonymous said...

One could hardly call your (the BOE's)dealing with the math issues responsible. The conflict of interests among the administrators and the hired consultants was shameful at best. The BOE's reliance on Regina and discard for common sense was reprehensible.

Laurie said...

First of all, these were my personal reflections on my personal activities during the year. Are you calling me irresponsible? Really? Several times on this blog I outlined the research I was doing on the math issue. On my own, I read hundreds of pages, interviewed teachers and administrators in this and other districts, corresponded with school boards and math supervisors across the country, and listened to parents in all of our schools. This is in addition to reviewing the work of our own Math Planning Team. I did not "rely" on any single source. I did not, and do not, have any "conflict of interest" of any kind. Are you honestly saying I was not responsible, that I didn't do enough? Or are you angry or disappointed that even with all my efforts, I came to a different conclusion than you wanted?

You know, in the past (before I was on the Board), I sometimes noted that school board members could sound defensive in their responses to public inquiry or comments. I try really hard not to do that, I vowed not to do that, but in this case, I sort of have to defend myself, right? How does one answer a charge of irresponsibility without sounding defensive?

All I can say is, thank you for your input. If you search for "math" on my blog, or click on the keyword, you'll see some of my thoughts and notes from throughout the year, and hopefully you'll see that I tried to be responsible.