Recent comments

  • Child Poverty   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Many ambitious schemes have bitten the dust that tried to improve achievement in the District. In a district faced with such a high poverty level, not a whole lot will work. The poverty level will hold these children back. The children in the ghetto schools lack role models and encouragement. More needs to be done to alleviate poverty and give these children incentive. Also, our community needs to establish a county-wide school district to break up the concentrated poverty in the inner city. The pproblem of low achieving city schools affects the whole community.

  • Other   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Dear Dr. Brizzard,
    You appear to have a good understanding of problems in urban schools. I am a retired teacher from the District, having served 25 years. I saw many superintendents come and go on a regular basis. They all had ideas they wanted to implement, but don't stay long enough to have a real, lasting impact. The superintendents in the suburban districts stay much longer. On this morning's broadcast, I heard you say what you thought the District should look like in 5 years. My question is, do you plan to still be here in 5 years, and what could conceivably make you leave before that time?

    On this afternoon's broadcast, you were asked about Central Office employees numbering over 100 who make over $100,000 per year. Coming from the teaching ranks as I do, our opinion was that C.O. was overstaffed. You said that you did not have that information yet. Is this info easy or hard to get? I think easy, and I would like to hear more about that.

    Thank you for coming here and trying to make a difference.

  • Performance   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Superintendent Brizard, what is the different between zero-based and performance-based budgeting?

    Why not performance-based budgeting?

  • Facebook is evil?   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Hi, Rob,

    Great to hear from you! I haven't tried Twitter. My chief interest in the subject of social networking is related to broadcasting. The topic of how audiences are becoming increasingly fragmented comes up a lot in broadcasting centers and networks all over the country. The good news for people with specific interests (such as classical music, in my case) is that the web strips away much of the cultural trappings that turn people off. Still, even on the web, stuff creeps in. Check out my NEA friend Aaron Green, who maintains the classical music page on About.com. Note the tux.

    http://classicalmusic.about.com/mbiopage.htm

    Brenda

  • Performance   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Everyone talks about sending so many students home, talk about the number of students sent out of class, talk about the number of un-resolved problems between school staff and adults in the home, etc.

    • Superintendent Brizard, specifically, what initiatives are you considering to address district/school environment?

    • What initiatives are you considering, to improve its discipline process?

    • What do you think of Character Education and what place does it have in this district?

  • Facebook is evil?   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Despite how evil (or not) as Facebook might be, WXXI is there.
    Become a fan of WXXI on Facebook here:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/WXXI-Public-Broadcasting/62049...

    Andrew Wheeland
    Director of Interactive Services

  • Other   6 years 25 weeks ago

    When I was a younger parent, I made the mistake of allowing my child to be classified and given an IEP. Although he has needed various services at different times it is frustrating to know that he could receive a special education diploma and have no prospects for higher education despite the fact that he has been in an inclusion setting since preschool and has developed in line with his peers with consultative instruction. He must take his tests without modifications and meets the state standards.
    This is a serious situation in the district given the number of males, particularly hispanic and african american males, in special education. Despite asking school board members, distirict officials, even a member of the African-American Health Status Task Force to examine methods used for evaluation and monitoring special education I get no answer. I understand that this is a complex issue but as a parent I would definitely be fully engaged in any effort to address this area.
    What is your perspective about the disproportionate number of males held in special education?

  • Parental and Community Involvement   6 years 25 weeks ago

    I agree with other parents that the traditional methods for involving parents should shift more to engaging parents- events that are inclusive of the whole family, done at the the district level rather than or in addition to what is done school by school -so that there is more consistency as a district.
    What is your intention with regard to making sure parents are active in the brainstorming and development of the activities offered to them so that they meet the real needs of parents and families?

  • Truancy   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Many students in the Rochester City Schools perform two or more levels below in reading, yet the district has removed certified reading teachers, from their schools. What will you do to assist students who are not reading at grade level?

  • Facebook is evil?   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Facebook can be an incredible time suck, and I'm not that fond of it either. It is the social networking equivalent of junk food most of the time.

    What I do find it to be good for though is organizing groups of people on a small scale. I'm not talking about the big "Let's see if we can find a million people who hate GW" type groups - but the smaller groups - under 50 people. Here in NJ we have a new media group that meets regularly and Facebook has been a boon in finding new people and also keeping current ones informed of our actual real life meets.

    I'm actually enjoying micro-blogging on Twitter a hell of a lot more. I get really interesting and oftentimes actionable information and links from people I follow on there. Also - I get info from people I would otherwise never have access to.

    --*Rob

  • Parental and Community Involvement   6 years 25 weeks ago

    I have had a child in the district since 1985 and my youngest is in 6th grade now! Over the years I have seen varying degrees of turn out for the various meetings at the schools where my children have attended. However we have to recognize that Parental Involvement comes in a lot of flavors! As frustrating as it can be for those of us who choose to come to the meetings and events, not all flavors require leaving the home!

    1. Understanding that most parents will do better when they know better: What will you do to empower teachers ( and principals) to arm parents with the tools they need to re-enforce learning with their children at home? Having parent education institutes is not the answer when it is not always convenient to leave home for training.

    2. What will you do to make the rcsdk12.org site more informative to parents? For instance, contact information for all teachers should be on the web site (we don't always know first names to decode the email address). Where is your email address on the site? Postings of meeting minutes (PTSA, SBPT). Allowing parents to submit questions to the various constituencies on line; handouts from the various institutes should be accessible; etc.

    3. What will you do to create / encourage an inviting culture for parents in the schools?

    4. What are your plans to engage the churches to get input, communicate and get buy-in to your plans?

  • Performance   6 years 25 weeks ago

    Many high school teachers say that to often students enter high school reading at a third or fourth grade level.

    • What are you going to do, to increase significantly, the number of students who read at grade level, in district high schools?

  • Parental and Community Involvement   6 years 26 weeks ago

    There is no structured way for the parents' and students' communities to communicate with other district stakeholders, in an organized manner (a district-based planning team, approach).

    • Are you (Superintendent Brizard).going to re-establish a district decision making table, where all stakeholders can share in the process?

  • Parental and Community Involvement   6 years 26 weeks ago

    The district has started a process, with the parent community, to develop and implement a Shared Decision Making Process. Recent Example: a little over week ago, some parents were allowed to have a limited role, in the selection process for the Administrator of Parent and Community Involvement position.

    1. Will you (Superintendent Brizard) continue the development of a Shared Decision Making Process, with the parent community?

    2. What does shared decision making means to you?

    3. Is it your intention, not to fill the position of Administrator of Parent Involvement?

  • Parental and Community Involvement   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I have the blessing of being a Parent and an Employee of the Rochester City School District. Parental involvement constitutes more than just turn-out for distrcit events. This is probably one of the least connected indicators to student success. Turn-out at District events is a result of the development of quality relationships with school staff, and a high value for education.

    I am concerned that Mr. Brizard may be chosing one stakeholder over another. I certainly want Mr. Brizard to have laser like focus on indicators such as graduation rates. However, I do not want this focus to be articluated as a witch hunt. Yes, there are individuals who work for the Rochester City School District who frankly do not care as much about children as they should. However, do not clump those who have a genuine interest in the success of students with those. The Rochester Cioty School District Human resources needs to take a closer look at their hiring practices. In addition, Unions need to take a closer look at the protections avaialble for people who clearly have no interest in educating children.

    Mr. Brizard how will you balance the Community's desire to see results with one of the number task for any great leader, according to Jim Collins, not to demotivate those who work within your organization. If you demotivate those who work within the organization, what is the probability that you are going to reach your goals?

  • Other   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I have read your Entry Plan, and am now reading Dr Cala's parting recommendations document.

    As a secondary level parent, I see that in his brief time with RCSD, Dr Cala has made a thorough and insightful analysis of the current situation (and couched it in language 'regular people' can understand!), with practical, tho' sometimes difficult to fund, proposals.

    To what degree you see Dr Cala's recommendations document as a part of your draft vision and strategic plan?

    Elaine Weinzler Francesco
    School of the Arts
    - SBPT Parent Rep
    - PTSA Secretary
    - "Active Parent"

  • Parental and Community Involvement   6 years 26 weeks ago

    - Give more notice
    - Better description of what the meeting is about
    - use e-mail in addition to 'classic mail'
    - Shift the view point from "how this is good for the district" and "the district wants parents to..."
    to "how this helps me help my kid" , directly - math homework, or long term thru reviewing policies etc.
    - site some of the meetings at schools, rather than at CO or Hart St. - on 'our turf'. (Hart St is just nasty, and CO is intimidating, not to mention inconvenient.) Advertise them as co-hosted by the schools in the neighborhood, who are inviting all of the city to come

    I am rarer bird - an "active parent" at the high school level. I sit on SBPT, I am the PTSA Secretary, and I run an e-mail news service for parents of our school, in addition to working on various school activities and events. I have attended SBPT Collegial Learning circles (headed to one shortly tonight in fact), as well as PPC meetings. I have found them largely a waste of time, poorly organized and little or no useful content. CAFEE meetings are held on Saturday when I work, but I disagree with the 'ear' they have gained in principle - PTAs and PTOs are supposed to be the voice of the parents - CAFEE captures attention because they are noisy, and do not necessarily represent parents in general.

    I agree with the comment that RCSD's parent involvement 'looks good on paper' but falls far short in reality .
    Elaine Weinzler Francesco
    School of the Arts

  • Performance   6 years 26 weeks ago

    In a district where a great many of the children are behind in reading, and therefore behind in math, history and science, it is ridiculous that the credit requirement for high school graduation is significantly above that which the state requires. For a student to be required to pass four science and math courses to graduate, for example, when that student may not be a native English speaker or may have some other impediment to achieving a full educational experience, dooms that child to fail and ultimately drop out or age out of the system.

    The minimum for graduation from all of the district's high schools should be the state mandated 22, with the possible exception of Wilson, the science and tech magnet which has a charter, but only if students admitted to Wilson do so willingly and know the higher requirement they must achieve. However, at each school in particular programs the requirement can be adjusted up to 24, 25 or 26 credits. Children and their families can choose to be either a general education student (at 22 credits) or enroll in an honors or other program (24-26 credits).

    I imagine the original thought was that higher expectations would lead to higher achievement. I think the numbers speak for themselves. More stringent requirements have lead to more frustration for both students and staff, and ultimately have achieved only lower results.

  • Reactionaries   6 years 26 weeks ago

    I would have posted this to "Ibuzza's" blog, but she has no feedback link, and I just can't let it go. She says, "If you have ever watched it you probably already know this, but, almost all of the fight scenes in Star Trek had passages from 'Bolero' underscoring the scenes."
    Um, what time-space continuum is *she* from? Bolero was not played on Star Trek. Ever.

  • My mildly desultory life   6 years 26 weeks ago

    The revelation I've had - now that I know that the word "desultory" means - is that the key to success is not to have a game plan.

  • My mildly desultory life   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Let me know if you figure out how to be desultory, because if I'm going to follow suit I'll need a game plan.

  • Review time   6 years 26 weeks ago

    The charts and graphs on his site make my head spin. Fun! Now that I've mastered the art of pies charts, I'm eager to graph other things, too, though I'm not sure I'd want to publish a bar graph of my mood swings.

  • Review time   6 years 26 weeks ago

    Hmmm. Analyzing something with a pie chart. Interesting.

    The work of Andrew Kuo might amuse you. He contributes to the New York Times music section, and takes this chart idea several steps further. He doesn't analyze concert reviews by other critics. He uses graphics to review actual concerts (Bjork at Carnegie Hall), films (I'm Not There) along with a variety of other subjects. If you have the idle time to explore it, there's an insanely detailed color-coded, letter-indexed, multi-chart spread documenting Andrew's reaction to a summer music series in Brooklyn. Among the breakdowns: quality of the concerts (predicted and actual), how upset Andrew was to miss the shows he missed, duration of sets, sponsor logos displayed, etc.

    On top of all that, he even wrote a short article. It's at...
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/arts/music/28kuo.html?scp=...

  • My mildly desultory life   6 years 27 weeks ago

    Carl,

    That link has an interesting article on facebook. The Internet is a great Rabbit Hole, sucking away hours, yea, days of our lives. It's breathtaking how much time one can waste. After I throw a few sheep around and update my blog, I swear I'll start living a real life.

    Brenda

    P.S. PBS' Frontline tonight explores the lives of the first generation of Americans to have grown up on-line.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kidsonline/

  • My mildly desultory life   6 years 27 weeks ago

    I think what you're seeking is the state of creative aimlessness espoused by Tom Hodgkinson in his very enjoyable book, How To Be Idle. It didn't change my lazy life so much as gave it a justification. You can get the book at the library.

    If you're feeling too indolent for such a journey, check out the Web site of Hodgkinson's magazine, The Idler http://idler.co.uk It's one of the best places I know of on the Web to while away an afternoon. He's my kind of anarchist.

    Come to think of it, the Web was made for idlers, and mostly made BY idlers. But, that's enough thinking for today. I have to go catch up on lolcats.