Join PACCT at the Theatre!They have purchased 8 pairs of tickets to Face Off Theatre Company‘s production of PIPELINE on Saturday night (July 17th) at 7:30 pm to share with our friends and followers! Here’s how you can enter to win a pair: FIRST, “Follow” PACCT Board here on Facebook. Once you’ve done that, leave a comment here on this post with your answer to this question: How many times (approximately) this month have you heard or seen the phrase “School to Prison Pipeline”? Drawing closes at 5 pm Thursday, July 15. WINNERS WILL BE SELECTED AT RANDOM and announced here at 7 and notified via messenger to arrange to have tickets delivered.
Engaging the under 18 crowd isn’t usually a big priority for candidates during election season. Votes win elections, and campaigns will leave no stone unturned in order to identify and appeal to voters, register eligible adults, and talk about the issues with anyone able to cast a ballot.
Education and community advocacy organization PACCT is trying to change that. Or at least, to raise awareness among candidates and the public the importance of youth – those under 18 – as key stakeholders in any sustainable equity strategy. To further that message and help inform the community about candidates for Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education and where they stand on issues important to them, on Wednesday evening the group hosted a student lead and moderated School Board Candidate Forum. Participants in the forum joined virtually, while youth gathered outdoors and on site at Interfaith homes to run the show. Of the 7 candidates for KPS’ Board of Ed who were asked to participate, Megan Maddock and Marshall Kilgore accepted the invitation to answer questions from community members live via Zoom.
To support young leaders in the community, PACCT partnered with AIMS Kidz, a resident initiative to provide educational opportunities, meals, and activities for students who reside at Interfaith Homes. Through AIMS, PACCT was able to recruit and train over 10 KPS students to take the reins at the forum.
Taking on the role of host, 10th grader Jamiya says that this was the first time she had ever had a public speaking role. She admits to being a little nervous about introducing the candidates and reviewing the forum rules and procedures to a live audience, but she enjoyed the experience and is looking forward to coming back for the next forum in the series (taking place on Wednesday, September 23, and again on the 30th).
Welcoming attendees, keeping the trolls away, monitoring the Zoom chat and screening questions submitted by the public were among the duties handled by Akasha, Dequariana and Aliya – and they kept busy. For about an hour and a half, Maddock and Kilgore thoughtfully answered a steady stream of questions posed by moderators Jada and Doris on topics ranging from the School to Prison Pipeline to nutrition and of course, online learning. Timekeeper Denisha kept the pace and made sure candidates kept to the allotted time (60 seconds) to respond.
What did the candidates think about being on the (virtual) hot seat and grilled by teens? Megan Maddock says she appreciated the approach, pointing out that “Students are most directly affected by decisions of the KPS board but historically have the least amount of space given to voice their input and concerns” and that student leadership “might make candidates consider how their platforms meet the needs of all young people in the district”. Similarly, Marshall Kilgore says it was “awesome to see out youth’s voices being uplifted” and says he looks forward to more opportunities to receive feedback from students and families.
Watch the full recording of the forum below. More information on PACCT and their upcoming forums can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pacct.board.5
To learn more about AIMS Kidz, go to: https://www.facebook.com/aims.kidz
kalamazoo Public Schools Board Trustees superintendent search is well underway and the Board will be preparing for the first round of candidates submitted by MASB, the search firm hired to scout perspective candidates for the district. All meetings are open to the public.
The Administration Building is located at 1220 Howard Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001
Special Board meeting of the Board of Trustees regarding the superintendent search
at 6:15 p.m. on the following dates and locations:
January 16, 2020 – West Main School Professional Development Center – Workshop for Trustees to prepare for video interviews
January 28, 2020 – Board Room, Administration Building – Board Workshop viewing of first round video interviews
February 5, 2020 – Board Room, Administration Building – Second Round Interviews
February 6, 2020 – Board Room, Administration Building – Second Round Interviews
February 18, 2020 – Board Room, Administration Building – Finalists interviews
February 19, 2020 – Board Room, Administration Building – Finalists interviews (possible board decision date)
February 25, 2020 – Board Room, Administration Building – alternate board decision date
Kalamazoo, MI – First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo, MI is the current host site for ProKazoo’s monthly meetings. Local grassroots organizers and community advocates presented their work with the goals of connecting allies with marginalized communities in Kalamazoo County. Local community leaders, Prosecuting Attorney, Jeff Gettings, Kalamazoo County Commissioner, Julie Rogers and Sherine Miller, Kalamazoo Charter Township Treasurer, were among those present to hear from local activists and organizers. Gwendolyn Hooker, Co-Founder of JABS (Justice Against Bullying in Schools) shared that Michigan ranks number one in the nation for bullying in school. Not isolated to Kalamazoo, bullying is a huge problem for youth, especially ages, 6 to 12 years old. October is national bullying month and JABS will have announcements of their next events coming up. Dr. Strick Strickland, Interim President of the Metropolitan Branch of the NAACP, explained his involvement with the Citizen Public Safety Review and Appeal Board. The members are appointed by Kalamazoo City Manager Jim Ritsema and serve two-year terms. The goal of the CPSRAB is to review complaints citizens have filed against the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety and are unsatisfied with the result. If a citizen wishes to appeal this decision, it is reviewed by Ristema with input from the review board. Lead organizer for SEE Change, Elisheva T. Johnson spoke in detail and passion, the construct of the “School to Prison Pipeline”. Racism, a social construct that is invisible, targets African-Americans and youth of color, especially males. Recent data show that K-12 students are 3.8 times as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as white students. Johnson also shared that there is a lack of transparency between the school and parents and many of youth are “medicated and separated”.
Kelli Redman, the Restorative Justice Program Manager from Gryphon Place, shared out with the group, a presentation outlining the services that some KPS buildings have access too. Outreach to all KPS buildings is a discussion that is in the works. Amanda Miller, current KEA President shared insight on whats called a “bargaining crisis”. Negotiations stalled for KPS teachers and KPS Board on step raises and transparency. KPS teachers are asking for smaller class sizes and a proposed letter of agreement. Miller also urged members of the community to run for school board as two seats will be available December 2018. Ed Genesis, Rapper and community organizer shared first hand his experience going through the “school to prison pipeline” and his transformation and success story. The meeting concluded with a Know Your Rights Panel, consisting of SEE Change advocates answered questions from the audience. SEE Change is planning to Know Your Rights Workshop for parents, caregivers, and students, who wish to have additional support navigating through the educational system.
Kalamazoo, MI- S.E.E Change (Social Economic and Educational Change) a group of parent advocates
affiliated with Michigan United and JABS (Justice Against Bullying @ School) attended Thursdays school board
meeting to express concerns about student bullying and physical restraint of students (By staff) that have lead to cuts, bruises, muscle strains, and a concussion in the case of one student. S.E.E Change parents also expressed concerns with segregation (alternative schools) of minority students and medicating of students with disabilities.
Earl Moore spoke of an SWIS report initiated by the schools that characterized his son’s behavior in criminal terms and the report follows his son wherever he goes. Earl also spoke of his son being bullied, which lead to a change in his son’s behavior, and the behavior change leads to physical restraint (by staff) of his son on numerous occasions and his son being suspended from school in excess of 30 days. Earl also commented that “The school refused to allow my son to come back to school unless he took medication”.
Gwendolyn Hooker spoke of the brutal multiple assaults upon her granddaughter (Justyce) at the hands of two attackers. She also spoke of the seeming lack of concern from the district in addressing the issue of the assault of Justyce and other bullied students in the district.
Tammie Woods spoke of her son’s battles with depression and anxiety after multiple restraints resulted in a concussion, cuts, and his arm being twisted., Tammie also spoke of the numerous services she pursued at SLD Read/WMU to help him with his reading, services that the school should have provided but she could not get any assistance and now SLD read Director has said her child does not qualify for SLD Read services.
George White lead advocate spoke about bullying and the effects of bullying that can lead to depression, withdrawal, low self-esteem, poor grades, poor peer relationships, increases the drop out ratio and in rare cases can lead to death. Mr. White also commented on the need for Restorative Justice models that are gaining traction all around the country in addressing student bullying, Trauma Informed Care practices in classrooms and the need for improving student, parent, teacher relationships.
S.E.E Change is committed to returning to every upcoming school board meeting with more and more parents/parent advocate groups until there is the change that the parents seek. S.E.E Change will lead the discussion in the community about policy reform needed to reduce bullying, expulsions, suspensions, restraint and medication dependence. The goal is to return all of our children to mainstream classrooms. It should be noted that school board member Lauren Freedman expressed an interest in working with S.E.E Change to resolve some of the issues. Dr. Rice also indicated his willingness to meet with the group. No other board member commented or expressed an interest in meeting with the group.
It should be noted that school board member Lauren Freedman expressed an interest in working with S.E.E Change to resolve some of the issues. Dr. Rice also indicated his willingness to meet with the group. No other board member commented or expressed an interest in meeting with the group.
Kalamazoo Promise 10 Year Update, 2006-2016
Two of the seven seats on the Kalamazoo Public School District school board are up for general election on November 8, 2016. Incumbent Jennie Hill filed for re-election, while fellow board member Martha Warfield opted against seeking a new term. Challengers Maria Bosnak, Lauren Freedman, Jesse Herron, Paul Marquardt, and George White will be joined on the ballot.
Bosnak and Freedmen were joined by Michigan United Organizer,Elisheva Johnson, Vice Mayor Don Cooney to publicly pledge their endorsement to run. Marcy Peake, former Kalamazoo School Board Member shared a few words on her experience and knowledge and “passing” the baton to Lauren Freedman, recently retired Professor of Literacy Studies at Western Michigan University.
Hear what the candidates have to say below: