Division Collects Public Input to Shape Strategic Plan

School division leaders held five community workshops this week facilitated by outside firm RTI International.

The workshops, billed as town hall meetings, were attended by School Board members, staff and parents. The division said that the intent for the sessions was to inform decision makers on what the vision should be for students in the future, and what programs and initiatives should be continued or added before the School Board adopts a strategic plan in the summer.

During the session event organizers had parents break into small groups to discuss issues in schools ranging from racial equity to academic programs. 

Tuesday night’s session at Stone Bridge High School was attended by Vice Chairman Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge), Harris Mahedavi (Ashburn), and 20 community members. During an exercise, parents expressed support for efforts such as honors programs, considering parent input at the district level, and mental health initiatives. 

“Become good communicators, collaborators and critical thinkers. Teach them how to think, not what to think,” said Leesburg parent Bill Wright after the small group discussion.

While the event wasn’t an open forum, participants took the chance to air concerns with the division.

Transportation was a prominent issue brought up by parents. Next year, schools will have staggered start times to help address a bus driver shortage. 

“I’ve been at 10 different high schools … you could put all the children on the same bus, put the small children in the front, the big ones in the back and hire a bus monitor. If you can’t do that hire public transportation,” said one mother who said she is a military wife. Her frustration, she said, points to a bigger issue parents experienced—communication. She said she emailed every School Board member and a number of administrators to no avail.

Other issues that we brought up by parents included the public’s trust in the division, reliance of technology in classrooms, and access to specialized programs.

“I think today it was great to hear from the community even though there was a very diverse view that came out of it,” Mahedavi said. 

He said that the board, in consultation with RTI International consultants, decided that community input should inform the new strategic plan.

“I think it’s a key. A strategic plan sets the foundation for the division. It’ll really help us figure out how we go forward,” he said.

4 thoughts on “Division Collects Public Input to Shape Strategic Plan

  • 2022-04-21 at 4:01 pm
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    It’s almost as if the author didn’t attend the meeting. Here are some key omissions:

    1. Parents quickly learned that these parent meetings were the only ones to occur after the draft plan has already been created. Nearly every parent there questioned whether their feedback could possibly have any effect given that fact. (they won’t) And parents didn’t just note they didn’t trust the SB as parents questioned whether the RTI consultants could be trusted given they had drafted the plan without parent input.

    2. Parents asked why SB members, including Ian Serotkin and Harris Mahedavi who were present, wouldn’t answer parent questions at the “town hall”. Parents noted that many had NEVER received a response from any SB member (emails, etc.). The RTI consultants spent the meeting shielding SB members from questions asked directly to the SB members.

    3. About 60% of the attendees self-identified as LCPS employees. They were there to influence working conditions (like the SB vote to reduce instructional days from 180 days/year to only 170) and to advocate for continued massive raises.

    4. Nearly every parent asked for actual curricula, like textbooks, to be used in LCPS. How does the author miss that fact?

    5. Parents asked for the ideology to be removed from the classroom (CRT, LGBTQ agendas, anti-racism, etc.). Instead, the words “equity” and “culturally relevant” were spread throughout the plan indicating it would now be LCPS strategy to indoctrinate students.

    6. Parents didn’t question “access to specialized programs” but specifically said admission to programs should be based on “merit”. This term “merit” was repeated over and over and over again on the sticky notes. It’s almost as if the author is the political censor to reverse the meaning of parent feedback (“merit” becomes “access” -> EVERY student had access before and now. The only difference is that prior to this SB, merit determined admission whereas now admission is distributed by whims and political considerations.)

    7. Parents got excited when the RTI consultants mispoke and said parents would get to “vote” on the strategic plan. The consultants had to correct themselves to note that parents will have no formal say whatsoever on the plan as only the SB members have any authority to change or approve the plan.

    8. The RTI consultants noted that every special interest group except for parents had significant input prior to the drafting of the plan. This included the teachers union, the woke MSAAC org, the “equity” committee and other special interests who are diametrically opposed to what the majority of parents want.

    This article is what happens when woke newspapers cover woke consultant meetings to push woke agendas by a woke school board.

    • 2022-04-22 at 4:50 pm
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      The only way we are going to clear this wokescreen is to bounce every single member of the School Board the next time they come up for election. Until then, pressure needs to be maintained via recall petitions and other legal means to have these people removed from office. Whoever replaces them needs to be responsive to the requests and needs of the children and the parents, and needs to tell every special interest group to go take a hike.

  • 2022-04-21 at 4:03 pm
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    I’m glad these workshops were held. I didn’t attend but heard mixed reviews. A few parents conveyed to me the workshops were too one-sided. Basically, attendees were told what the strategic plan would be & encouraged to fall in line. If that’s true, LCPS officials should take note & do better. Happy Earth Day Loudoun!

  • 2022-04-22 at 5:21 pm
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    The writer could have done a better job in reporting what actually happened, or didn’t happen. Not sure she was even there.

    What was obvious, is LCPS does not really want parent input. These meetings are a sham. Kind of pathetic that Board Member Serotkin would not go off script and answer parent questions.

    The fix is in. Our school kids will continue to suffer in Loudoun until the entire board is replaced.

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