Communication progress, but district Web site fails test

Our school district is continually trying to improve
communication between schools and parents. This effort is being
done with varying degrees of success.
Our school district is continually trying to improve communication between schools and parents. This effort is being done with varying degrees of success.

One recent success can be found at www.think.com. Several local schools have links to individual teachers’ Web pages. While most of our schools are not on board, many are making the effort to open an additional line of communication with parents. Some teachers are even posting homework assignments on a weekly basis. Although there is room for improvement, this implementation is a positive first step.

At Gilroy High School, every parent should be signed up for Edline. I really appreciate getting email notification when there is a new progress report. Some teachers are using this tool to its full potential, but all teachers have at least a curriculum page. For busy parents, midnight is often the only time you can check out the curriculum or test schedule.

Gilroy High has an outstanding Web site with information on everything that is going on at the school. There is even a Web log tracking the progress of the construction on campus for those diehard bloggers for whom nothing is mundane.

The OPEN Gate group has a terrific Web site. The link can be found on the GUSD homepage. Marcia Brown, the new District GATE administrator, is doing a wonderful job of communicating with parents. I foresee no minefields in administering the upcoming GATE identification test, a refreshing change after two consecutive years of egregious errors.

The district site doesn’t fare so well. Nearly half of the information available online is outdated. I am perplexed by a banner proclaiming “NEW for 2002-2003” which is highlighted on the GUSD home page. I am pretty sure that the reason that the Web site is not kept current has something to do with the fact that Rob van Herk has not been successfully cloned as of yet. I’m sure there is no pot of money available to pay for an additional IT person at the district.

As a result, gaping holes run rampant all over the Web site. Minutes of our Board of Education meetings are archived, which can be a useful tool. However, most of the minutes available are two to three years old, and many of last year’s meeting minutes are in a void somewhere. The “Message from the Board President” is from Jim Rogers, who hasn’t been president in more than two years. While I enjoy an occasional stroll down memory lane, parents who care about what is going on with district committees and task forces would prefer to read current reports rather than revisit what happened a year or two ago.

And while visiting the Web site, be sure to visit the kindergarten registration page. After being directed to “find the school your child will attend” parents are cheerfully reminded that: “…There are also situations when only the student resides with a party (not the student’s parents) who lives within the Gilroy Unified School District’s boundaries. (Caregiver’s and/ or Family Affidavit)

“Both of the above affidavits require that the residence be on a full-time basis. A full-time basis means seven days and seven nights per week. The parent and legal guardians will have to sign papers, under penalty of perjury, indicating the living arrangements.

“If, at any time, there is a question raised about a student’s residence, the District will undertake an investigation of the student’s actual residence. If it is found that the situation is not as stated by the parents or legal guardian, the student will be excluded from attending the school and be assigned to his/her actual Attendance Area School OR referred to district of residence to apply for an INTERDISTRICT request if the residence is not within the Gilroy Unified School District Boundary.”

The last thing we need in GUSD is more investigating. Investigations cost money that we don’t have, and utilize personnel who are then less able to do the job that the taxpayers are actually paying them to do.

As a public service, I will be more succinct than the district lawyers in my communication to parents.

For the most part, people are not risking prosecution or public humiliation to get into Gilroy schools. Simply put; parking your RV on Calle del Rey will no longer be enough to garner entry into Luigi Aprea School.

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