Start School Later Committee Update

Thank you to everyone who attended the forum on April 4th and who have taken the time to write to the School Committee and me in the days since the forum.  It is always helpful to hear from the pkublic and , while everyone may not agree, the discourse when positive and respectful can be helpful. As we discussed at the forum, this issue is definitely emotional because it touches everyone’s life in some way but I want to reassure the public that your voices have been heard. As I often have to remind people,  hearing someone does not mean that there will be agreement and often people equate the two. They think that if someone does not agree with them then they have not been heard or listened to and I  mention it in this case because  I think that might be how some people are feeling.   I can assure you that the Committee has listened and heard your feedback and they are considering it in their next steps.

While I am not a visitor to the Georgetown Parents Facebook page because it is a forum for parents and I don’t want people to feel that the Superintendent is mining the site and I do not want to feel compelled to respond to posts that are not intended for me.  Having said this , it is not because  I don’t care what parents think but I want to protect the integrity of the space for the people who it was intended to serve.  I am fortunate that I have people who alert me to information that they think I should know about and I am grateful for that.  Recently , I have been made aware that since the forum the Facebook page has been active with opinions and questions about the process going forward so I am going to try and provide some information that might help.

The Start School Later Committee ( SSL)  will be meeting again as soon as possible  after April school vacation to do the following (1) debrief after the forum and review what was heard (2) review the feedback that was received by the School Committee and me (3) continue to discuss potential options to mitigate the impact to the PB school day and (4) formulate a process whereby the public will be able to weigh in on a proposal before a final decision is made.  Hopefully this will calm the concerns that the Committee is just going to ignore the opinions of the community but they do need time and the chance  to figure out the best way to organize a process and communicate it to the public. I urge people to trust the process and refrain from making assumptions and listening to rumors.  I will personally promise to respond to any and all inquiries myself or direct questions to people who can answer them better than me.  I also urge the public to remember that attacks on individuals and groups of people are hurtful and they derail the important discussions about the issues and lose sight of the value and importance of assuming  positive intention, exchanging factual information and promoting civil discourse.  I know this community can get to a good place on this issue if we work together whether this change is recommended , is determined not to be a good match for Georgetown or is worthy of continuing study because it is a good idea but this is not the right time to make a change.

I hope hearing that the SSL Committee is meeting soon and they are working on the items listed above will calm some of the fears and encourage people to know and believe that they have been heard.  As always,  the SSL Committee , the School Committee and I are always interested in hearing your thoughts.