Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Public Hearing on Fresh Start Academy, 5/14/19

What is Fresh Start Academy?
Fresh Start Academy is a program for children in kindergarten through Grade 2. Children recommended for the program are those who repeatedly display extreme disruptive behaviors. The behaviors, such as destruction of classrooms, running away from the classroom and causing physical harm to others, create a barrier to learning for all students. Students may be placed at the Academy only after a school has exhausted other available and appropriate interventions. Placement in the program is for about 45 days.

Fresh Start will offer a setting that is data-driven, highly structured, and safe for kindergarten through Grade 2 students who persistently demonstrate behavior that impedes their ability to learn.

What is the goal?
The program will provide the support needed to help our youngest children develop self-control without falling behind academically. The goal of Fresh Start is to identify students with behavior problems early and address the behaviors. The experience helps the student continue with his/her regular studies while staff introduces a positive approach to behavioral support through early intervention.

Other goals include:
returning the student to their original classroom setting with support;
keeping the student on track academically;
providing professional development for staff; and
forming a partnership with parents.

Program components
Self-regulatory social and academic skills in a small group setting;
Therapeutic counseling; and
Grade-level academic standards.

Read more about the Fresh Start Academy HERE

Public Speakers (names are spelled to the best of my ability)

Jae Branch - Parent and school nurse iun another system.  Disruptive students.  Daughters class had to be evacuated on numerous ocassions due to books and desks being thrown by an out of control students.  Behavior is unfair.  Some students have experienced trauma and should be allowed to get the help they need from trained professionals.  Teachers are not therapists.

Linda McLaughlin - Pres. EACC, 31 year educator.  Therapeutic not punitive.  Suspension moratorium addressed the disparity in suspensions of students of color.  At home they received no services.  This will allow services to continue.  Keep students in schools.  Lack of parental support to partner with schools.

Peter Ullman - 19 year educator, personal experience with out of control student, 6 year old, other students have to be removed because of books and desks being thrown.  this happens several times a week.  These children need additional services and help from professionals.

Sean Heyl - HS teacher.  Thank you for addressing the discipline.  Teachers including myself would be leaving the profession if we dont have something like this in place.

Will Lewis - teacher.  Elementary teachers being assaulted, classrooms destroyed, students running out of building and down the road.  We don't want to just suspend kids, we need to help them.  The academy will work and help these kids.  Due process rights are being protected.

Kiterra Shorter - elementary teacher.  The academy will help students.  I've become masterful in the art of evacuation of my other students.  These students are calling out for help and will learn strategies to cope with their feelings.  Suspension and In school suspension doesn't allow them to receive an education or the help they need.  Think about the other 27 kids in a classroom and the fear they feel when a co-student destroys their classroom or assaults their teacher.  

Samanther Latisser? - elementary teacher.  job is becoming increasingly difficult.  second semester a student was placed in what was a calm classroom.  Other students come to her and tell her they dont feel safe.  students fear and anxiety.  what would be destroyed? do we have to evacuate again.  how much instructional time was lost for ALL students.  Assaulted by punches and kicking.  she was assaulted as well as other students because of this one child.  interventions and help were provided at the school level.  Finally sent to a specialist at another school.

Melissa Santos - teacher.  student throwing chairs, yelling, hitting other students causing head injury, tried restorative circles, secret student, rewards for behavior, conferences,.  Tried to learn additional strategies.  consuited other teachers and behavior modification specialist.  Sent some students to another class to learn for the day.  Parents of other students dont understand.  students dont want to come to school and hate it.  

Jacob Gerting? - media specialist in elementary.  behavior is scary.  these are elementary students, what is it going to look like when they are in high school.  instead of suspensions wouldn't it be better to give them a fresh start and get them the help they need.  i dont understand how anyone could be against this. Yes to community schools and wrap around services but these students need more intensive  therapy and help.  Fresh Start will help pool resources and target those that need it.

Laurie Warring John Pierre - attended a PAC meeting where Assoc. Supt referred to these students as bad kids.  I was appalled.  Minority and low-income children or more likely to not be diagnosed with medical issues and are just labeld as discipline problems.  Schools and faniles are linked.  Adults that are proposing Fresh Start academy should be sent their.

Derrick Terry - parent and special educator.  Thinks public forum is disingenuous. Thinks black males will be targeted for program and interventions will not be followed.  Lack of cultural sensitivity.  need more black males teachers.  external isolation is not the answer.  what data has been collected.  PBIS and social emotional learning and restorative practices help.  Pilot program needs at least three years to obtain data.

Deron Tross - why are we here. budget was already approved. Meeting with commissioners and delegation a board member walked out.  Quoted budget for past years and money used for small amount of children.  I had an IEP in school and here i am.  I will be picketing at central office and graduation and every meeting.  The media will hear us.  after going to fresh start and going back to school they will be labelled of and made fun.

Melissa Creamy - Kind teacher.  Daughters 4th birthday and I'm still here because students are my family.  Whole class has a safe word.  Used when a student is in a rage.  this is not about labeling students, it's about providing support.  The entre school is rallying to help this 5 year old but we are not counselors or professionals to address this student and his issues.  Other students are sad and feel sad for this student and want him to succeed.  My job is to teach and keep the other students safe.  

Nicole McCann - ACLU of MD.  Civil rights advocate.  Asks commissioners to say no to isolating strudents.  MD law requires schools to give students services in their normal school.  Encourages  board to use restorative practices instead of removing the students.  (addresses us as board of commissioners)

Monisha ???? - lawyer with public justice.  Removal of students from regular school program and environment is a suspension or expulsion.  PK-2 is illegal to expel students.  unless Medical professional determines imminent danger.  quotes lawful and unlawful and urges rejection.

Amanda White - attorney for disabilities rights Maryland.  CCPS has chosen to provide additional support in an alternative environment.  Civil Rights laws are being violated,  Letter outlining legal violations sent to commissioners.  CCPS required to locate, evaluate and service children with disabilities in it's footprint.  Children with disabilities are being excluded from the learning environment.  behavior modification can be addressed in regular environment.

Melinda Taylor - MD Legal Aid.  represents children in the child welfare system.  Foster care children require additional care.  education is a right not a privilege.  Fresh Start Program proposes segregation of children.  childs perspective is they are being sent away and told they are bad and not normal.

Edith Patterson - Delegate. Sponsored bill in 2017.  HB 425 SB 651. Lots of support. Restricts suspension and expulsion in early years.  Legislative body wasnt aware until January.  Removing students from classroom does more harm.  childhood development shows that a traumatologist should also be employed.  not minimizing the trauma educators receive.  doesnt want the program at stetham.

Susie Proctor - Delegate.  teachers shape the world and is the most important and difficult job in the world.  children now a days are exposed to a lot more at an early age.  Teachers with difficult classrooms need full time master teachers to help them.  Children expressing or acting out should be given therapists and counselors.    Could have a deterrent on students for the school.  Every studemnt have a completed SST evaluation before being moved to this program.  does not support.

Clay Williams - NAACP.  wants funding to reroute to more services in schools.  expand ASPIRE program.  What about the general public.  Why are we just now hearing about this?  what are we doing to step up and help the schools and teachers.  Law states we must exhaust all other interventions.  discrimination.  targets minority are "bad" children. teachers need to be trained.  teachers job is to make students want to learn.  

Shamora Garner - Advocates for children and youth.  (ACY) former educator in Florida.  adverse childhood experiences.  Kindergarten is a Fresh Start.  educators require training and taken seriously.  allocate $452,000 to training.  ASPIRE expand.  Partner with ACY and make CCPS a model for the state.  impacts black male students, school to prison pipeline.  unsuccessful.  segregated and labelled.  FSA tells students they dont belong.  

Dottery Butler-Washington - CCPS is trying circumvent the law.  school to prison pipeline.  FSA is just dressed up to look like helping students while targeting black and disabled students.  racial disparity in discipline begins in Pre-K.  Stethem website says 45 days as a result of Supt process.  if it was your child would you do this?  Budget doesnt have a line item.    programs to benefit ALL students.

Jo St. George - Political Action Chair for MD NAACP.  Revisiting Brown vs. BOE.  Segregation.  Georgia Network of Therapeutic Reform.  Dept of Justice ruled this program was unconstitutional and educational programs not equal.  

Neitha Paul - Legal defender for adolescents.  school to prison pipeline.  childlike conduct is being criminalized.  children as young as seven in the system.  once in the system they dont get out.   feeling of you dont belong and dont receive the services, socialize with peers.    brain is still developing at age 5. Oppose program.

Bob Opeiken - Principal.  speak on behalf of staff.  Many babies at school with challenges.  come to school with an expectation to be safe, and loved at school.  These children need some help.  Staff receives injuries on a daily basis, ankles, wrists, bite marks.  They never ask for consequences, they ask what else they can do to help.  Talk daily about incidents.  Different alternatives.  modifications.  As a parent, my daughter was a chair thrower and a biter.  I spoke alot with her principal and tried daily for different solutions.  I wish i could go back to them and have this program for her. to have 

Krista Saldevault?? - School Psychologist in CCPS.  ASPIRE has afforded the time and space to work with students.  FSA can be positive.  4 students full time in ASPIRE program.  numerous suspensions and infractions and the ASPIRE program is helping them and 3 have gone back to their regular classrooms.  Behavior has changed.  AA students are steered into Special Education at increased rates nationwide.  Build relaitionships with all professionals, students and families.  

Cindy Pryor - elementary teacher for 21 years.  I love my students and love my profession.  K-1-2 is the foundation for learning.  Are we doing whats right for these children?  whats best for these classrooms?  for these teachers? Students i love are struggling and destroying classrooms.  It's a cry for help.  Minutes of instructional time loss for the child in crisis and their classmates.  Teachers trained to deal with extreme cases.  Actions MUST happen.  All teachers children and classrooms matter.

Vontasha Simms - special needs parent.  Student has been mistreated before and now has an IEP and an honor roll student possibly going to college next year.  Students may have disabilities, mental health issues, trauma and they are acting out and asking for help how they know.  Suicide in elementary school due to neglect and unwanted and bullied.  Other surropunding counties have tried meditation and other programs.  school to prison pipeline.  how many children have graduated from Stetham?  gone to college?  business owners?  children are being abused on transportation.  are they being locked up?

Joe Sampson - VP NAACP.  Agrees with CCPS that some students deserve and need additional help.  Just dont agree with FSA.  Use money to expand ASPIRE and specialists. Toured facility.  Cannot get answers on compare and contrast between FSA and ASPIRE.  what happens if a parent opts out.  

Monique Richardson - Spec Ed teacher 17 years.  had my share of injuries and bites.  Young children are unable to regulate.  After 45 days they go back to classrooms and how we helping that teacher and students.  if you pull these kids out they have no role model to follow. Put resources in schools.

Rhonda Goldman - 5th grade teacher in CCPS. we are at a tipping point and have to act now.  Spent an entire quarter socially, emotionally, mentally preparing students before academic for the rest of the class.  Incresae in students that are verbally and physically abusive.  every educator has a right to be safe.  

Nicole Hall - has an autistic child.  K was suspended.  got a flier on FSA.  That select small group of kids is left behind.  "Bad Kid" is being used.  Asked during IEP to never use that word again.  doesnt want to be left behind or labelled.  Use money for training educators.  

Chanel Gaines - Mother of 3 black boys and licensed clinical professional.  Concerned of FSA. Mental health services are being provided in surrounding counties but in our schools counselors dont even have time to talk to students.  Home schools are already understaffed and cant provide the resources needed to exhaust before being sent to FSA.  School to prison pipeline.

Mikayla Wilson - parent.  Oppose FSA. Segregation.school to prison pipeline.  Separation not an opporunity.  Find another way.  Reallocate funds to keep students in schools.

Michelle Beckwith - Principal Craik elementary school.  crisis students are rallied by staff and students alike,  we are still struggling.  these students need to be able to find success.  trainer for restorative practices and all staff has been trained.  my staff has been hurt and parents want to know what else can be done.  How are you going to help my child?  Staff asks what else can be done.  more resources and more tools.  

Vernice Rorie - Principal at Gale Bailey elementary .  Called to first grade class for an evacuation.  other students are crying and fearful and trembling.  Student out of control throwing things and crying out for help.  Move students to safety to manage the student in crisis.  Other students wont come to school for fear.  The earlier we intervene and provide alternative ways to cope the more successful they will be.  

Linda Hayden - Teacher at Gale Bailey elementary.  Are the teachers trrained?  Yes.  Need respect safety and peace in classroom to do job.  Felt bad for child in crisis.  Comforted children having belongings destroyed.  Something has got to be done.  Students are being victimized.  Teachers are beiung assaulted.  Students need help and teachers are leaving.  

N. Buller?? - parent of an ASPIRE program.  The one that throws things and runs around the school.  Diagnosed with ADHD.  I have done my part in a wonderful loving environment.  Has nothing to do with behaviorly challenged,  Six years old and suspended for 10 days.  Never heard about IEP or SST testing.  School has been lacking in support and coping.  Teachers not trained to deal with son.  Psychologist is no help.  ASPIRE program pushed.  Isolation is unethical.

Melissa Bender - Chief of Staff for Debra Davis.  also former educator.  behavioral issues are typically caused by trauma.  Shouldnt target just behavior and needs to address the underlying root causes.  needs a social services aspect.  Do teachers receiving the students back after 45days have the resources they need.  CCPS legal liability for opeing seperate school.  Anything more than 3 days out of classroom is considered suspension and expulsion.

Stacey Olson - teacher at TC Martin elementary.  Love the babies i teach.  All the staff and administrator support but i never know what my day will be like.  data has been taken and central office staff has even tried to help.  biting kicking hitting and scratching.  i feel defeated before i have even started.  teachers and students injured.  what about all the other students.  early intervention is key.

Alicia Warren - sounds like we need to go back to the drawing board.  why couldn't the student be 'fixed' in his regular classroom.  change our thinking to change our world.  change the way we treat each other, we can change the world.  What about medical difficulties?  Do we really meet all their needs?  

Omad Bueler??? - parent in fieldside neighborhood. need a more holistic approach.  has meditation been tried.  restorative practices.  school to prison pipeline.  we dont have the opportunity to come into the classroom because we have to make an appointment.  doesnt like the school board and school systems.    i will pay for private schools.  we are not being represented and this is not okay.  Batimore City uses holistic approach.  reallocate funds to help entire community.  CCPS has a problem.

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