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Public Meeting with Dr Skelly last night at Jordan
Original post made
by Parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Oct 25, 2007
Is there anyone who attended this meeting who would like to comment on what happened? Thanks.
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Posted by Grateful we have a new Sup
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2007 at 11:18 am
I was going to tell this to Dr. Skelly personally, or write it up with my name today on Town Talk, but there is too much potential to be seen as simply a brown noser, so I will keep it anonymous.
In all I have personally experienced in talking with him, listening to him, watching his results, and going last night, I believe Dr. Skelly is a good person, honest, transparent, direct, dedicated to the kids, respectful of all people, wants to listen and learn, open-minded, thoughtful, very sharp minded, and dedicated to being ethical.
He is all those things, and at the same time he is no wimp.
He will work for what he believes is right, no doubt. There is confidence, backbone, and experience there.
I, for one, have no doubt he and I disagree on a couple things already, but I also have no doubt that I could tell him why we disagree and what I believe he isn't understanding or doesn't know. I really believe he would listen openly and respectfully, and maybe even change his mind with new information, not just dig in his heels on a pet project. If he still wants whatever he wants at the end of the day, I believe he will have be able to actually explain why he draws different conclusions in spite of the new information, not simply through ignoring the information.
This will be refreshing, to have someone who might even be able to reframe objections in a respectful way which shows he really understands them, even if he disagrees with their conclusions.
He seems to be someone who understand he works for the community through our Board, and who will do his best to achieve whatever vision the Board and Community set in the next year, in whatever priorities we agree on, in an ethical and respectful way. There is no way that we can all agree on the end results, but I believe I can trust him to do the best he can to accomplish what we, the community, and the Board, agree to accomplish in the next year.
That said, I heard last night many things
1) He is dedicated to a change in the way we "hire" around here. At last a high position is going to be advertised and all candidates openly vetted. ( The new Jordan principal position). He flat-out will not simply hire the first one who wants it internally or the one he likes. There will be an open process. What a breath of fresh air!
2) He heard someone make an objection to taking Federal money for our own rich District ( The FLAP or upcoming FLES grants), given that there are so many districts in need of that money. He clearly listened, he heard the kind heartedness in the intent of the commenter, empathised, re-framed and thought out loud, and ended up still saying we should take it, but then stated good reasons why he disagreed with her, that this was not taking money away from others, etc. Ok, agree or disagree with him, I had to say that I admired his answer, and the way he treated her. He clearly thought about it.
3)He can admit an error. Wow, how refreshing was THAT??? He admitted that he ..well, I can't remember his exact words ..but the end result was that he DID say that he wished he could take back his sentence about the 20-30% of High School kids who are not being served well here, or whatever that was. He admitted it was an off the cuff comment with no specific data or plan attached to it, just a comment that not everyone fits into the overachiever or the Special Ed areas of High School, and we need to try to "hook" the ones that might get away.
4) He stated something very categorically which is not going to be popular, but gave good reasons for it..and that was a Charter threat was not something we should plan around. We would deal with it if and when it happened. I, personally, loved it and agree with it, but it is not "common wisdom".
5) He stated categorically he would not support "revisiting" MI. At the same time, I heard him say that he is very leary of exploring expanding or creating more "choice" programs with the issues of equity of access surrounding them. So, I heard that he understands at least THAT valid comment, without giving it a derisive flavor. THAT is a relief.
6)Skelly had praised us at length in his intro ..about how involved we were, how knowledgeable, how "insatiable" is our desire for info etc. In answer to one question from someone about how he feels about our ( her words) "insatiable" desire to give our opinions, I thought for sure I would hear what I am used to hearing, a derisive dismissal of all of us and what a pain we are and just a necessary part of the job etc..instead, I heard him welcoming our input. He even said he reads the blogs! How refreshing was that!!??
There was more, but I have to stop now. Besides, I am sure you are tired of reading this!