BEHIND THE HEADLINES

What are Parents for Dr. D's goals?

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Q. What factors drove the creation of the "Parents for Dr. D" committee?

A. A number of parents in the school district learned that Dr. John DeVincentis was considering retirement at the end of this school year. Concerns began surfacing that his decision was based on conflicts with the superintendent and the Board of Education.

The "Parents for Dr. D" Committee was then formed to make sure the district understood that many of us feel that, after 19 years of service to the school system and our children, every effort should be made to understand and resolve these conflicts.

It is our understanding that Dr. D's first choice would be to finish his career in 2006 as principal of Strawberry Park Elementary School.

Q. What are the goals of the committee?

A. Our primary goal is to see Dr. D finish his career as principal of Strawberry Park Elementary School. In an attempt to accomplish this goal, the "Parents for Dr. D" Committee has worked to facilitate communication between Dr. D and Dr. Cyndy Simms and the Board of Education.

Q. The name of the committee implies that the group's primary mission is to demonstrate support for Strawberry Park Principal John DeVincentis. But are there other issues about which the committee is concerned? If so, what are they?

A. As the Committee worked to accomplish its primary goal of helping the district realize how valuable we believe working out its issues with Dr. D to be, the Committee heard a number of other concerns from the community regarding other issues.

Some of the most concerning issues we have heard are policy governance, as it is currently administered, lacks checks and balances, pay for performance is a hindrance to effective teaching and there is a perceived lack of communication, trust, and respect between and among some of our school board, superintendent, administration, staff and community.

Q. Recently, DeVincentis indicated he would be willing to go to mediation with the school board and the superintendent to work toward resolving their disputes. What role, if any, does the Parents for Dr. D committee hope to play in that process, and what does the group hope will be the outcome of mediation?

A. The "Parents of Dr. D" Committee is pleased that the Board of Education and Dr. D have tentatively agreed to mediate their issues.

We are proud of the role we have played in that effort and equally proud that these two groups have worked quickly and responsibly in an effort to resolve their problems.

We hope the outcome of the mediation results in Dr. D feeling comfortable in finishing his career as principal of Strawberry Park Elementary School.

Q. DeVincentis indicated at one point he might be interested in early retirement. Would the committee consider that to be a satisfactory outcome of mediation?

A. Our goal is to keep Dr. D as Principal of Strawberry Park Elementary School. Any other solution would not be in the best interest of our children and, therefore, unsatisfactory.

Q. Much has been made of the district's system of policy governance. Where does the committee stand on this issue and what changes, if any, would the committee recommend?

A. The majority of our Committee believes that Policy Governance, as it is intended, empowers the teacher in his or her classroom and that much of this management system is beneficial. We understand that, as the president of the Board of Education has often said, it is a work in progress.

The most immediate progression we would like to see is a more effective system of checks and balances between the superintendent and staff, community and the Board of Education.

For instance, we believe that bi-annual evaluations from the certified staff of the administrative team and superintendent should become standard operating practice.

Q. Has the committee discussed its options if it is unable to resolve its issues with the school board and school administration? If so, what are those options?

A. The "Parents for Dr D" Committee is focused on working with the district and Dr. D on a positive resolution to the issues.

Our committee is committed to this positive approach and does not see other options as valid at this time.

Q. How would anyone wishing to support Dr. D do so?

A. Please e-mail letters and comments for Dr. D address to the BOE to parentsfordrd@mindspring.com or write to Parents for Dr. D, PO Box 883113, Steamboat springs, Colo., 80488.

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