Archive for public school

Integrity Matters Regardless Who Is In Office

Posted in Board of Education (General) with tags , , , on April 15, 2014 by Joan Graves


Integrity MattersSome have the misconception that Stand Up Clark County was formed only to  fight the previous administration.  That is absolutely incorrect.  Stand Up Clark  County isn’t a club.  It is a movement.  It is a citizen’s group committed to fighting  and righting all sorts of wrongs, both in and out of the school system.  When  information is brought forward it is investigated and determined to the best of our  ability, if it is credible or not.  If it is, it does not matter who is on the other end of the wrong.  It will be brought out so that the citizens of this great community can make appropriate decisions.

That being said, this instance does in fact have to do with the school system —-AGAIN!  Considering our past, citizens are significantly less tolerable of misdeeds.  Therefore, they will be aired here at first instance.      

Let us be perfectly clear about what the citizens of Clark County expect from their school administration.

1.  Integrity of the highest level.  

2.  Extreme work ethic.

3.  No good ole boy networking

4.  Superiors hold those in their charge accountable at the FIRST wrong & allow him a chance to correct.

5.  Acceptance that your job is for the education and betterment of this community first and you second.

Stand Up Clark County takes the position that it is always best to keep in mind that you are not getting away with what you think you’re getting away with.  Someone is always watching and the truth is always revealed.

Stand Up Clark County and accept nothing but the absolute best for our kids. 

Peeing Under Construction

Posted in George Rogers Clark, Point of View, Schools with tags , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2013 by Joan Graves

Students at GRC are required to wear bright orange construction vests if they leave class to go to the restroom. I am torn between laughter and shock. It is bad enough to think a single person’s brain neurons could so disturbingly malfunction that this would actually seem like a good idea, but this is the action of more than one person. Not to mention I am pretty sure shockingly bright orange vests with reflector strips are restricted under the dress code rules. Well, maybe not. It’s unlikely it ever occurred to anyone to forbid the wearing of construction gear.

School supply lists include hand sanitizer as a means to reduce the spread of germs. But somewhere in the war on germs sharing glowing vests became acceptable. And what about all those letters are sent home every year advising kids NOT to share clothing in order to reduce the spread of lice, the flu and even the potentially deadly MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aurous)?

Then there are all the health risks that come from resisting the urge to…..ummm…..pee all over everything. Isn’t someone in a fancy new science classroom teaching about how the bladder is a muscle and repercussions of stretching it? Do they know what happens when the bladder and urinary system is mistreated? Isn’t there a health class that explains how voiding dysfunction (a fancy term for not going potty) can lead to very serious life-long conditions such as urinary retention?

When Dalton was five, he constantly had to go to the bathroom. We would get ready to leave the house, make him go pee and sternly tell him we absolutely were not going to stop for him to go to the bathroom. Without fail 15 minutes into the trip and he had to pee. We thought it was behavior. We had not a single warning sign there was a dangerous, under-lying condition that had steadily been building for years; until the pain came.

You know that thing a doctor does when he places two fingers on your kid’s tummy and taps with another? As an EMT (emergency medical technician), I learned the typical sounds a body makes when tapped like that. So, when I heard the sickening thud during Dalton’s exam I knew something was bad wrong. It was so distinct his doctor whipped around and looked at me. We did not need words between us to know something was very, VERY wrong.

A whirlwind of tests later, we learned Dalton’s kidney had been dangerously expanding from an inability to empty his bladder. At five, his bladder was three times the size of an adult’s. The specialist explained that even a slight fall could have been catastrophic and we had no inkling. Fortunately, surgery corrected the problem but he is still very susceptible to any disease involving the urinary system.

My best friend, Janeen, had no inclination she also had a “sleeping” kidney condition. Though she had a few urinary tract infections, she was in good health. While undergoing fertility testing, it was discovered she had one kidney. She had no idea the stress her other kidney was enduring by doing the work of two.

My son DJ was in the hospital thankfully when the effects of not urinating hit him. His urine backed so far up into his kidney that an ultra sound technician alerted an urologist that there was an emergency. The doctor ran past me without ever slowing down while spouting our “stat” orders and scaring me to death with words like kidney failure. In his case, we did know there was a problem but our concerns were dismissed. We were told that when he had to go bad enough DJ would go. Their mistake could have cost us DJ’s life.

Wow, that was a turn from fun to scary wasn’t it? I do not say these things to incite fear but rather spread education. Sometimes what we think is minor can be huge. Most kids are not going to suffer these types of problems and some will use a bathroom break as a means to avoid class and do who knows what. The point is that educators teach not doctor. Furthermore, medical privacy laws make it possible for a student to go to the restroom without providing specific reason and in defiance of all school policies. All school officials can do is require a doctor’s note. However, I am thinking that won’t be a problem once the doctor hears about all the threats to the kid’s health from sharing the vest.

As always I recommend, you attend school board meetings or contact your board representative to voice your concerns. I can’t imagine that with all the HIPPA regulations, threats of lawsuits, questions of civil rights and parental pressure, the “Peeing under construction” rule will stand. But then again, I would have never imagined I’d be blogging about peeing in orange vests. However, I do have an idea. As long as students have to wear the orange vests, I think those who agree with or enforce the rule should have to wear this.

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Since a leader is always responsible for decisions made on his watch and the fact that they should always be easily identified I think Principal David Bolen should wear this. 

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Stand Up Clark County for the prevention of disease, humiliation, and utter stupidity.

The remarks in this blog are the expression of opinion.  

 

Our Answers Only Hours Away

Posted in Elaine Farris, Encouragement, Herald-Leader, In The News, Lawsuit, Point of View, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2013 by Joan Graves

2012 teacher of yr Rebecca Mieliwoki

For over a year the citizens of Clark County have searched for answers for what has been described as burning questions. Yet, we have been repeatedly denied what we believe is our right to know. Despite a rigorous legal campaign launched by Elaine Farris to avoid giving a deposition in the lawsuit she filed, that deposition will take place in a little over 12 hours. At long last many questions that have echoed in our minds will now be asked and In a peculiar twist it’s Elaine that we can thank for our impending revelations.

The lawsuit Farris filed against the Columbias and me was ambiguous at best. Though rich in shock-value adjectives, the suit provides not a single shred of evidence or specific allegations.  It basically says we said things about her she doesn’t like so she is suing. Only in a civil case could someone have others hauled into court with a list of baseless allegations and not even a smidgen of circumstantial evidence. The only requirement for a civil lawsuit is money for an attorney. It’s a shocking revelation of American “justice” of which, I could have lived my entire life without knowing,  It’s an an insult to the integrity our forefathers thought they were creating in America and disgusting waste of tax-payer money that could be invested in our schools.

In her deposition Farris will either defend herself and her actions or she will be as evasive as she’s been in the past. I am expecting the latter but Farris’s supporters are excitedly spreading  word that Elaine will rigorously defend herself in great detail. . According to them, Elaine will provide evidence and details that will be a logical explanation for everything and prove us to be liars. And I’m saying that’s not even possible. But one thing is for absolute certain, this time tomorrow we can all stop speculating.

To be fair, we should note that after Farris’s deposition the Columbias and I will also give a deposition. Don’t expect any new information from us. Lord, knows we’ve not only been an open book but we’ve provided sketches, maps and Cliff Notes. But regardless of whether you are interested in information from Farris, the Columbias or me you will have it tomorrow.

Having never gone through the process before, I am uncertain how long it will take tomorrow. But I will provide an update to this blog as soon as possible. It’s impossible to face tomorrow and not thank all of you. It has been one of the greatest privileges of my life to serve my community in this fashion. Thank you for your overwhelming support, perseverance and grace to correct any mistakes I have made. Together we are marching toward truth and justice.

Stand Up Clark County – our time is at hand.

Take 2 of The Backpack Attack

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Point of View with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by Joan Graves

mesh laundry bag

It has become impossible for me to ignore this entire backpack issue but the sheer number of people requesting a response is too much to ignore. I am simply sick with what happened today to some students. The point of having a dress code in school was to level the economic playing field. When my son, Colton, was in middle school his therapist didn’t want to pull him out of class for therapy exercises. The rationale was to not single-out a student as being different. Even though Steve and I both said that therapy was more important than peer perception, it wasn’t done.  So, imagine how surprised I was to learn today that administrators at GRC purposely  singled-out students in front of their peers for lacking the ability to purchase a mesh backpack.

Just like you, my mind is incapable of comprehending why anyone would find it necessary to go to such links to shame and embarrass students. Any attempt at school safety was completely undone the second the decision was made to haul kids into the library for a grotesque display of “the haves and the have nots”.

Before I go further, let me make clear a few things. First, I am speaking opinions that I share with others, some involved in Stand Up Clark County and some not. This is our exercise of our constitutional right to free speech. Secondly, anyone attempting to make this blog about them should save themselves the time and effort. These are statements about a public school system not an individual. If you are an individual, in charge in some capacity within the school system , and you take offense to these remarks, it is only the guilt of your own conscience. Third, I am in no way attempting to create public outrage. I am, in fact, attempting to contain it by encouraging others to peaceful, meaningful and acceptable ways of challenging public regime by elected officials.

Today, a report was released stating that Kentucky scored the absolute lowest in the area of communication between school district policy makers and the community. That has been the central focus of Stand Up Clark County from the onset. There is no way this school district will ever be successful as long as there is no open, on-going dialogue between school officials and the community. At this point there is nothing more the community can do. We have spoken. We’ve made our point and cast our ballots. We must now rely upon our governing educational system to, at the very least, attempt to find a middle ground.

As parents, it is imperative for us to keep a cool, rational mind. We are an example to our kids. There is no harder job than for a parent to remain calm, cool and collected when we perceive our kids have been done wrong. But it is only with a clear mind that we will achieve success for them.

Today, some students at GRC, got an embarrassing lesson in the ramifications of poor leadership.  To those students I would like to say, you have done nothing wrong. You are not less than anyone. You are valuable, intelligent and worthy. You have a tremendous future in front of you. In the words of Elenore Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Do not consent. Do not be angry. See this moment as an opportunity for personal growth. It takes a tremendous amount of character to avoid responding when you feel slighted, yet to do so offers unspeakable rewards.

To the students that had mesh backpacks and were not singled-out, I ask you to go out of your way to help your peers. Show your own integrity by refusing to participate in singling-out students already scorned. The difference in what you carry on your back means nothing if it doesn’t make a difference in how you behave.

School employees, I am well aware that many of you were surprised, disappointed and embarrassed by today’s events.  My advice to you is to always act appropriately but to also stand up for your students. If you are unable or unwilling to go to your supervisors at the very least go to the kids. Make sure your students are not carrying emotional burdens in-place of mesh backpacks.

As parents, it is our  responsibility to make sure our kids always respect employees of the educational system, yet they need to know they have support. Talk to your student about today’s events and determine the level of importance your student assigned to it. Gage their thoughts and emotions without inserting your own. Afterwards, if you feel it necessary I suggest you address the board at the next meeting, which I believe is January 15th.

All of that being said I must again clarify the legality of these statements. I, Joan Graves, am writing these words based upon the overwhelming response to this backpack issue. I am not in any way telling anyone how to behave. I am only pointing out a legal, peaceful, and logical way to express an opinion on the matter at hand. I am in no way encouraging community outrage, contempt, hatred or conspiracy. These remarks are not intend to annoy, slander, annoy, ridicule or defame anyone within the school system. And absolutely, under no circumstance would I be intending to alarm an individual, disturb his/her fragile emotional state or in any other way cause harm or injury to another’s reputation.

So……Stand Up Clark County but only if you want to. 

Keep Standing Up Clark County This Is Your Defining Moment

Posted in Encouragement, Point of View with tags , , , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by Joan Graves
Cover of "TGIF: Daily Workplace Inspirati...

Cover of TGIF: Daily Workplace Inspiration

I receive a brief email devotion each day from TGIF (Today God Is First). A prayer comes before the devotion and apparently are written by different individuals because sometimes they don’t seem to be on the same subject. None-the-less, they are each powerful on their own. But when the two connect, the message is twice as powerful. That was the case today. Considering all the problems we’ve had with our school system, superintendent and board of education, I had to share today’s message with you.

This community has spent nearly 9 months taking the high, very narrow road to change. We’ve battled many things along the way and each has made us stronger. We rolled past every refusal, lie, condescending attitude and threat. Rather than let those things slow us down we rolled them together, forced them behind us and allowed them to become rocket boosters that thrust us forward to a greater good. Each attack that intends to take us down only built us up. We are a community united.

Today, the devotion was on defining moments and I thought of all of you that have been in these educational trenches with me. It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of what this community is doing and the defining moments you all have made. You’ve risked much to gain more. Your efforts are not in vain. And your defining moment isn’t over yet. May God bless you all.

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for being orderly and powerful and loving and understanding! I need your help. You know there are difficult people in this world. There always have been and always will be. Some people can be avoided. Some people I must see and deal with, so I need to know what to do. When they are so wrong and their sin and stupidity affects other people’s lives, but they do not want help nor do they listen to reason and good sense or even Christian counsel from others who have ‘been there,’ there really isn’t much I can do. So what I need to do is ask you to please intervene. Please help me to not react and do or say anything wrong. Please open the other person’s eyes, enlighten their mind, and speak to their heart. Draw that person (or those people) to you. Fill them with spiritual wisdom, increase their knowledge and maturity, and break down the strongholds that keep them from doing what is right and following your will. Please help. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.
Defining Moments
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
08-30-2012
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.”Acts 9:3For Moses, it was the burning bush.

For Peter, it was walking on water.

For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it was walking through the burning furnace untouched.

For Paul, it was being blinded and spoken to by Jesus on the Damascus road. For Daniel, it was deliverance from the lions’ den.

For Joshua, it was parting the Jordan River and crossing into the Promised Land.

There have been many defining moments in the lives of human beings that changed their lives forever. These defining moments often set the course for the balance of their lives.

We could go on and on. Each of these servants had years of preparation leading up to their defining moment. These moments forced the servants to be involved in something beyond their human experiences. It took them outside their own paradigms of life. God had to move them outside their own boxes. And when He did, their lives were never the same.

You may be in one of three stages of life: You may not have had your “defining moment” yet – God may be preparing you with many important life experiences. You may have had your defining moment and you are living out your call. Or, you may be toward the end of your journey and you have already experienced what I speak of. We are all called to a relationship with God; and we are all called vocationally, which is often ushered in by a defining moment. And there can be more than one defining moment, each pointing you down a path that God foreordained from the foundation of the world. The secret of a great life is often a man’s ability to discern the defining moments given to him, understanding them, and learning to walk in the path that leads him to his ultimate destination.

Once you have had a defining moment, you are never the same. Pray that you have eyes to see and ears to hear when your Master brings a defining moment into your life. 

Educational Olympians: Who is the Best of the Best?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 31, 2012 by Joan Graves

In the spirit of the Olympics we want to know who deserves educational gold. Whether it’s a teacher, principal, bus driver, janitor, cafeteria worker etc. they all play a part in teaching our kids. Use the comment form below to tells us how a Clark County Public school employee has made or is making a difference. Then pass the word so others can vote. On the first day of school we will announce the gold, silver and bronze medalists and what they they’ve won. Stand Up Clark County for our Educational Olympians.

http://www.educationworld.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson201.shtml

http://deborahrosereeves.wordpress.com/2012/07/27/jeux-olympiques-a-round-up-of-the-literary-worlds-participation-in-that-thing-that-everyones-excited-about/

http://www.uclass.org/

http://www.london2012.com/join-in/education/

Architects of Change

Posted in In The News, National Stories with tags , , , , , , on July 7, 2012 by Joan Graves

2012 Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwoki has a clear understanding of what a public education must be in order to be successful. The following quotes were taken from a CNN report.

“We have got to stop talking about testing and start talking more about developing, supporting and celebrating teachers,” she said. “Teachers are the architects of the change we’ve been waiting for. We’ve forgotten what a teacher can do that a standardized test can’t.”

“If we want real change, lasting change, if we want back the power, the pride, the soaring achievement that is an exceptional public education, then the revolution begins with us.”

Stand Up Clark County and be architects of revolutionary change.Image

College Bound Kids In Clark County Are Short-Changed

Posted in Point of View with tags , , , , , , , on June 18, 2012 by Joan Graves

Repeatedly we hear how textbooks are not that important in today’s world. The board doesn’t invest in books because they believe that there is no need to in today’s technological world. Yet, a college freshman spends hundreds of dollars on textbooks.

The board likes to do a lot of talking about having our students college ready. But how can our kids be college ready when they leave a school that has no textbooks and enroll in one that requires a lot of textbooks? 

At the end of the day any books that are available stay at school while our students comes home. How can our college students learn to be organized when they’ve had no experience transporting books to and from class? 

What about study skills? Textbooks are laid out specifically to engage and teach with multiple tools packed between the pages. Our students have no experience of taking advantage of the best a book has to offer. They have no basis for effective study habits that are best for them because they don’t have the opportunity to explore them.

Our teachers must make copies of lessons and hand them out. How much money are we spending on copy paper? How much are we paying teachers to disrupt their instruction time to make the copies? This is not a good use of their valuable planning time. And at the end of the day when the teacher isn’t able to prepare sufficiently she must take stuff home to complete on her own time or make the best of what she has. In either situation our kids are not benefiting because the teachers performance is limited by an out of touch board. 

The cost of educating Clark County students increases while the supplies the school provides decreases. Doesn’t sound like a free education to me. To add insult to injury, the board takes our money and spends how they desire without even hearing our thoughts.

It is our money we are suppose to have a say in how it is spent. Stand Up Clark County and tell the Board of Education and Elaine Farris to stop wasting our money!