Parent Meeting Minutes

Parent Meeting - 27, 2012: MS/HS

posted Mar 9, 2012, 8:43 AM by Juanita Burch-Clay   [ updated Mar 9, 2012, 8:44 AM ]

Parent Group Meeting – February 27, 2012  - MS and HS Topics

At this meeting we did a “SWOT” exercise, where we looked at perceived
  • Strengths
  • Weakness 
  • Opportunities
  • Threats
Please keep in mind that the perceptions listed below are comments from the people present, which included 11 parents of students from preschool to grade 11, plus our counselor, Kathy Cunningham, and our VSAC representative, Jim Estes. Note also that some topics come under more than one category.

  • Small classes (mentioned multiple times)
  • Individual attention (mentioned multiple times)
  • Good communication
  • Flexibility
  • Many opportunities to participate
  • K-12 interaction and role models
  • Graduation rate – 97% in 2011, 86% over past years
  • Great teachers
  • HS Math, Art
  • Strong community
  • Great kids

  • Limited selection of courses
  • Not many AP and honors courses
  • Not enough support for high achievers
  • Lack of opportunities, lack of diversity because of small size
  • Not enough student accountability
  • Expectations for students not high enough, not enough academic rigor (mentioned multiple times)
  • HS Art, HS History, Connected Math
  • Student motivation is low, a culture of lack of motivation (mentioned multiple times)
  • Too much free time/not enough structure (i.e. students don’t seem to use their study time effectively)
  • MS time for extra support (beyond what they already get)
  • Teacher to teacher communication (i.e. when scheduling HW, tests, projects)
  • NECAP scores
  • Staff accountability
  • Teacher-parent communication
  • Homework
  • Homework    
  • Similar to the strengths
  • Small size
  • Flexibility
  • Distance learning
  • Dual enrollment in high school and college
  • Multiple routes to graduation
  • Mentoring
  • Get student input
  • Learn from experiences of former students
  • Build motivation for MS/HS students
  • Bring in inspirational speakers
  • Share transition to HS and to MS info with parents, students
  • Build study skills, encourage students

  • All the weaknesses listed
  • Economy
  • Government intervention
  • Poor parenting and/or low parent involvements
  • Drug
  • Students leaving after MS – for other high schools and for Stafford
  • Weak “habits of mind”
  • Parking lot
We mentioned that the teachers, in reviewing the school, have come up with many of the same perceptions and concerns. There are a number of actions and initiatives in place at this time addressing some of these concerns

Next steps:
  • We decided we needed to hear from the students. We will have a student-run parent-student dialogue evening for the meeting on March 12. 
  • It’s time to clarify what we expect from our graduates and how we get there. We need a clear vision of what a successful West Rutland student looks like. 

Notes transcribed by Juanita Burch-Clay

Minutes/January 23, 2012

posted Feb 6, 2012, 5:44 AM by Lynn Ackerman

WRS Parent Meeting

January 23, 2012 – WRS Library

Present: Juanita Burch-Clay (principal), Joe Harrington (assoc. principal). Teachers: Kathy Turgeon, Chris Pawlusiak, Dawn Daley. Parents: 21 parents

Introduction: overview of power point presented at first meeting. Reminder that we are not digging ourselves out of a hole!

  • West Rutland has placed at or higher than state average 3-8 NECAP’s in Reading, Writing, and Math

  • Vermont placed 4th in the country on the NAEP assessment.

  • Our teaching staff is remains the same; we have very little turnover.

  1. Report on actions from Jan. 9 “Communication” meeting (website, email lists, signage, etc.) : The website committee is beginning to organize, to make suggestions for website improvement.

  1. Partnerships and Committees

    1. West Rutland has partnered with “Safe Routes to Schools” for a safer parking lot and for safety for the kids who walk and ride bikes to school. Joe Harrington is working on this. Anyone interested in being on this committee should let Joe know.

    1. PIRC: Plan for “Family Friendly Walkthrough” and request for team members: West Rutland has also partnered with PIRC (Parent Information Resource Center) through Vermont Family Network in obtaining a grant to have a “family-friendly walk through”. This is to assess the school’s openness to and involvement with parents. Anyone interested in being on this committee should let Juanita know. A survey will be done for parents and students.

  1. Presentation of general information about elementary class structure:

    1. Approaches to elementary education – philosophical and instructional

      1. Multi-age classrooms, pros and cons:

Juanita gave an introduction to multi-age education, and various teachers spoke about their views and experiences (Dawn Daley – First/Second , Kathy Turgeon – 3rd, Chris Pawlusiak – 4th, Julia Pipeling – High School)

What research is needed/being done:

  • Talk with the teachers

  • Research the pros and cons

  • Consider external realities (budget/class size/economy)

  • Collect parent perspectives

  • Consult with other experts (superintendent/school board/Dep’t of Education)


  • Single level – one age/grade per class, single curriculum

  • Combination classroom – two grades with separate grade curricula

  • Multi-age classroom – two or more age/grade levels learning in continuum, at a variety of levels and speeds

    1. Enrollment and class size at WRS

    2. Economic realities

Numbers for 2012-2013:















There are currently 11 elementary teachers. It was decided that there would be two Kindergartens and three 1/2nd grades taking 5 of the 11 teachers.

The other 6 teachers would be used in the following possible scenarios:

Possible classroom make up:

  1. Two 3rd grades; Three 4/5th grades; Two 6th grades

  2. Two 3rd grades; Two 4th grades; Three 5/6th grades

  3. Three 3/4th grades; Three 5/6th grades

  4. Three 3/4th grades; One 5th grade; Two 6th grades

  5. One 3rd grade; One 4th grade; One 3/4th grade; Three 5/6th grades

  1. Sharing of parent perceptions, questions, and concerns about on specific elementary issues

    1. Open discussion

    2. Recommendations to the administration for next year’s classes

Option 5 met with the most approval followed by option 2. Option 2 will require an additional teacher to be taken from the high school.

  1. February 13 meeting - set the topic and agenda:

There is another meeting on February 13th at 6:00 for the parents of current 2-5th grade parents. The current teachers for grades 3-6 will be invited to the meeting.

Notes taken by Trish Pelkey and edited by Juanita Burch-Clay.

Update – Feb. 5, 2012, from the principal: Teachers continued the elementary class structure and multi-age discussion at a meeting on Jan. 24.

  • Option 5 (mentioned above), with one 3rd grade class, one 4th grade class, and one multi-age 3-4 class seems like the best option. We have a teacher who would like to teach this class and will be preparing for it during the coming spring and summer. With parental support, we will commit to this arrangement for at least the next two years.

  • The current grade 5-6 arrangement of multi-age homerooms and rotating through specialist teachers will remain the same, with some adjustments made to cover all curriculum.

  • Middle School will remain as grades 7 and 8.

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