In the nonstop effort to spin things, in last night's meeting she talked about the 85% 2013 rate of MHS students going to college (two- and four-year). How any of these people can look themselves in the mirror is beyond! I heard one member (of course you-know-who) challenge the figure and report that just back in 2006 the rate was 95%. So this committee sits there and gives themselves another pat on the back for a 10% decline in just a few years?! That's really incredible, even if they all sit there ho-hum, like this is acceptable and great. NO! It is outrageous and it is proof of how these people are letting down the kids of Melrose. "College Prep" and all that nauseating talk about "Excellence" indeed!
At least there was fabulous questioning by a parent from the high school, really well stated, along with the usual great questions/remarks from another you-know-who in the public.
But it's just amazing that anyone would be portraying any of what is happening as "pretty good"! It is not!
Students going to College ("Plans" post high school) in 2012:
93% N Reading
101% Mystic Valley (apparently their PR Guy can't add)
85% 2013 (not posted but reported by CT last night)
It's pretty clear which way Melrose has trended, and it's only "pretty good" if parents think that Saugus is a comparable demographic. Considering that the 2013 Residential Tax Rate in Saugus is $11.28 vs Melrose $13.58 (and going up significantly), seems like Saugus is getting more for its buck, at least as far as its education system (don't get me wrong--I'm not moving to Saugus). Facts are the facts, and this is not a "pretty good" picture.
Watched some of that meeting and thought I was liking some of what I was seeing, until I started adding up the moving parts. It seems convincing until you start really looking at it (though don't ask me to make sense out of the schedule!). New MVMMS VP seems sincere and working hard. MHS principal has deer-in-headlights look and presentation was unprofessional, doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Apparently they think adding more classes and glossing over the problems is legitimate and will fool everyone, but then again, this is Melrose, and they're probably right, unfortunately. The RubberStamp Committee just keeps marching on doing its thing, running the system into the ground, and it's all just so wonderful if you listen to them. Facts, people. Not "pretty good" at all unless Melrose has become Saugus (meaning no disrespect to Saugus, of course).
CT puts the 85% about 8 to 10% lower for 4 year college attendees. Number is shocking especially given the grade inflation at the school. Does anyone even get Cs anymore?
Watching the SC meetings is painful with all of the spin. Last night, MD, CC and Dugan, to an extent, could not stop with the stupid, superficial crap about how wonderful the presentations were from the HS Assistant Principal and Principal. All three of them just sit there using buzzwords and remarking on everything except what is important. First of all, it was a poor presentation. Second, these are adults, not first graders. We do not need 5 minutes of remarks celebrating how well they do everything including breathing before you say anything remotely substantive. Get to the heart of the matter. Super-not CT is the same. BS all around. Speak directly and maybe you can actually accomplish something. They go on and on, the chair never tells them to shut up. Yet, when anything substantive is said, they want the public and CK to stop talking.
Melrose HS and to an extent, the middle school, both tolerate poor teaching. Now they want to add courses instead of fixing what they have. I guess adding courses gets them on that US News or whatever list. But that list does not evaluate how well the students do in those courses.
How much is it going to cost the taxpayer to add keyboards for the beginning piano classes? How much are the materials going to cost for the other courses? Why add more courses when you haven't updated textbooks-like the ones from 1985 (in Spanish)?
The Middle School guy did give a great presentation which was clear and thoughtful. In comparison, the HS guy was incredibly lacking. Also, what is with the HS principal? Clueless and a deer in headlights. She is in way over her head.
And then this from the Mayor's Blog (alternate universe!):
"Last night, the School Committee had a great discussion regarding the new Melrose High School program of study. Whether you have a third grader and an incoming kindergartener, as I do, a student entering middle school or a student entering the high school, it’s important that you learn about Melrose High school and the wonderful, innovative programs that are being offered to our students. Please know that Principal Farrell and the Superintendent are always available to anyone who wants to talk about the future of Melrose High School and the great progress that is being made at our flagship school."
Absolute BS. "Great discussion" my arse. It was just more of the same, perpetrating the fraud that now is the Melrose Administration, with just a very few exceptions (like the new middle school VP, Parsons, who seems quite earnest and intelligent).
Otherwise, unprofessionalism all around, lousy presentation, poorly written, poorly conceived, improperly shoved through without appropriate vetting (but it's clear that a Rubber Stamp was all that was desired anyway). The unprofessionalism is underlined with the hyper-personalizing: "Cyndi," "Marianne," oh we're all buddy-buddy instead of Superintendent Taymore, etc. Same deal when the nincompoops on the committee start flinging insults, making it personal instead of commenting professionally on the content. They just can't help themselves, it seems. Take it beyond that, and these presentations are a perfect example of what's wrong in a nutshell--with poor use of the English language, lack of rational thought process, poor syntax, and massive reliance on glorifying hyperbole. If anyone with a good English teacher's red pencil took a few flings at any one of these documents, and then posted them, the result would be an embarrassing indictment of the poor quality of individuals this district persists in hiring and/or voting into office.
All in all, it's really discouraging. And then you have statements like the one on the Mayor's site, obviously from one of those giddy, gushing MEF parents. Really embarrassing.
And so it goes. More of the same. Yes, SC meetings are so awful to watch, except for the fact that there are still some heroes trying to make things better. But watching the way the meetings go is just excruciating. The snide, dull, ignorant, or overtly ugly proceedings are such a poor reflection on the community. The gross gushing is also absolutely embarrassing, as one put it aptly.d
Come on folks, you are much to tough on Super Taymore, her admin staff, and teachers....sure the data shows that since she was made super of schools, the percentage of those going on to 2 & 4 year colleges has been going down. But look what she has brought to the table: (1) a strategic plan so complicated and profound no one understands it least of all the school committee, her evaluation which is not based on student outcomes and therefore offers no accountability, and she is a jazzy dresser who is blunt! And you wonder why she thinks the school system is in great shape?
Well, actually CT was not around when that dog of a Strategic (not) Plan (not) was brought forth out of the officious little "Focus Groups" that kept the SC and Joe Casey (and his $15,000 consultant Mary Murray) dancing their silly little officious jigs for an entire season (to keep our minds off the many other disasters that were being perpetrated by that administration at the time). No, that boondoggle was the marvel of the previous administration. CT has her own dogs emerging, one after the other, though (like the new splendors unveiled last night), and the Data-Driven Evidence is pointing clearly to a new variation of Melrose Miasma.
FYI, since big or new words are hard for the self-proclaimed "education experts" in town:
noun: miasma; plural noun: miasmas
a highly unpleasant or unhealthy smell or vapor.
"a miasma of stale alcohol hung around him like marsh gas"
synonyms: stink, reek, stench, fetor, smell, fume, odor, whiff
MD: "Supt. Taymore talks constantly about upping the rigor for all students, and I like what I'm hearing"
Well apparently she wants US all to like it too. No, not so much.
Only 85% going onto any old college now and that's "upping the rigor"! SAT results below the State Average. ACT consistently below the State Average from MHS now. MCAS across the district mostly average or lower. And that's "upping the rigor"?! No, that's Taymore and her crew of sycophants upping her salary to over $165,000, and giving all administrators a huge (way more than "one percent" for teachers) jump in salaries. That's the mayor giving himself a 26% raise and calling it ALL Good. Sure they've upped their own "rigor" when it comes to what they demand in bucks from taxpayers!
But they're going to throw some LEFTOVERS like "College Prep" Beginning Piano to the kids (while firing the former Music Director the day before school opened and not hiring a replacement) and hope everyone is just so happy bopping along, with some "Blended Learning" Do-it-Yourself "Integrating Technology" piano lessons on virtual pianos at the high school that they won't notice the abysmal math or science or English scores. Upping the Rigor my arse, 'Enry Higgins!
"Listening to the way the committee managed this was disturbing."
They didn't manage it. They Mangled it! Just another Snow Job by the Rubber Stampers.
More from Driscoll on her blog:
"* The Committee completed its legal duty to assess the Superintendent's mid-year performance and found her to be "On-Target" with respect to her four goals."
Naturally, Driscoll neglects to report (obviously on purpose) that Kourkoumelis did not give Taymore a passing grade of "On Target," but marked her down in half the categories, one of them being about setting a professional environment. Clearly the rest of them have no concept of what professionalism actually means! "Cindy" refers to her staff members as "babies" even in public, and "Maryanne" calls some of her students "leftovers"! But somehow the students are supposed to respect these individuals as their educational leaders!
That's fine...then we should call "Cindy" "Nannie" and "Maryanne" "toast"!
TAYMORE THINKS THINGS ARE PRETTY GOOD. WELL LET ME TELL YOU IT'S FAR, FAR FROM THE TRUTH. FIRST, CHECK OUT FRIDAYS POLICE LOG ABOUT THE
SECOND GRADE GIRLS THAT WERE BULLIED AT THE ROOSEVELT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BY FIVE SECOND GRADE BOYS. ON GOING INVESTIGATION. PARENTS WERE NOT NOTIFIED. IT WAS ONLY WHEN ONE OF THE BULLIED STUDENTS TOLD THEIR DAD THAT THIS WAS BROUGHT TO LIGHT. DAD TRIED TO TALK IT OUT WITH GRACE, THE PRINCIPAL WITH NO PRINCIPLES, THAT HE HAD NO OTHER RECOURSE BUT TO GO TO THE POLICE. NOT THE FIRST INCIDENT AT THIS SCHOOL WITH BULLYING. THEN OF COURSE THERE IS ALL THE DISCOURSE WITH THE GAY BASHING AT MHS. THERE ARE THE TWO STUDENTS MELROSE PAYS $92,000 A YEAR FOR THEM TO ATTEND SCHOOL ELSEWHERE FROM BEING BULLIED SO BADLY. THEN THERE IS THE RASISM WHICH GETS BRUSHED UNDER THE CARPET. HOW ABOUT THE RAISES FOR TAYMORE AND HER PALS. CHECK OUT THE BUDGET SCHEDULED FOR TOMORROWS SCHOOL COMMITTEE MEETING. WONDER HOW THE MAYOR GOT APPROVAL FOR THAT WHOPPING RAISE, ASK THE ALDERMEN WHO APPROVED IT IN EXCHANGE FOR FREE INSURANCE. OR HOW FARRELL MADE IT IN AS PRINCIPAL. DON'T FOLLOW THE SCHOOLS GUIDELINES IN THE MHS HANDBOOK ON SKIPPING SCHOOL AND DRINKING. HOW ABOUT PPS AND PATTY WHITE LAMBRITE. PARENTS OF STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS, DO YOUR KIDS A FAVOR AND SEND THEM SOME PLACE ELSE. SHE HAS NO INTEREST IN YOUR CHILD'S WELL-BEING. ITS THE BOTTOM DOLLAR, THE LEAST THEY CAN SPEND AND LESS SERVICES. DON'T WORRY. SHE LOOKS OUT FOR HER OWN. HIRING FRIENDS WITHOUT ENOUGH KNOWLEDGE. HIRING HER OWN CHILDREN AND THEIR FRIENDS FOR SUMMER JOBS NOT MELROSE STAFF OR MELROSE STUDENTS. THEN THERE IS BRENT CONWAY OR AS HE IS KNOWN BY STAFF AS MIGHTY MOUSE. PRAY BILLERICA TAKES HIM. HE IS ONLY INTR
ERESTED IN POLITICAL ASS-KISSING NOT THE WELLFAIR OF OUR CHILDREN. TOM BROW IS RETIRING. I'M NOT SURE IF THAT'S A GOOD THING OR BAD. LETS SEE. BOY BEATEN IN THE GYM. PERMITTING THE NURSE TO LEAVE SCHOOL GROUNDS TO SMOKE. PREFERABLE TREATMENT OF CERTAIN TEACHERS AND DEGRADING OF OTHERS. HE DOES A GOOD JOB WITH VETERAN AND DRUG AWARENESS. YOU DECIDE.
If you stop yelling, somebody might pay attention to you.
Not only is the nurse allowed to leave the school so that she can get her nicotine fix but to also meet up with her friend Jack Daniels.
No worse than last Hoover chief heading to packie for 10 a.m. shots (saying he was going to a "meeting")
Kids here have fine role models!
I'm not yelling. My cap lock was on. But maybe we should start yelling. Like that quote, "I'm mad as well and I'm not gonna take it any more." What happened to the Melrose of my childhood. It's gone. What happened to revearing the elderly? Yes for all the yuppies or what ever they are called now, sure Whole Foods is a great store. An expensive store. Does anyone believe Melrose senior citizens can afford to shop there? Yes, it makes Melrose "appear" to be the city it used to be, prosperous. But wouldn't it have made more sense to have a Market Basket that has more reasonable prices? You can thank the mayor for that. People who can afford to shop at Whole Foods can afford to go to the next town over. Most of our elderly cannot. It is disgusting that Mayor Dolan thinks more of appearances than our most vulnerable who can barely afford their meds. On a personal note, during school committee meetings his true self seeps through. Just because you are mayor does not give you the right to speak down to committee members or roll your eyes at members of the public who have the right to voice their views. Mayor Dolan has taken over almost every aspect of OUR city and OUR schools. So now I'm yelling. Will it do any good.
There. Now didn't that feel much better, calmly typing out some important information?
Why yes it did. Thank you!!
Taymore and her true colors shown on SC meeting last night. Swearing at a member of the public for voicing their concerns. Shame on you. Sitting on your thrown next to The Joker, joke of the committee as KT NEVER interveined. Now one my not care for this speaker but every citizen who dwells in Melrose has rights. Well true colors, I hope you run as far and fast as you can away and take that dip-**** J. PICONE with you. I shouldn't sink to BeTramore,s lowly level but if she can swear on MPTV I can speak her speak on here as well. I'm outraged by her and lack thereof refined language. Lol. But I'm not even laughing to myself.
I can't really comment on the elementary schools, but I can say that there are many high school parents who are unhappy with the quality of the education their kids are getting. I guess I don't really understand the disconnect between what the administrators keep telling everyone, and what parents are actually hearing from their students and seeing with their own eyes. If you spend time with virtually any random group of parents who are involved in their kids lives and care about education, you hear the same complaints you heard three, four years ago. The high school staff, overall, has a terrible reputation, with the exception of some truly outstanding teachers whose names everyone knows, and whom parents live in fear of their retirement. Same problems with teachers refusing to post grades and homework on ASPEN, teachers refusing to give back tests and corrected assignments so students can understand what they got wrong, teachers who seem to hate the students and their job, teachers who don't seem to follow the curriculum and leave kids unprepared for the next level of study.
I would not describe the scene at the High School as "pretty good". The superintendent needs to get out of her office and talk candidly to parents about what REALLY is happening at the High School, and not rely only on what the principals are telling her.
It was disgusting to see the School committee applauding about the accreditation thing being corrected or whatever at their meeting last night, as if this was something to celebrate. It's disgusting that it ever got to this point, that it has been so bad for so long, and now that anyone thinks it's okay in its current state of dysfunction and disrepair. It's still a disgusting, poorly built, poorly maintained building, and obviously it's still at the bottom of the politicians' priorities, where even a coat of paint is too much to ask, let alone replace the rotten ceiling tiles, rip up the ugly filthy grey rug in the resource center, replace the bathrooms/locker rooms/lockers, on and on. But oh, we must make sure to ask for half a million dollars to replace the Hoover's windows! Disgusting! And those committee members launched into applause, for gawd's sake. How did it ever come to pass that Buxton still has his job after chairing the original NEASC committee and failing to make sure that there was a written curriculum for each subject area? There is no excuse for what passes as acceptable in that place. Shame on all of them!
A respectful request to the people who log on to read and/or post here. I am a bit bewildered. I am reaching out to you because it surprises me that my above CAPPED message about all the bullying, no-one has mentioned their disgust with how African-Americans or gay, lesbian, transgender students are subjected to racial taunts or gay-bashing. EVERY student has the right to an education without fear of retribution because they are born a certain color or sexual identity. I thought Melrose was more progressive than that. Every American regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or disability deserves respect: I would greatly appreciate voicing it here. Many students log on here. It would be nice for them, as anyone, to know they are accepted in our community. This applies to anyone living here or being educated in MPS. Thank you!
Watch in the next few weeks how many spin stories the administration and mayor's office puts out there about how fabulous our education system is. It's a predictable trend, just when things are really tanking, that there will be a flurry of silly crap announcements of all the recognition they have sought (where there is a very low bar). Don't be fooled by these things. The fanfare will be incessant, with the hopes that it will drown out the actual state of affairs, particularly as we enter high party season (as it were) at MHS.
Don't be so gullible, Malden may have more Ivy acceptances not because their students are smarter but because their students fit into the demographic slots the Ivys are possessed with maintaining. When your kid loses a spot at Yale to someone with lower board scores and grades because they are a certain demographic, you will then understand.
I said "may". I don't know all the facts and no one can say if this is an apples to apples comparison between the two cities.
Looking for a little knowledge here - two kids were removed from the system because of gay bashing and is costing the city $92k. Is it 1977? I'm rarely surprised at the horror shows that go on unreported to the public in the schools and otherwise but had always thought the students had more common sense than the administration. Really sad.
All the circus show needs now is for Steve Gordon to return from his one year paid leave wearing a doctors mask because the air that 900 students in the high school were breathing was toxic.
Love him or hate him, this is the hell that Bobby Snow predicted back in the mid 90's, more accurate than the 'snow' we've had this winter. To the haters, if he went blind and deaf would he have been any worse than the garbage the kids and families have been subjected to?
It's impossible for someone on the outside to decipher all your cryptic messages. Can you be more clear? If what you say is true, there is a lot that would be of concern and interest to many. But the way you express yourself, it's hard to tell what's going on.
I really think some of these MEF moms need to talk to some middle school/high school parents about the quality of the education kids are getting in the upper grades. If these families plan on staying in Melrose and sending their kids to the public schools, then they better get off their a$$es and stop worrying about elementary science fairs, and start learning about the real problems at the high school. You can hand out all the money you want for "grants", for "enrichment", and it won't help the high school; all the research shows that the biggest factor in a students success is the teacher. Having a highly skilled and effective teacher trumps everything; class size, the latest technology, etc.
This isn't elementary school, where the PTO mommies can schmooze and flatter teachers in the hopes that they will get some extra attention for their kids. Your involvement won't matter at the high school level, in fact it will be seen as an annoyance. If you want to use your influence to help the high school, start asking questions about the qualifications of staff and the new evaluation tool. If that tool is actually being used, then it would mean that some of the teachers up there will be gone; or is everyone getting great evaluations to maintain the status quo? Start asking what the administration is doing to communicate with parents and students about their concerns. Talk to some current high school parents about their kids teachers and experiences, and ask yourself if that is what you want for your children.
Better yet, why don't you MEF moms create a survey to find out what the real issues are in the schools? Because you are going to be in for the shock of your lives once your kids hit 9th grade and they start coming home with stories about their high school experience. Your choice will be either to move, pony up 80K or more per kid for private school, or stay and tough it out. If you plan on staying, you should start demanding accountability and professionalism at the high school NOW.
In the mid-90's Steve Gordon started wearing a doctors mass because of the recycled air in the high school and was gone for about an entire school year (paid) and no one knows what happened to clean the air (or if it was). It's 2014 and the same building - a cause for concern if Gordon's claims were true (otherwise, why would the Incerto posse give him the cash?). To someone outside of the inner circle and the 'Melrose elite' having those people running our school was the beginning of the end with a long snowball effect 20 years later.
Whether you loved him or hated Bobby Snow (and the elite hated him because he spoke his mind, a no-no to the elite) he was spot on with many predictions and observations. Incerto giving six figure paydays to insider club members like Barbara Quinlan after she voted him in as superintendent. Lawson getting the crown. Groden quitting the school committee in the middle of a meeting, then given a plush job at the high school because she didn't have any health insurance. In 2014 the band plays on.
Am very interested to hear about the 'gay bashing' of students at MHS. The elite quiver every time there's a story in the paper about drinking and other teenage mischief raining on their party. If you were a teenager spending days 'learning' from people you wouldn't trust to take care of a goldfish never mind your child's education you might be driven to drink, too. Something for the elite to ponder while they drink wine with a pinky in the air at Memorial Hall patting each other on the back.
I might be a little out of touch with every issue going on in the system right now but a strong yet respectful voice on the Melrose TV channel would certainly rock their boat and it would be available to everyone in the city, not the 1500 people that get the Free Press.
If you take a look at the teaching rosters at MHS around the time the Jim Hayes no confidence vote was taken by the faculty in the mid-90's almost the entire staff at the time was gone by the early 2000s. All of them.
So does Taymore still think things are "pretty good"? Wow.