It's official, MVRCS is back in session and summer vacation is over. Yes, back to good ol MVRCS where nothing ever changes. Chris Finn, during his Orientation speech last week, very proudly stated this to incoming Kindergarten parents. To be exact, what he said was that MVRCS is still doing today what they did when they first opened their doors (except of course teacher turnover, which has changed drastically over the years). While the Administration may think that this is a positive thing, we find it disappointing and a bit sad, especially considering that they think this is a good thing. It makes it overly apparent to us just how uneducated the Administration and Board are in regards to best practices in education. Constant research is being done on what our children require to learn, child development, and various educational theories and practices. The fact that MVRCS is totally out of the loop and unwilling to explore what experts in the education field have found, should not be an embarrassment NOT something they brag about. Yes, direct instruction (i.e. rote and repetition) are no longer seen as highly effective or a best practice as that methodology fails to meet the educational and learning needs of ALL students. Of course since none of the Administration has ever worked in any other educational setting and/or do not truly have the credentials that our district schools would require, it should come as no surprise that the school refuses to employ varying approaches in education. Unfortunately, we do not feel as though this is something Chris Finn should be eager to brag about to incoming parents but apparently the school feels that educating the students that can learn through this method is sufficient and, for those students that don't, adios.
This brings us to his next, totally inappropriate but typical, MVRCS standard comment "This is how we do it here and if you don't like it, you can leave" attitude. First off, imagine a Superintendent, Principal or School Committee member making such a statement? They would probably be ousted faster than you could say Winn Dixie yet Chris Finn states it as though it were scripture. Yes, many parents chose MVRCS because they value their childs education BUT if they have any varying views, opinions, or thoughts as to the actual education their child receives, they have mistakenly thought that Kinnon would value their input. No, parents at MVRCS get to decide if their child enters the lottery and subsequently enroll there but the buck stops there! Parents are not given any say or input into how things are done. A parent has a concern about the group level their child is placed in for Reading or Math instruction, good luck getting insight as to how the determination was made or trying to get it changed. Kinnon and his following Administration make all the decisions and parents do not have any input. Again, no room for improvements or possibility of improving things, as remember, NOTHING CHANGES at MVRCS (yes, that includes the Board of Trustees who have all outlived their usefulness - especially Kinnon). Note to new incoming families, be very careful what you say to the Administration as you should know that they do not welcome varying opinions, input, suggestions, or parents standing up for their children. You have enrolled your child in the school and you must check your parental involvement/concern at the door and entrust your child into the hands of an Administration and Board that have questionable (if any) credentials/experience within child centered, innovative, and professionally appropriate educational settings.
We also found Chris Finns orientation speech to be filled with an incredible amount of propaganda while lacking the focus on the emotional needs incoming Kindergarten students. No talk of how parents can best help their child adjust to their first exposure to school (never mind the very structured environment), what children may go through, how the school can and is willing to assist parents through this milestone, or any other discussion regarding their child's development and adjustment to Kindergarten. This should come as no surprise seeing as the school chose not only to move the Kindergarteners to the Athletic facility but to do so after the start of the school year as it isn't finished yet. Heaven forbid they put off plans of relocating students until the facility is complete and has been up and running long enough to work out any issues or problems. Not only did they not take the emotional implications of relocating Kindergarteners to yet ANOTHER new environment, but they increased the number of classrooms for both K and 1st graders. Of course, the school was already bursting at the seems trying to accomodate the students they had yet the Board added 2 additional classrooms before ensuring the Athletic facility was going to be complete. We have to wonder what the law requires a classroom size be for a group of 25 or 30 children. We know that one of the Kindergarten classrooms is obviously too small a space for such a group (the one near the 'kitchen' area of the fishbowl building) yet MVRCS is using it for one class. The parents of incoming children had better hope that the the school does not run in to any further issues that may postpone the completion of the Athletic facility as the current facility is clearly no adequate to accomodate the number of students currently being housed there.
The reoccurring theme we see time and time again with the management of MVRCS is the constant disorganization and poor planning of the Board and Administration. Too often it is overly apparent that they are not all on the same page and/or do not fully understand or choose to ignore the laws and regulations that govern them. The transportation fee fiasco of last year is a clear indicator that they lack a clear understanding of their obligations and effective, professional, well-verse, informed leadership. After charging families for transportation (we won't even get into the linear v driven mileage issue or the use of a hub), they were informed that per their initial charter, they were not permitted to charge for transportation. Of course the jury is still out on whether they knew they couldn't charge and chose to ignore yet another inconvenient law or if they were just clueless as to the implications of their charter contract. In either case, just another example of poor leadership, ignorance, and mismanagement of our children's education. But hey, they require you to leave your child's education in their hands and trust them.
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