Brief News Updates

Too much of my time this week was spent wrestling with WSSD over an open records request. More on that when I have the time. Here’s some quick updates on the news.

The state reapportionment committee has finalized the maps for the state house and senate districts by a vote of 4-1 (only House Republicans objected). It appears they haven’t changed anything as far as Nether Providence is concerned. There are now 30 days to appeal these maps, which is awkward since nomination petitions start being signed before that. The state supreme court also took over the congressional map process after the legislature and governor couldn’t resolve their differences.

In his email yesterday, the WSSD superintendent provided clarity on the plans to move to optional masking in the district.

As a result, SHHS will move to mask-optional effective February 7th. If the incidence rate goes back up to 2% or above on any day, the building will return to mask-required on the following school day…If incidence rate trending continues, then NPE is on track to move to mask-optional beginning February 9th and WES on February 11th, per the rolling 14-day period. SHMS has dropped below the 2% threshold today. We will continue to monitor their progress. At this time, SRS is still above the 2% threshold.

It appears the incidence rate must remain below 2% for 2 weeks before masking is made optional. SRS shows no signs of getting near that soon, but the other schools now have timelines. The email doesn’t make it clear how guardians will make their preferences for their children clear. I’ve seen no process for doing so.

The Educational Affairs committee met this week. Unfortunately, there’s no minutes or video available of this meeting, but you can find the presentation here. It covered the curriculum, communications and equity audits. The curriculum audit looks straight-forward and includes all the elements you might expect – reviewing student work, teacher roles, class sizes, curriculum itself, testing and facilities. Pretty all-encompassing. The auditors will be visiting on March 7-9th and their report will be presented in May.

The communications audit is more concerning. Much of it seems to consist of marketing and branding, not improving communications with the community. Given the recent changes the district is making to make its decision-making processes less open to the community, this is concerning. This audit appears to be an exercise in PR, not an effort to improve genuine communications with the community. This will cost $14-25k and take 8-16 weeks.

The equity audit presentation seems to consist of next steps building a cultural proficiency, equity and inclusion administration but doesn’t present any of the results of the audit. It lays out a framework involving staff, teachers and students. Although there’s a few mentions of the community, the focus here seems to be on putting these additional burdens on already overworked teachers and recruiting students to work with their peers. But the presentation given here doesn’t seem to contain any of the underlying audit results to justify this program.

In township news, the NPPD has started regularly posting arrest information to their new website. NPPD named Brian Bonnes the officer of the year for 2021. The NPPD has also started a camera registry.

Categories: Ramblings