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Hopewell parents seek answers from school board member
by Angela Spencer
January 16, 2013 08:50 AM | 5608 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hopewell Middle School parents packed out Fulton County Board of Education member Katie Reeves’ monthly community meeting on Tuesday morning to voice concerns they have with how the school is being run.

There were several concerns brought up including the recent resignation of assistant principal Joey Robinson and a breakdown of communication from the school to the parents.

Many parents said they felt Robinson was the only person at the school who would listen to concerns about topics like their student’s academic struggles and bullying.

Reeves said legally she could not discuss personnel matters and would not go into detail about Robinson, but told parents she had asked some hard questions behind the scenes about the resignation.

“To talk about a specific personnel issue in a public setting like this is a violation of federal law and I can’t do it,” she said.

Parents were also concerned about a communication breakdown between the school and them. Before school started in August, Principal Lenora Patterson changed the scheduling from a traditional schedule to a block schedule.

Parents said they were not informed of this and some of their children have had a hard time with the longer classes.

“The teachers weren’t prepared for the change,” parent Eileen Wilson told the Neighbor last week. Wilson moved her son to Northwestern Middle School this year because of the changes.

Reeves said she has been engaging with the parents at Hopewell who have contacted her and has seen some things that need to be improved upon.

“I expressed concern about the quick change to the block [scheduling] immediately as soon as I started hearing from my parents,” she said.

Last year Fulton County Schools were organized into four “learning communities” for more local leadership. Reeves said it is helpful to know that structure so parents can go to the right person to express concerns.

Hopewell Middle School is in the Northwest Learning Community and the area superintendent, Vic Shandor, was at Tuesday’s meeting to address concerns and take notes on what to look for at the school.

Reeves said the processes by which schools make changes and communicate to the parents need to be revisited.

“I don’t want a block schedule going in at the last minute without everybody knowing in any of my schools,” she said. “I do think the communication is central to this whole thing. If the communication improves I believe that will improve the trust.”

Parents were given an opportunity at the end of the meeting to discuss specific problems and issues with Shandor, his staff and other staff members from Fulton County Schools.

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