School Board Member Joy Bowen Seeks Help from Parents

School Board Member Joy Bowen Seeks Help from Parents

Responding to a proposal from Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor to address what he views as sub-par testing performance by Title 1 schools, Leon County School Board member Joy Bowen asked Proctor to help her reach the parents of Title 1 schools.

Proctor spoke at the July 30th Leon County School Board and told the Board that based on “the FSA over 60% of District 1 students are performing below grade level in English, Math and Science…The FSA data reveals a crisis exists in the Title 1 schools and I recommend radical intervention in Title 1 schools.”

Proctor asked the Board to invest $20 million over the next five years to get more students to perform at grade level.

Proctor said, “As the School Board welcomes an additional $15 million for its next budget year, I implore you to invest an additional $4 million annually in “Project Student Success 2020” over the next 5 years to improve reading scores across the 12 Title 1 schools in our community.”

Bowen, in an 18 minute speech, said she was “jarred to the core” by Proctor’s criticism and spoke about the need for parents to step up.

Bowen, addressing Proctor, said, “I need your help in helping me to help parents to understand what the responsibilities are to have their children come to school ready for school….I understand that improvement is always possible and in our school system we can still do some things to improve what we do were not perfect but it takes all of us.”

Bowen continued, “I need your help to mobilize these parents…so that when these children come to school they can come to school ready. That you can help me stand shoulder to shoulder and say to parents when little Joy or little Bill leaves home let them know that you want them to check their behavior. Because when they walk into a classroom you want them to know you expect them to learn you expect them to sit down you expect them to be attentive and you expect them to bring that education home.”

Click here for audio clip.

The Leon County School Board attorney, Opal Williams, would not let Commissioner Bill Proctor respond to Bowen’s comments.

The Board did not take up Proctor’s proposal.

22 Responses to "School Board Member Joy Bowen Seeks Help from Parents"

  1. We voted FOR the Florida Lottery Decades ago to ENHANCE the School Budget and it ended up replacing the School Budget. NOW they are taking money away from the Lottery Money the Schools are getting to pay for other stuff and everyone can’t believe why the Schools are they way they are………..

  2. Jane,

    This is starting to concern me about complaints regarding their not wanting to be parent input because I am hearing that a lot.

    There needs to be an appointed superintendent, but in this environment friends and cronies are appointed and not the most competent. So, it could get even worse.

    Mark, perhaps we should put Pons at Nims and if he could make that an “A” school perhaps he could make a case for running again for superintendent.

    Maybe that could be the bailiwick whoever is able to make these F schools an “A”school deserves to be appointed superintendent.

    1. Hope,
      Rocky Hanna already paid Pons $100,000 because Rocky put in place a distinct do not hire Pons/vendetta which cost the district as Rocky engaged in unfair labor practices. Rocky Hanna has put out a “hit list” which hurt students, denied rightful employment status and is currently undergoing further litigation.

      May I suggest start by holding Rocky Hanna and his Assistant Superintendents accountable before issuing contests where Rocky Hanna and his vendetta supercede any rules you wish to live by.

      Accountability start with Rocky Hanna, it ends with Rocky Hanna. While Rocky Hanna has a rich background in avoiding accountability like not paying child support for 10 years, not self reporting his ethics violations which include dating teachers he evaluated then bullied into a transfer with a monetary settlement, purposely misleading state and federal authorities costing taxpayers over $600,000. Accountability it is seen in Leon Schools through the lens of the widest achievement gaps in the panhandle.

  3. SmarterThanYou, not everyone has the resources or the option of placing their kids elsewhere. The only option for many is public education. The best remediation is to listen to the parents and community. Work with them. I don’t think LCSB does that. There’s a lot of shady things that goes on in LCS. Their office is either full of incompetent people they removed from schools because of complaints from faculty/staff or if they actually are good in their position, they are loaded with work and their opinion is not valued.

    Maybe we should just appoint a superintendent.

    Anyways, Rosemary, your comment is beautifully written and I couldn’t agree more

    Hope, I’m not originally from Tallahassee but I’ve been here for quite some time. Seems like there are a lot of crooked people in charge of things that greatly impact others. Such a shame.

  4. Well when voters get smarter and leaders do their jobs then we will see improvements, but a mayor who spends his time and energy making TV car commercials misusing his position and Nick Maddox as director of the Boys & Girls Club Tallahassee is going to continue in this downward spiral.

    Investigations are needed here.

  5. I don’t believe Joy Bowen was playing the parent blame game and to say that she is, is unfair.

    I believe students are able to get a good education at the Leon County Schools and more harm is done by people criticizing and doing nothing than stepping up and getting involved.

    1. Hope,
      Did Not Bowen state would the school system would do? No she did not.

      Scapegoating parents is not a student achievement strategy. It is an announcement that the school system is a failure.

      Blame and divert, classic Rocky Hanna tactics. School board members are drinking the Rocky Hanna kool-aide while teachers are the 46th lowest paid in Florida, while we have an achievement gaps at the time they excuse and facilitate the ongoing abuses of Rocky Hanna.

    2. Hope, I know its hard to believe but the school district is very anti-parent and runs out parents who try to be involved. They only want those who sit back and sanction what they do and say. And to the extent some parents may become more vocally critical, it is only the result of intense frustration at how they and their children are treated. Most of the ones I know were professional, engaged and motivated to improve the education system. They have either moved or are homeschooling or put their kids in private school. Those are the parents you want in the school system because they can bring resources and ideas and they desperately want to have a positive impact. This LCS leadership doesn’t want them anywhere near the school district. And no, you cannot get a “good education” from Nims or Fairview if you are not IB or any of the high schools if you are put on the remedial track. Its more accurate to say some students can get a good education. Separate but equal. I wonder how many of the district asst, superintendents came name that landmark Supreme Court case. Can the superintendent? Can all of the Board members?

  6. Commissioner Proctor needs to be made to understand that all the millions of dollars he wants to see poured into increasing the abilities of school children would
    make no difference if they live in a home without decent parents to support them! To quote a recent Zinger, “A” parents produce “A” students! Proctor refuses to accept the truth of this matter!!

    1. Your logic is illogical. Parents matter, as it relates to learning, schools matter, the quality of instruction matters, the leadership qualities of the Superintendent matters. Leon Schools has the largest achievement gaps because Rocky Hanna is clueless. Stop blaming parents. Start holding Rocky “hit list” Hanna accountable. Leon teachers are the 46th lowest paid in Florida while political appointments aka Assistant Superintendents are paid over $100,000 each. Leon Schools is run by a vindictive closed minded Superintendnt. Why is it that this community is all about holding parents accountable but we have no such call for accountability when the Superintendent hid from child support obligations for 10 years, dated teachers he supervised, bullied a teacher into a transfer with a monetary settlement, falsified information to state and federal authorities, screamed obscenities on the steps of the capital, mislead parents at graduation speeches and more. How about accountability for the Superintendent.

  7. If I’d been able to attend, this is what I wanted to say at Proctor’s scheduled meeting:

    (I’m unwilling to play the parents-are-the-problem card, until/unless LCSB is doing everything it should do itself.)

    LCSB is not alone in failing its students. And the FSA test scoring that undergirds the School Report Cards underreports the failures. Everyone needs to know that when a student reads at a FSA level of 3, it is NOT competency in grade level reading. That is a 4. We are not actually teaching most of Leon County School students what they need to successfully transition to a good job and/or college. We can do much better than that.

    The problem is not that teachers don’t love students. Or that they don’t want to do right by them. Or that they don’t work hard enough. Or that they aren’t good teachers.

    It is that teacher training programs fail to teach teachers everything they need to know. It is that LCSB doesn’t spend enough money on professional development in the right skills, including time to do it. It is that our salaries (which may be inadequate) reward time employed and degrees, rather than knowing and using techniques and interventions that work. (There should be a salary bump for a teacher’s 4th year of teaching as research supports that.) It is that teachers cannot get the support staff they need. It is that across the district we have not adopted research proven interventions, provided sufficient and effective professional development, and delivered them with fidelity. An administrative law judge, in awarding a student four years of compensatory education in 2000, found that

    “The School District does not know whether any of its teachers are trained in structured multi – sensorial, language based instruction. It does not effectively evaluate whether teachers actually use proven instructional techniques in the classrooms. It does not evaluate whether such Learning Strategies classes effectively teach students missing reading, writing, spelling, or math skills. The School District does not group students according to the kind of special instruction they need or even require training in accord with the teaching model the School District has adopted. DOAH Case No. 00-2088E ¶51

    Nineteen years later, it is still true.

    Science says (and so did Florida Statutes until a couple of years ago, though not all students received it in their school day) that a student who couldn’t read needs 90 uninterrupted daily minutes of reading instruction in a regular setting, another 30 minutes in a small group, and then 30 minutes using a specialized intervention K-5. (And yes I know that science doesn’t say everything about every individual kiddo.)

    For more than a year now, FL statute 1008.25(5)(a) has said that “Any student in kindergarten through grade 3 who exhibits a substantial deficiency in reading based upon screening, diagnostic, progress monitoring, or assessment data; statewide assessments; or teacher observations must be provided intensive, explicit, systematic, and multisensory reading interventions immediately following the identification of the reading deficiency.” But even principals can’t tell you precisely which of the interventions that meet that definition is used in their school’s classrooms. I have yet to see a teacher application that asks a candidate to disclose the research based interventions they have been trained to use. Wouldn’t you want to know if a teacher knew how to teach one or more of the highly effective SIM strategies, for instance?

    Further we have now known for some time that there is some learning disabilities are hereditary, which means that the parents might be low income because they were not appropriately taught by LCSD themselves, and they can’t get and keep jobs because of that.

    We know that many children are exposed to moving, loss of relationship with parents who aren’t present or available because their work is required for food and shelter, or substance abuse, or incarceration. Unfortunately I have seen cases in which teachers and support staff have interacted in ways that triggered further trauma, particularly in those schools that are trying get rid of specific students, instead of reducing and eliminating the concern. And LCSD has never required its principals be competent in trauma informed instruction, nor comprehensively trained school staff so that they know how to teach without triggering or creating trauma.

    Why is LCSB is about to lower its millage rates, when there is so much need for

    1 — extended school days and transportation
    2—- acquisition and training of the kinds of reading instruction now required by FL statute, delivered 90 minutes daily plus 30 minutes in small group, plus —if still needed —30 min 1:1
    3 — professional development in trauma informed instruction
    4 —- training and implementation of restorative justice
    5— much smaller class sizes for certain research proven interventions, classes and students
    6— support for parents who want to be able to learn what they never did themselves in school so they can help their students.
    7 — job training/shadowing/interning opportunities
    8 — sensory rooms that allow students to calm themselves
    9— effective and fully confidential counseling
    10 — music and exercise (both of which are research proven to help learning for at least some students) embedded in instruction
    11— Classroom based FM systems needed for students who have trouble concentrating, or hearing?

    is just beyond me.

    (Note: If LCSD adopted Language!Live (designed for 5th -12th grade, and computerized for phonemic awareness, phonics, roots and affixes) that would go a long way to addressing the problem in those grades).

    1. Well written! Joy Bowen, school board members, Rocky Hanna and his hand picked non interviewed political appointees aka Assistant Superintendents making over $100,000 each, please read a dose of reality. Blaming parents is a cop-out.

      Governor Desantis, please suspend school board members that academically endanger students.

    2. If you think LCS are so bad and incompetent, why do you continue to put your dozens of kids, grandkids, and adopted kids in the system? Just so you can keep suing them over every little thing?

      1. I want all children to be taught in public schools that work: I believe in the good that common experience creates for communities. (And parents I know say after a few years, that they are much happier in private schools, but (with the exception of parents who were in Woodland Hall Academy which has now closed and Rose Academy both of which did use research proven instruction), their kids weren’t learning any more than they did in public schools. When LCSD does it right from the start, it will make a huge difference for the entire community.

  8. The school board is now asking parents for help “so parents understand what responsibilities they have to have students ready to learn”. Ms. Bowen your words illustrate to our community that you will blame parents before you hold Rocky Hanna accountable for paying our teachers the 46th lowest salaries in the state. Maybe if you would recoup the $600,000 that Rocky cost the district by purposely misrepresenting facts to state and federal authorities we would be further ahead.

    The Governor should immediately suspend you for you blaming parents.

    You are being misinformed and mislead by Rocky Hanna and his curriculum team. The fact is we have an achievement gaps in Title I schools caused by the school system. You are suggesting that parents are the cause of such issues? I am sure your call for parental responsibility plays well with those who applaud you but, to those with a bit more knowledge we look at the low salaries, low teacher morale, over paid Assistant Superintendents. We see through your diversion. Your inability to hold Rocky Hanna accountable while scapegoating the issue to parents is inconsiderate and demeaning. Ms Bowen you do not need help to mobilize the community, the community needs to mobile against the school board that refuses to hold Rocky Hanna accountable for one of the largest achievement gaps in Florida. We need the community to mobilize to call to attention that Assistant Superintendents that were hand picked political payback by Rocky Hanna make $100,000 each while teachers are the 46th lowest paid in Florida. We have an achievement gap and a salary gap.

    1. No matter what the teachers are paid, they cannot teach kids who have never been taught basic manners including respect for themselves and others. Ms. Bowen is exactly right – it IS the responsibility of the parents to have their kids show up in school ready to learn – that means properly fed, rested and having a good attitude. These kids are NOT the responsibility of the teachers, or law enforcement when they are older – the responsibility of their children’s success in school, and life in general is on the parents. (Yes, that is a plural). After the “mass shootings” over the weekend, emphasis is now on “mental health”, along with the hackneyed “we must do something about gun violence” and “it’s Trump’s fault”. Again, we have to look at the parents – a child develops mental health along with his physical health, aided by loving parents who talk to him about what is happening, guiding him thru difficult things to have him learn how to deal with life, and all kinds of wonderful things that happen at the dinner table. In chaotic households (can’t call them families….), consisting of multiple children each with a different “father” and mom’s latest boyfriend, can you see anything like that happening?? Probably not. If we are afraid to even STATE what the problem is, we will never solve it. And no, Bill Proctor, more money will do NOTHING.

  9. The Parents don’t Care, as long as that Government Check keeps coming and the Kids Grandma’s is willing to raise them, they wont care.

  10. The Mayoral issue in Tallahassee, as with all the elected officials here is that the best and the brightest never run for office. We get one dufass after another. We never have a mayor that has actual, high level legit business skills. Instead we get salesman, lawyers that think legal degrees equate to business knowledge, and snow cone machine operators. We don’t need Joy Bowen for mayor, we need the problem solvers from the business community to address the Southside educational issues and let the chips fall where they may. We do have highly intelligent business people here. Look at the CPA firms we have, the engineering firms, the real investment gurus (not the JT Burnett etal types.) There are many, many, many people here that are better than anyone currently holding office in Tallahassee. Personally. I have been here for 45 years and I could name 15 people in 10 minutes that are better than the mayor. Also, we don’t need anymore frigging car dealerships or car washes. They are a blight on the landscape.

  11. Elected officials across the board would do well to jump on this bandwagon as if everyone would follow this advice and engage it would go a long way. Thank you Ms. Bowen for your wisdom and common sense.

    Perhaps Ms Bowen should run for mayor. As this is what this community needs, not making $30,000 car commercials which is unethical on so many levels.

    Mayor Dailey needs to be held accountable for participating and accepting a high monetary amount gift and using his position to promote himself. This is exactly why Tallahassee is in the position it is in because there are Shameless self-promoters using their time and energy in promoting themselveses and not more people like Ms. Bowen.

    As for Procter that is just a lost cause. If he would give instead of constantly whine and complain and live in his district for starters. Please for the sanctity of this community vote these people out who are not contributing and only leading us into further decline.

    Joy Bowen for mayor!

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