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Parents, What Are Your Suggestions To Help Make Your School Better???

Make suggestions, make comments. What do you want to see change in your childs school to make it a better place for all kids??

First I want to say Thank you to all of you that posted on .  I am glad so many of you posted your concerns and frustrations.  I hope, if even in a small way that you feel better for getting it out.

Now, let's figure out what we can do to make our schools better.  Any suggestion big or small is fine.

For example:  Communication between parents and schools needs to get better.  More parent involvement in the schools.  Maybe there should be a parent involved on the school board from each school level to voice concerns/problems. Asking the parents/students how we would feel before the board starts making changes.

What would you suggest?  How would you like to see things change?  We know what the problems are, now we need to get them fixed.  Give suggestions for all schools elementary, middle and high schools.

I also want to say thank you to Dr. Cressman for getting involved and for being available for parents to talk to.  Didn't see any other board members on the last post voicing their availability.

I just ask that we be civil to each other.  We are all in the same situation.  Let's work together!!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Working Mom May 10, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Dear Dr. Cressman, I know you're a very busy professional. Why would you waste you're precious time answering questions and blogging about these mundane school district issues? It's usually the same people on here complaining about the same things over and over again and no matter what you say, they will still find something to complain about. Please don't use your time or the time of your staff to search for old information such as the naming of the schools. Your time must be spent in more useful ways such as staffing, finding the solutions to help our special education students be more successful and simply running a successful school district, which appears to be falling behind in many ways. Also, I certainly hope that you aren't posting blogs while you're supposed to be working for the school district - in my humble opinion, this is not part of your job description. Personally, I would have more respect for you if you didn't blog about this nonsense. Thank you.
Liz Shockley May 10, 2012 at 01:24 AM
The lack of two-way communication is what caused such disdain for the school district and its staff. I find Dr. Cressman's interest in what the parents have to say quite a refreshing change from the past. People will always complain, yes, but if you address their complaints head on, you establish credibility and respect, something that seems to be lacking. If people keep complaining without having anything to back up their complaints, then they discredit themselves. It's a win-win for Dr. Cressman. Make a change, make a difference, establish communication. I think the school district image is definitely part of the job. The problem is that very few people actually acknowledge it.
Michelle Hazlett May 10, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Working, If you read Dr. Cressman's first post on this blog it says that she has permission from the board to post on here and establish an open communication with parents. I agree with Liz that she is taking her time to talk and is taking what parents have to say seriously. By doing what she is doing she is trying to make a difference and put the pride back in our schools. She realizes that to have a successful school you need happy students and happy parents. She can't fix anything if she is not aware of anything.
Worried Student May 10, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I understand that this is a blog for parents to express their concerns about Centennial schools, but the perspective of a student shouldn't hurt. I've attended schools in both Centennial Schood District, and in Central Bucks School District, where I am still. As you probably know CBSD is located only a few miles away from Centennial, yet its rankings are superbly higher. CB South was rated 20th school in the state last year, while Tennent was rated 241st. What is the difference between these schools? Answer: Staff. After coming to Central Bucks, I have experienced teachers who have concern for their students' welfare and day-to-day life. My teachers frequently stay after school until 6 o'clock, ordering pizza, to study with students for major tests. The same teachers come in 15 minutes early in the morning so students can get a good start on tests if they're slow test-takers. Another teacher accepts emails at any time with essays, projects, etc, and responds within the hour with an edited essay, answered questions, or any response suitable for the student's needs;all of this for any student - 3.0 or 4.3. When I speak to friends in Centennial and ask them why they're struggling, they tell me that not all of the teachers care about them.They ask for help, but teachers just will not give it. It is a caring staff that makes a school, and a caring staff that shapes a student. From my perspective, it is lack of teacher enthusiasm which is causing students in Centennial problems.
Liz Shockley May 10, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I think that's a good perspective to have. We can all discuss the issues until we're blue in the face, however, we're not walking those halls every day and most of us don't have that basis for comparison. I would definitely not say it's all of the staff. That may also be a symptom of the problem and not the root cause. Teachers can lack enthusiasm or concern because they feel undervalued. Why do they feel undervalued? Maybe it's money. Maybe it's the way the administration treats them. Maybe they feel a lack of power or authority over their jobs. More money = higher taxes = unhappy residents. Lack of power = less decision makers = more consistency. You get the idea. There's give and take that happens all of the time but I think it's a great idea to look at local school districts, especially more successful ones, and try to figure out what we're doing wrong that they're doing right.
southampton parent May 10, 2012 at 11:22 AM
Worried Student, I agree with what you say. My kids complain about the teachers all the time. And they run right out the door. I am so glad you were happy at CBS. Our Teachers need to start caring, work in class and help our students along the way. I also see that the Teachers do not get respect from above so it seems like it gets shuffled down to our kids. If teachers aren't happy they will lack in responsibilty so everyone from the top to the very bottom of this district needs to straighten their act and work for the future of our children. Thanks for responding
Sarah Ronzelli May 10, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Dr. Cressman, Kudos for gathering the information of the School Naming Committee. All the information pertaining to this subject is on the District's webpage. www.centennialsd.org. Once agin Thank you for your help on this matter.
Jennifer E. Cressman, Ph.D. May 10, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Dear Sarah, You are most welcome and very observant! You beat me to it in terms of notification. The request for the information came to me through other channels as well as the blog. I am hopeful it will be useful to folks in understanding the process that was undertaken to arrive at the names for the three schools. Jenny Cressman
Jennifer E. Cressman, Ph.D. May 10, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Dear Parent, I do appreciate your comments. I am certainly careful as to where I devote my time, and carefully weighed the pros and cons before chiming in on the blog. The truth is that once one becomes a Superintendent one is always on District time - the reality of the position is that it is 24/7/365. Please know that I'm not complaining - it is, quite truly, the best work in the world. One of my most important jobs is to communicate well with families. In this brave new electronic world of ours, if that means monitoring and sometimes responding to a blog, in addition to returning phone calls, replying to e-mails, and meeting face-to-face, then I welcome the opportunity for conversation. I would encourage folks that if there is a pressing or immediate concern to please contact me directly.
warmama May 10, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Worried Student, thank you for your perspective as a student who has been in Centennial and is now in CBSD. I have had children in Centennial for years and, the schools my kids have been in have had far too many teachers who are coasting through their days, doing the bare minimum to fill class time, showing no creativity, innovation, individualization or interest in getting to know the students. My youngest is currently at Tennent and we have developed a sense of humor about how bad it is there. But truly, it is not funny. It is tragic. We are counting the years until she is out and able to go to college. I don't pass the high school much, but I do pass a grade school and middle school frequently. It never ceases to amaze me how fast that parking lot empties after the buses pull away with the kids (first buses, NOT late buses).
tired_parent May 10, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Thankfully, the issue of the naming of Willowdale can be put to rest. While the name of the school is irrelevant to the success of our kids, the school naming fiasco was a point of distrust and contention. Dr. Cressmen is doing a great job of trying to resolve the distrust and contention. With two kids in Willowdale, I have noticed a decline in the school. My observations may be more skewed perception than reality but it seems there are more disciplinary issues now that the schools have merged. I’m not pointing any fingers but I wonder what the cause is. Do the teacher to child ratios need to be evaluated? Is the school now too crowded? Could it be the massive changes? Regardless of cause, I’m getting feedback from kids, aides, and even teachers that there are many more discipline issues since the merge. My kids tell me about out of control students, use of abusive and foul language, and class room interruptions on a regular basis. I point to the recent thievery from the cafeteria. continued
tired_parent May 10, 2012 at 07:23 PM
It seems there is inconsistent communication with families and at times a lack of information from the teachers, principle, and administrators. For example, my daughter will bring home an information letter days or weeks before my son brings the identical letter home. One child receives a letter to bring home and the other does not. There needs to be consistent communication. Part of consistent communication is using the tools available. Email is one of those tools. I’m sure all the paper correspondence is prepared electronically and should be emailed to parents who supply an email address. Teachers should be trained and required to monitor email. The district website is full of information but it could be leveraged to provide better communication, feedback, and forums for parents, teachers, and administrators. continued
tired_parent May 10, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Firing under performing staff is not a reality in today’s contracted environment but a good start to nudging performance in a positive way is transparency. For example, what is the average reading level for a 3rd grader or average grade on a math test? I don’t see why class room or grade level aggregate scores could be posted to a secure forum or in email. A monthly progress report. How often are classroom observations done? No reason parents should not know when the last observation was completed. Since teachers are contracted, administrators need to be creative in finding ways to encourage teachers to spend more time helping the students and discourage teachers from phoning it in. Willowdale needs to open activities to all grade levels. I see no reason to segregate the school. These activities help build a feeling of community with the students and their families. Incorporating the whole school in the various activities may boost morale. Surely, taking a measured re-evaluation of the bussing plan will go a long way toward the morale of the Willowdale families. Finally, I’d like to recognize Dr. Cressmen for her efforts to reach out and point out that Willowdale has some inspired educators who do a great job teaching our kids.
Michelle Hazlett May 10, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Thank you Dr. Cressman & Mrs. Lynch for your work on the school naming situation. With that being said I want all to know that I will drop the whole situation and let it be what it is. After a long time of thinking, I think I was making an issue about it for my own personal reasons rather than for my child. I would like to explain..You see I went through the Hatboro-Horsham school district and I went to a small school called Horsham Elementary. It was a school much like Leary, small and friendly. When I was going into 3rd grade the school was closed because the naval base said that it was in the planes flight path. Our parents and community fought to keep it open but it was closed. As students we were sent to another already established school and we were the "outsiders". It is 30+yrs later and I still remember Horsham Elementary. I remember the names of the great teachers I had. I remember the layout of the school, the plays we put on, field days and the sense of pride we had in our small community school. We never felt our place in this other school and to tell you the truth I don't remember 1 teacher I had in that other school. So I know what it was like to lose a school we loved. As a kid there was not much I could do back then but as an adult / parent I wanted to fight for my child but instead I was fighting for myself and for that little girl that lost my school so many years ago. So to all of you my sincere apologies.
Part of the Solution May 10, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Michelle, thank you for sharing this with us, I'm sure it was not easy. I look forward to your future blogging, as I can see you have a lot of heart in making the schools better for our children
Leann G. Russell May 10, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I hope the board addresses the problem of purchasing additional buses for the high school students. My son has sat on the floor of the bus several times this year because there was no seat for him. Stop procrastinating and purchase the buses you really need. I feel I pay my fair share of taxes to the Centennial School District each year and should be entitled to have a seat for my son on the bus. Please buy more buses so my son can have a seat.
John D May 11, 2012 at 12:45 AM
I am a Willow Dale parent and understand (but don’t agree) with the lack of enthusiasm by my child’s teacher. When I had concerns about the Everyday Math, the teacher basically agreed, literally threw their hands up in the air and said "This is the crap we are given and are hands are tied". Now being that said how do we expect a teacher to be enthusiastic about the product if they don’t believe in it!! There is literally no text book which correlates with the workbook. There is what they call a reference book which ahs no synchronization with the workbook. So if you are ChapterX in the workbook which touches five topics there you have to play where's Waldo with the reference book.
Lou May 11, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Michelle Hazlett--Having activities open only to older kids gives the younger kids something to look forward to and makes it special. Sure, you could have seperate talent shows, but really, how many hours do you want your child to be in an auditorium instead of in the classroom?
Kim May 11, 2012 at 02:22 AM
O.K. Normally I just write the blog and let everyone else say what they want but I would like to address and question what Tired Parent said in their first paragraph. I hope you are not trying to imply that Leary kids are the reason that Willow Dale is declining! If you are I take GREAT offense to that!! Before the merge I also spoke to Willow Dale parents and not 1 nice thing was said about that school. It was just a school where they had to send their children. Leary was #1 in the entire United States for it's Character Counts Program. The children no matter what grade or age treated each other with respect and compassion. My husband was at sports practice with my son tonight and he started speaking to another Willow Dale parent who told him that the school was even WORSE 2 years ago. Before the merge!! Instead saying "This is how we do things here and this is how they will stay" or being shut out, the staff could open their hearts and minds to ideas and suggestions from the old Leary staff, aides, teachers and parents. We came from a school that was not just 4 walls with students and books. We came from a school that was a FAMILY!!
Michelle Hazlett May 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Lou, There are 9 months of school. I am not saying that the talent shows all have to be done in 1 day. I know it gives the younger kids something to look forward to but don't you think it would also be special for them to be able to perform in front of their fellow classmates?
tired_parent May 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Kim, My comments are not about the kids who came over from Leary. As a matter of fact my kids have many friends from the Leary school who are great kids. I do not believe the kids who came from Leary are causing any problems at Willowdale. My intent was to point out that something else is going on here beyond the merger of the shcools.
Kim May 11, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Tired, O.K Thank you for clarifying that! I appreciate it!
warmama May 11, 2012 at 09:08 PM
It's been a number of years since I had kids in Willow Dale. And I will say that there were, at that time, a couple of wonderful teachers. Most were ok. Some were terrible. The principles (who set the tone for a school) were cold and unfriendly to parents during the time we were there. The school never felt like a family. So Kim, please don't think for a minute that any problems in Willow Dale are caused by the Leary children. If there are more behavior problems than before, it could be for a number of reasons. For example, with more kids in the school, there could be less time to devote to them and their needs. The teachers/staff could be suffering "growing pains" and their morale could be down as a result of this change. Kids feel this tension, even if it is not being directed at them. It could be a result of poor behavior management techniques with the kids. Positive behavior supports and actively listening go a long way in creating a safe, nurturing environment in which children can thrive and behavior issues can be quickly addressed in appropriate ways that benefit everyone. It's amazing how a child can be considered a behavior problem on year and be no problem the next, and then be a behavior problem again the next year. The teacher's approach to behavior management (and teaching proper behaviors), modeling respect, etc....goes a long way toward improving children's behavior.
Michele O May 19, 2012 at 10:49 AM
Kim, Thank you for starting this thread. I am very interested in the opinions of the parents of the Longstreth families and our impending merge with McDonald. My own primary concerns lie in two major categories: class size and ability to provide the tools needed for our children to learn. Both of these factors will need to be closely monitored during the impending merge. This will require input from a valuable sector: our teachers. I appreciate Dr. Cressman's presence hear and I sincerely hope she will be listening to the needs of our teachers as well. It is unfortunate that they do not yet where they will be in the fall. Wherever our Longstreth teachers end up, I sincerely hope they take with them the pride, respect and love from the Longstreth community. I, for one, am grateful for their efforts in the education of my children and hope that the same sense of community and bonding between parents and teachers will be sustained at McDonald. Thank you again, Kim, for initiating this forum. I would love to see it continue. Michele Orzehoski Secretary Longstreth Home and School
Skr May 19, 2012 at 04:03 PM
While understanding the teacher's union stance on seniority, there must be something that can be done with letting the newly hired teachers go first when trying to cut costs. Wm Tennent's over budget problems have caused future layoffs for some very good teachers. I certainly do not have the solutions but the problems that arise from overlooking new innovative teachers seems unacceptable.
southampton parent May 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM
What is going on with the new Davis playground. I don't know if anyone has noticed the giant hill in the back where they put 48 steps and a ramp on it without asking anyones opinion. Well they want to send our children up that hill for their playground. They have 30 minutes to come out of their rooms, walk the hallways, out of the building and up the hill. By the time that is done they will have to get ready to come back down the hill and if you know children they will run down the hill, roll down the hill and possibly FALL down the hill. I don't know whos crazy idea this was. The hill is not a good idea nor is it a safe place. What another waist of money putting steps and ramp on the hill. You couldn't of found an easier way or cheap way to get rid of the dirt. I didn't see any sign telling people Free Fill dirt. I know my husband would of gladly taken some and so would probably other households. Are we going to allow this? Are our children going to be safe at recess?? Remember possibly 100 students per grade will be RUNNING out to recess. Are you gone to stop them from running up and down the hill? Does anyone know what STackpole hill looks like? they run up and down there all the time even though they are told not to.
Pamela May 31, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I have two dogs that tore up my yard, so far I have put 1 ton of dirt back into the yard. I still need another 1/2 ton. I would GLADLY have taken some dirt!(even paid for it) This is just another example of ANOTHER CHANGE ORDER that the SB and Super will approve costing taxpers more $$$$ because of careless planning and an an inept project manager...
Pamela May 31, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Singapore Math and Everyday Math are two competing methodologies for teaching mathematics to schoolchildren. In 2003, The Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study reported that students in Singapore ranked first in the world in tested mathematics achievement, while American students lagged in sixteenth place (with some of the lowest scores in the first world).Everyday Mathematics was released in 1998. It became part of a nationwide controversy over reform mathematics. What Works Clearinghouse ( or WWC ) reviewed the evidence in support of the Everyday Mathematics program. Of the 61 pieces of evidence submitted by the publisher, 57 did not meet the WWC minimum standards for scientific evidence. Our school district goes with the program that many are turning away from..imagine that...
(Davis) Southampton Mom May 31, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Seriously, I don't know who's brilliant idea that was! I heard they are going to chop off the top of the hill. The staff was afraid of a mudslide coming down on the school. There is really no cause to have that stupid hill there. The new Davis takes up most of the land, that they now don't have much room to put a playground. We spent millions of dollars to build a brand new school & we have incompetent people running the planning. This is an accident just waiting to happen. I guess the school district can afford another lawsuit, but the taxpayers can't!!
southampton parent June 01, 2012 at 12:46 AM
They just built the building for education. They don't care about children and their recess. Exercise is not on their mind. Also, if it rains nowhere really to go if the playground is muddy not much room on black top neither. they have 30 minutes for recess it may take approx. 6 minutes to go out and up hill if they are quiet and walking alone. Group of kids will take longer to walk. and Another 6 or more minutes to line up and go back in for lunch. Not much time for recess. What a joke no one asked for opinions or ideas now everyone who cares is scrambling trying to figure things out. The higher ups don't give a crap and did everything on their own without everyones knowledge. TYPICAL

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