Intent to "Shape A New District" in Darien -- Without Alerting Community

DISTRICT PROFILE AND PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR SCHOOL YEAR 2019-2020

* see page 7



ISSUE #1

By his own definition, Dr. Addley, the new Superintendent of DPS, appointed by the BOE (led at that time by Tara Ochman) has planned to "RESHAPE a NEW District Mission, vision, and core values and goals."

  • Is this a decision that you, a Darien taxpayer with a vested interest in the outcome of such a large-scale initiative, would have liked to be involved with?

"In March of 2020, the Darien Public Schools assembled a coalition of stakeholders—students, parents, teachers, administrators, community leaders, and Board of Education members—with the purpose of defining a Vision of the Graduate, a statement of what it means to our community to prepare students from prekindergarten through high school graduation for a successful future." (from DPS Vision of the Graduate.pdf)

  • Did you hear anything about this initiative, or were you invited to be part of the "coalition of stakeholders" who helped drive this NEW VISION intended for our students?

  • It was on the website. It was discussed and voted on by the BOE, meeting available for review online. It was up to you to be paying attention. THERE WAS NO "PARENTAL OUTREACH" TO GARNER SUPPORT FOR OR BUILD AWARENESS OF THIS OVERHAUL TO OUR EDUCATIONAL PHILOSOPHY.

  • However, there was DAILY "Parental Outreach" when it came to communicating pressing community issues like COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, remote, hybrid and in-person learning, and WEEKLY communication by not only Dr. Addley, but also the principals of each of our schools to keep us up to speed with our childrens' progress throughout the school year.

  • There was a COMMUNITY Outreach LETTER, signed by not only the school administration but also the BOE, First Selectman, and Chief of Police, to inform us of the acts of hate speech perpetrated by Darien students.

  • So, when Dr. Addley reports in the Strategic Profile that "The District strives to continuously improve systems for communication with parents and the community so that everyone has a clear picture of the district philosophy and programs.", I think it's fair to say that the systems for communication with parents and the community work well when it comes to communicating issues that the District feels are a priority. The RESHAPING of our top-rated school system's educational philosophy, however, was not one of them.

  • To this day, I would say that only the BOE and the District administration have a "clear picture of the district philosophy and programs." I'm certain we all THOUGHT we did, and that if drastic changes were going to be made we would be sufficiently notified and involved in that process. However: drastic changes have been initiated, and there has been zero outreach to the broader community of "stakeholders" who are MOST VESTED IN THE OUTCOME.

ISSUE #2

As most of us were left out of the entire first part of this reshaping process, we were not involved with the selection of the "strategic partners" and "professional organizations" selected to provide the guidance and professional development to support the new plans. As referenced in an earlier post, the primary agency chosen to lead this initiative is extremely biased and makes no effort to hide their ultimate objective, which is to dismantle the education system in order to rid the country of racism.

  • How do we feel about that being the agency that is "RESHAPING our NEW District Mission, vision, and core values and goals?"