Minutes of the New Working Group meeting January 16, 2003.  Bessie Carmichael.

The meeting was called to order by Patrice Johnson at 5:30 PM and she thanked parents for coming and their input.  Introductions were done and some parents spoke in Spanish.  There were 10 parents, 2 staff members and two members representing the community.   A few of the introductions included testimony to personal feelings and some ideas.  Dr. Ignacio, and a few more parents and two graduate Bessie students joined the meeting.  
This meeting was conducted with excellent Spanish translation.


NBC Announcements: Last year NBC was awarded funding from SVP to hire parents to work on the new school project.  Rich White has been hired for the position of NBC Parent Assistant.  NBC is still accepting applications (cover letter, resume, and sample translation) for translators and interpreters for the following languages: Spanish, Tagalog, Russian, Gujrati, Chinese, Vietnamese.  Applicants can apply to interpret during meetings only, translate written material only, or both.  Applications will be accepted through January 31st, 2003.  Mail to: Patrice Johnson, NBC Coordinator, 790 Folsom Street, San Francisco CA, 94107.  Parents interested in the general Parent Assistant position are invited to submit applications (cover letter and resume) through January 31st.  There may be a possibility of hiring additional Parent Assistants.  Interested parents should continue to submit applications through January 31st.  Job descriptions and other NBC information can be found at www.buildbessie.org.

The Move: We were first informed about the move and some of its details at the December 2003 Annual Potluck Dinner.  Linda Luevano attended this PTA hosted event and spoke informing us of the move.  Several parents still feel it necessary to have something in writing like a letter explaining: That it is truly going to happen, some of the details about who and why it must happen, and any choices offered to us.  Dr. Ignacio spoke informing he did not think a letter from the school district was coming.  The Bessie News Letter brought home by each student Monday or Tuesday, included an announcement about the move and information.

Questions?  The NBC meeting was equipped with large papers to brainstorm ideas.  A lot of verbal questions were also asked:  What about the library, the librarian and what will happen to the YMCA and other after school programs?  The importance of separation between the middle school and Bessie and why are we being forced to move?  Several parents felt strongly about fighting the move. 


Excerpts from brainstorm session:

The move is: “Disruptive to children’s education.  Hard for families to transport.”

“The environment is not safe and it is so far we have to take the bus.  It’s mixed with middle school age children.”

“I question how safe it will be mixing very young children with teens in an environment where a system for this has not been established.  The move will also be very disruptive not only to the children who will go to 3 different schools before they graduate, but to the SOMA community as a whole.  So many programs and activities for children are centered here that may loose their funding from decreased enrollment”.

Questions: “Will it really just be a year?  What about all of the support services?  How can we make sure ALL parents know about the move?  What voice do the teachers/staff have in all of this?”  “Will children keep moving?”  “When will it be official?” “Should we write a letter to Park and Rec?”


Afterschool: Laura Grishaver shared that the YMCA afterschool program is looking into the possibility of providing a program at Enola Maxwell.  Ideally the YMCA would like to follow the children wherever they go.  At this point the YMCA is unsure whether a program at Enola Maxwell is feasible.  Several factors including possible declining enrollment, dispersal of students, higher costs (especially transportation) will be taken into account.

Opinions from middle schoolers: There were two Bessie alumni students who attended the meeting.  Both now or have been attending Enola Maxwell.  They stressed the importance of keeping the big kids away from the Bessie children because they will pick on them whenever possible.  The school now employs three school security guards. The alumni students fear it will be difficult to insure complete separation.

A tour of Enola Maxwell is planned for Friday January 24th.  We will view this school to learn and better understand what might be required to insure the separation if the move were to happen and give us a chance to formulate more questions to ask Linda Luevano or the Board.  14 parents signed up to visit and tour Enola Maxwell.  NBC will also be scheduling a meeting as soon as possible to talk with Elementary Superintendent, Linda Luevano because it is unclear why the district thinks moving children is the only option, and parents were unaware of reasons given for the decision.

Action: A show of hands was asked for from those firmly set in fighting the decision of the Board to move us out of Bessie.  Most parents were willing to fight.  Dr. Ignacio informed us that we would not just be fighting the Board but also the City of San Francisco.  He is working ahead as if the move will happen for there is a lot of planning to do.  He encouraged parents to be involved and share their concerns with the district about notification of the decision to move children.  He said that he would not support a decision to oppose the move.

The meeting concluded about 7 PM.

Respectfully submitted, Rich White.

Edited by Patrice Johnson.         

Back NBC home Archives NBC Minutes and Updates Photogallery