Letters to the Editor

March 28, 2008

Letter to the Editor: Give real notice of planning board brainstorming sessions
by Adam Gilbert

Letter to the Editor: Schedule Change at Greeley—Follow Up
by Nancy King

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Letter to the Editor: Give real notice of planning board brainstorming sessions

To the Editor:

      I was surprised to learn, by a small legal notice published in The Journal News, that the New Castle Planning Board has been holding public meetings regarding alternative uses of the Reader’s Digest site.  While I applaud new thinking regarding that site, I firmly believe that the brainstorming sessions should be open to the public for purposes of listening to the discussions.  Obviously the Planning Board agrees and has provided notice to the public.  Yet the method chosen—a legal notice in a publication of limited circulation—is not likely to have the desired effect. 

It would be my fervent hope that the Planning Board does more on a going forward basis. If they mailed just to those on the mailing list attached to the Board’s SEQR resolution, they would be providing a materially improved form of notice. While newspaper publishing may be okay under some circumstances, it plainly does not provide meaningful notice to a population that is deeply interested in the issues that the Planning Board is now considering.   

Adam B. Gilbert, Esq.

Adam Gilbert, a resident of Chappaqua since 1991, is a strong believer in preserving the character of communities. He lives in Lawrence Farms East and keeps a well-worn copy of Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities at his bedside.

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Letter to the Editor: Schedule Change at Greeley—Follow Up

Editor’s note: In our Feb. 1, 2008 edition, NewCastleNOW.org published in the “Letters to the Editor” section a letter from Nancy King to Horace Greeley principal Andrew Selesnick listing her concerns and asking several questions about the proposed change from “mod” to “block” scheduling in September 2008 and recommending that it be delayed so that parents, teachers and students could have more input.  http://www.newcastlenow.org/index.php/article/index/letters_to_the_editor12/

At his invitation, she met with Mr. Selesnick to discuss her concerns on February 25, 2008.  She has supplied NewCastleNOW.org with her follow-up letter to him.

All research emphasizes the need for support from teachers, parents and students

Dear Mr. Selesnick,

Thank you for meeting with me last month about the proposed block scheduling change. 

You were very generous with your time to answer questions and explain why you believe the curriculum/schedule change will prove to be an overall benefit to Greeley. I remain unconvinced. 

As I told you, my research indicated that the districts that have gone to block scheduling have done so to create more of a “connected” sense of belonging to decrease their dropout rates – not an issue at Greeley. 

You stated that there are schools with profiles similar to Greeley but, to my knowledge, these studies are not available for parents to review. 

It is my feeling that by losing the continuity that comes with meeting every day, music, math, special education and foreign language classes will suffer. However, my greatest concern is the lack of support for this change from the school community of teachers, students and parents. In all of the articles I read while researching this issue, it was emphasized, for this type of curriculum to work, the faculty must be supportive and enthusiastic. 

While the L.I.F.E. school teachers have successfully used the block schedule since its inception, the size and the self-selecting population of the students and the block schedule they use is completely different from the one proposed and thus prevents this model from being a predictor of success for school-wide implementation.

Please reconsider the 2008-2009 implementation date; allow more time for study and preparation. Compromise where necessary. We have a great school and we want to keep what is great about it.

Sincerely yours,

Nancy King

cc:  Chappaqua Board of Education

    New CastleNOW.org