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  • Writer's pictureAllison Harvey

An Open Letter to our School Board

I believe in being open and honest. That is why I am honest about what I say to our board and if I am elected to the board I will be open and honest about how I vote on the board. Here is a copy of the letter I sent to our school board with relation to Ms. Kehoe's performance review which appears to be on the agenda for the Special Board Meeting called on September 2, 2020:


September 1, 2020

Placer Hills Union School District Board Glenn Pierce: gpierce@phusd.org Katie Schiavone: kschiavone@phusd.org Shannon Wines: swines@phusd.org Dr. Joyce Bradshaw: jbradshaw@phusd.org Sarah Schopfer: sschopfer@phusd.org


SENT VIA EMAIL ONLY


RE: Special Board Meeting – September 2, 2020


To Placer Hills Union School District Board:

I am transparent, accountable and honest. I expect the same from my school’s administration. I don’t feel confident in the leadership Julie Kehoe has exhibited. I am bringing this to the board’s attention because it appears that Ms. Kehoe’s performance evaluation is on the agenda for this Special Board meeting. This is not a distance learning/COVID issue. This is a recurring issue that has been emerging throughout the past two years as I have started paying more attention to the board meetings and follow through after the meetings. First, I will start by saying I do see some positive in her actions such as making a decision to not yoyo the kids between going back to school and going back to distance learning throughout the initial return to school period. I appreciated her leadership there. Unfortunately, I have found that there just have been too many inconsistencies in her message, a lack of communication, transparency and accountability to not say something come review time.


Transparency seems to be a large issue. A specific example includes the IB program implementation. That program was put on hold by the board’s request, however, in approximately March of this year Ms. Kehoe paid approximately $10,000 to the program without any approval from the board. How does an expenditure of that amount get paid when the board asked for the program to be put on hold? Another example of a lack of transparency surrounds the training the teachers received prior to going back to full distance learning. I was told from Ms. Kehoe directly that the teachers would receive training on Google Meet and the other Google platforms they would have to teach on. I was told that training would occur in the three days prior to school start. I followed up with teachers to ensure it happened. I was told it did not. Teachers are now struggling with the platforms and our children are suffering because of it.


Another extreme concern is the poor communication and lack of accountability. Ms. Kehoe refuses to respond to emails (not only sent by me but other parents too) and in many cases does not follow through with what she says she will do. In the last board meeting Ms. Kehoe stated she would answer all questions brought up under item 15.2 in the board meeting through a video FAQ after the board meeting. She hasn't done it. Why is this allowed? Why shouldn't parents get answers about questions related to their children's education? Were our questions deemed not important enough? I certainly hope not. Questions such as, how many hot spots were ordered are extremely relevant. If a small number of hot spots were ordered and we are all waiting in them that will dramatically change our plans for our children's education. On Monday August 24, 2020 our internet lost connection a total of 5 times. My 6th grader missed instruction in 5 of his 6 classes. We still have no hot spot to assist with these issues.


Another example of poor communication and/or lack of accountability surrounds the call I had with Ms. Kehoe on July 29, 2020. With regard to accountability Ms. Kehoe did not attend the call that she schedule with me on time. Instead of calling at the time she had scheduled to call me she called 30 minutes early. She acknowledged that she was calling early, that she knew her schedule wouldn’t accommodate her calling me at the time her office originally had scheduled and that she didn’t inform me prior to the call. She also indicated during the call that she couldn’t figure out why her assistant would have made the call at the original time and she never once apologized that she failed to inform me that she would have to reschedule.


The July 29, 2020 call ended with frustration as well. Despite the fact that Ms. Kehoe started the appointment 30 minutes early we continued on (after I cancelled my appointment in that time slot). We recognized that we probably would not get through all of the subject matter and agreed that if there were remaining questions I would email her for those to be answered. I also proposed I would email a summary of the call so she could confirm the information was correct and she agreed. I did in fact email her after our call on July 29th and spent a lot of time doing so. I had additional questions which I posed in the email and summarized our conversation. Ms. Kehoe never responded to my email. After I requested a response at least 3 times I finally heard from Mr. Brown on Ms. Kehoe’s behalf on August 7th but we weren’t able to fully connect. To date the following questions have never been answered: How has the curriculum changed so it better suits a distance learning program? What have we done to ensure that the material and methods used suit learning over a computer and individual work as opposed to being hands on with the teachers and peers? Have you implemented any known homeschool methods or curriculum so we can be sure that our kids will have a better chance at success? (See Attachment A for a copy of the email I sent). Ms. Kehoe’s lack of follow through isn’t a new issue. Ms. Kehoe’s approach to the new homeschool program she was bringing to the district approximately a year ago lacked any follow through and preparation. The planning meeting wasn’t organized, failed to have a home school plan and the program never happened. Every family I spoke to regarding the homeschool program that was originally interested said they had no interest in the program after meeting with Ms. Kehoe because it was clear that the program had not been thought through and they felt it wouldn’t be a success.


My last example of lack of communication or poor communication comes out of the video FAQ presented to the district on August 18, 2020 where Ms. Kehoe stated there was a PSPS plan in place but there was no plan outlined in her communication. I asked when the PSPS plan that was already in place would be communicated and the answer from the district was that there was no plan yet but that the teachers were creating it in the coming weeks. A complete contradiction to the previous statement. (See Attachment B for a copy of the Facebook communication).


An employees performance review should review all aspects of their job. I have no insight as to her everyday tasks but I feel it is important that the Board receive feedback on how interactions with a parent have been conducted.

Sincerely,

Allison L. Harvey


Enclosures


Attachment A
.pdf
Download PDF • 191KB

Attachment B
.pdf
Download PDF • 2.36MB

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