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Dispelling rumors: free A+ grades?

Student artwork Picture by Lake Havasu High School student Hannah. See more Lake Havasu High art at www.artsonia.com.

To Concerned Citizens of Lake Havasu City:

On Thursday, February 25, a "State of the Schools" meeting was held at Jamaica Elementary to inform parents of the dire budget situation in the State of Arizona and how it affects Lake Havasu Unified School District.

A school is being closed, programs are at risk of being cut, there is a reduction in force, enrollment is down, and our current budget override is being phased out over three years. We felt it was imperative that parents hear the facts.

In order to get parents to hear the facts about the current reality we decided to hold a meeting at each school site. (The next meeting will be at Nautilus Elementary at 6:30 p.m. on March 25th.) Normally when we have a parent meeting about 20 people, at the most, attend. So to be sure to get the maximum number of parents to attend each meeting, the schools all agreed that we would use a one time incentive.

At Jamaica we decided to give no homework on the night of the meeting but instead, a student's "homework" was to bring their parents to the meeting. Teachers were in the classrooms to babysit children and show a video with popcorn while the parents were in the gym attending the meeting. The teachers told the students that, if their parents came to the meeting, they would be able to earn ONE 100%. This could replace one regular grade on one assignment during this quarter. In essence it was simply giving points for accomplishing something important. In Kindergarten the students got to choose a prize from their treasure box instead.

Because we knew this would be the one and only time we would ever try to get every parent to attend, we used this incentive. We do not normally do this because expectations are extremely high at Jamaica. We felt it was an appropriate incentive for students at the elementary level.

We continue to hold parent forums to update parents on The State of the School District. We have a responsibility to keep our parents informed. We begin by talking about 21st Century skills and then get into finances. As our resources are reduced, tough decisions will need to be made. We would like to make sure our parents are part of the decision making process. People need to be informed to make good decisions.

Thank you.

Gail Malay
Superintendent of Schools