• slefko

On Rumors and Friends

Updated: Mar 1, 2019

I’m hoping it’s the last, but just in case I’m dedicating this post to address this and any future rumors. 'Friend' is indeed the right word for someone who shares what people are saying behind your back. Thanks friends for sharing rumors with me so that I might represent myself.

On books and inclusivity. Friends the rumor is false. I'm a love everybody kinda guy. Here are the deets without all the heat I was told about from the rumor mill.

Fountas and Pinnell (FP) has a popular and effective literacy assessment that uses an A to Z+ scale to match grade level readers with grade level books. District 90 uses the assessment. Books in the Q-S range are considered appropriate for 4th grade and a book rated Z came home early this school year.

A Z rating is leveled in literacy and content for 7th to 12th graders – that’s up to a high school senior. The book is George (by Alex Gino) and the story follows the ups and downs of a transgender child navigating friendships and developing a greater sense of self. Scholastic rates it for 6th to 8th grades.

I’ve read the book. A sense of belonging for a transgender child reading this is clear and wonderful. The messages on high character and the importance of friendship across differences are outstanding. The concern I raised was the Z rating which I believe was due to words like ‘porn’ and ‘dirty magazines’ in the text and conversation on gender reassignment surgery. A 9 or 10 year old initially chooses books based on cover art in an open classroom library. The topic and these adult words create important questions that beget critical conversations if we’re committed to social and emotional learning. The teacher had not read the book before putting it in the classroom library. I think we can do much better than just putting the book George on the shelf.

So the rumor is false. My opinion is there is a place for books like George in Elementary school with the intent to create belonging, understanding and ultimately higher character among us. I would rather find an alternative to George however, one without the adult words and with an appropriate rating for the classroom library where it's found.

On Donations. Someone is spreading a rumor I’m in real tight with Republican big wigs and received funding from a super pac. Friends I pack lunches for my daughters and sew wigs for Halloween. Kim and I are the largest donors.

On sex equity. A malicious attempt to discredit my love everyone always approach to life. I fully support section 7:10 of our D90 Equal Education Opportunities policy.

On the districts position on immigration status. Let’s stick to the business of education. I fully support the Board of Education Resolution Declaring District 90 an Inclusive School District.

On essential oil in classrooms. ‘Chatter’ is all a friend shared, and I’d love to address my position. I’m aware there may be benefits of both smell and mood-calming from diffusing certain essential oils, and this might enhance teacher/student engagement. I have full faith in the staff to procure safe materials, observe for positive or negative effects or communicate this strategy to parents. I talk about essential oils in the classroom as symbolic of the heightened need for work on social and emotional development for children in our community. Being kindergarten ready and the benefits of universal screening for strong starts and bright futures is a topic I’m passionate about. I will encourage the next board to join the Collaboration for Early Childhood IGA with D97 and D200.

On leveraging a school official. Someone started a rumor that alleged a school official was asking parents not to vote for me. That someone would involve a school official in a deceitful attempt to interfere with an election is disgraceful. I appreciate the call and I’m grateful to have strong relationships in our schools.


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