Momentum Building: Notes from our 3rd Conversation Club

Hi folks…
Thank you to everyone that joined the conversation today. This was the third meeting, we had eight at the table (with Taylor watching from the side), and the conversation was, in my estimation, very engaged, dialogue oriented, and people left with new information! 
As we have several new members and are still early into this, here is a recap of our first three sessions. We are just getting started and my role is more logistics than steering, so what we talk about each time depends on who is at the table.
All viewpoints are welcome, and, in fact, disagreeing with each other is kind of the point. Disagreeing is not arguing, and how we work through those differences is the substance of our conversation.
In our first session, we set goals and organized basic logistics.
  • We aim to take hot-button issues that are in the spotlight and talk through them face to face in order to better understand both the issues and each other.
  • We identified several polarizing phrases and tried to dig into each one to find common context, definition, and understanding.
  • We agreed to meet the Saturday morning following each SMCSD Board meeting.
  • As we each left the conversation, we carried new perspectives, context, and understanding with us to our respective social circles to, hopefully, better inform the broader conversation.
In the second session, two folks made it to the table as most seemed to have other plans.

  • Not much to report, but thank you for holding down the fort!
  • Counting on this dialogue, this format, is critically important and showing up when you are able is vital.
  • Life happens – as it should! – and all are welcome at the table when available.
Today we saw new faces and hope to see more next session, each bringing new points of view, new information, and new context to the conversation.

  • We started with the ongoing question of how many schools we have where both 1 and 2 are acceptable answers.
  • Lawsuits and the legal separations between WCA and the District came up, with special care to point out that WCA does not have a seat at the budgeting table due to the AG rules, not at SMCSD Board’s request. That disconnect is an unavoidable, painful part of this process.
  • Finances came up and Special Education was of particular interest when it came to how both schools share those costs. (I am working with Terena Mares and Debra Turner on an FAQ that will include details related to finances in general and will ensure Special Ed is highlighted.)
  • We talked about how and when consolidation may happen rather than if, which opened up a variety of structural possibilities each with their own foundational requirements, costs, and advantages. (Which will be continued next time as we think through and discuss this topic.)
  • All agreed that the closer you get to the kids, the more aligned and agreeable things become. Separate governing bodies – the WCA Board and SMCSD Board – at the top seem the most disconnected. Consolidation efforts seem much more plausible under a single governing body, which in itself is a challenging conversation.
  • Agreement all around that open dialogue, seats at the same table, and raising hard questions is an important and foundational step toward addressing many of the larger issues we face as a community.

For those that were there, please reply all and edit what I may have missed or add color commentary as you see fit!

Our next meeting is on April 6th, the Saturday following the board meeting on April 4th.
INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN! Send them THIS LINK or, if you’d rather, send me their information and I’ll invite them as the host. The club both includes people and views from all sides, and, in fact, needs those to thrive.
Thank you all for keeping this important and challenging conversation going. Great solutions are out there ahead of us, and talks like these are how we get there together.
Talk to you soon,
PS: If you want to chat via voice or video, I’d be happy to slot it into any weekday here:
PPS: I tapped this out while Taylor was napping, but, editing was cut short and I’d rather send it now than count on finishing it later!