Rosanne Wood

Perspectives on Education

This is about children’s safety

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Rosanne’s remarks about why we are passing a resolution to only allow law enforcement officers to be armed in Leon County Schools.
“Creating a safe school climate is also a big part of the solution for preventing problems.”

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Leon County School Board signs resolution against arming teachers

Published 8:58 p.m. ET March 27, 2018, Tallahassee Democrat

I was proud to introduce a resolution to make sure only certified law enforcement officers are armed on our school campuses. This is all about keeping our students safe and our school employees focused on their mission- to educate kids!

The School Board voted  unanimously to adopt this resolution, one of the first in the state.  To ensure safe campuses, there will be a certified law enforcement agent on each campus as well as increased monitoring and safe school practices.

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Opinion: It’s time for legislators to be the heroes

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Rosanne Wood, Your Turn
Published Feb. 19, 2018, Tallahassee Democrat

Teachers are heroes every day. Now, It’s our elected officials’ turn.

Countless teachers put themselves on the line every day for our children. Some days it’s a small act, like a hug, a phone call to a parent, breaking up a fight, teaching empathy, resiliency; you name it.

And then there are the big acts — like throwing yourself in the trajectory of bullets from a military assault rifle to save your students’ lives. Whatever it takes; that’s what teachers do.

As a mom, a grandma, a former principal and now an elected School Board member, I call upon our governor and Legislators to take their turn to be heroes. Thoughts and prayers are not enough.

It is ludicrous that our state laws allow 18-year-olds (or anyone else) to buy military-style assault rifles. They serve only one purpose — to kill people, lots of them. It is a sorry state of affairs to inject fear into children by teaching them how to hide or run in the case of an active shooter on campus. Yet at this point, we must.

I don’t think living in the land of the free and home of the brave means our school children should have to hide in closets or our teachers should be expected to take bullets to protect them. 

I want our elected officials to be brave and stand up to the pressure causing them to be afraid to protect our children with sensible gun safety reform.

No doubt about it, more safe school money and mental health counselors are needed. But that’s not enough. We cannot arm our way out of this danger.

The young people from Parkland and around the country are leading the way. They say enough is enough.

On Wednesday many of us will gather with them at the Historic Capitol at noon to demand action at the “Rally to Support Gun Safety Reform.” We will rally to ban assault rifles as they were from 1994 to 2004. We will rally for common sense.

The best antidote to feelings of helplessness is action. Bring your children for a live civics lesson on Wednesday. Show them what democracy looks like.

Rosanne Wood is a mom, grandma and Leon County School Board member.

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Opinion: HB1 not the cure for school bullies or bullied

Rosanne Wood, My View,  Published Nov. 16, 2017, Tallahassee Democrat

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As a public-school principal for 32 years, and now as an elected school board member, I consider protecting our students from violence and bullying our sacred duty. No child should ever feel afraid to attend our schools.

I’m sad to say we live in a culture where many children are exposed to violence or can be harassed any time of day on social media. Without adequate supports in place, the resulting trauma can spill over into our classrooms. Our kids and public schools need the Legislature’s help more than ever.

We desperately need early intervention programs, more mental health counselors, and proven safe school programs to protect all children. These measures would help us prevent bullying in the first place.

We are told over and over there is no money for such things.

Meanwhile, House Bill 1 aims to divert up to $40 million for private school vouchers (“Hope Scholarships”) to parents seeking a way out of a public school because their child has been bullied or has been in fights. However, in this bill, parents can use this reason even if their child started the fight or the problem has been completely resolved at the school.

I support zero tolerance for student bullying. Florida Statute 1006.147 requires every public school to investigate, report and protect any student who is victimized by bullying. Parents and superintendents already have many options to transfer students to another classroom or public school as needed.

HB1 is not the answer; it opens Pandora’s Box for those who want a voucher to attend a private school yet does nothing to prevent the remaining students at the public school from being bullied. Neither does it provide any resources to help us address the problems of the troubled child who is doing the bullying or starting fights.

Let’s be honest. This bill seeks to establish a new public avenue to fund private and religious schools at taxpayer expense.

Furthermore, calling this a “Hope Scholarship Program” so folks can donate $20 instead of paying that tax when registering a car, seems like a ploy to disguise what this really is. Unknowingly, people will be diverting tax dollars to a private school voucher program instead of paying taxes that could otherwise support needy children in public schools.

During the 2016-17 school year, Florida corporations were allowed to divert $539 million to the Florida Tax Scholarship program to 1,733 participating Florida private and religious schools. No standards or accountability required.

I can’t understand why the Legislature keeps channeling our tax dollars away from our public schools when our need is so great and their duty is so paramount.

In a time when public schools are in such need, diverting more tax dollars to private schools that are not accountable to them makes no sense to me. Aren’t public schools their primary responsibility?

If the House passes this bill, the message to public schools will be loud and clear: “You don’t respect us to look out for the very students we are pledged to protect and educate.”

Our public schools need financial support and real solutions, not a new $40 million car registration gimmick disguised as hope.

Rosanne Wood is a member of the Leon County School Board and was the principal of SAIL High School for 32 years.

 


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Great School Choices in Every Neighborhood

 

Here I am proposing a Magnet School/Choice Task Force to the Superintendent and School Board.

Americans love choice; walk through the cereal or toothpaste aisle at any store if you’re not convinced. All parents want the very best for their children. Many are willing to make sacrifices of money and convenience to enroll their child in what they perceive as the best available school. The fact that this year Leon County Schools had nearly 3,700 new choice requests for a school outside of their home-zoned school proves this point. Another 1,000 parents are homeschooling their children and 5,000 are choosing our 41 private schools, not including FAMU or FSU Developmental Research Schools.

There are many good reasons people choose a school other than their zoned school, such as work proximity, special programs, religion and tradition. There are also very ill informed reasons caused by misleading school grades, rumor mill, prejudice and misconceptions.

Often schools are too busy dealing with what they are doing to effectively market themselves and create new programs. It’s up to us in the Leon County School District to help them.  To do this right, we’ll need help from the business community, developers, realtors and the City and County governments to help us make every school a good choice and an informed choice.

My Proposal–Include a wide-range of stakeholders to:

  • Map out a long-range vision/plan to make all schools attractive to a broad socio-economic mix of students.
  • Provide district support to existing magnet schools and programs and create new attractive, dynamic K-12 magnet programs in targeted schools.
  • Design a marketing campaign to better inform parents of new and existing Leon County School options to those who are choosing to attend private, home, charter and public schools outside their school zone.


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Thank You Scientists!

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March for Science Rally in Tallahassee, Florida

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Rosanne speaking at the Tallahassee March for Science Rally April 22, 2017. Thank you scientists!

Next month I’m getting cataract surgery- I’ve worn glasses since the 6th grade. With new multi-focal lenses, I likely won’t ever have to wear glasses again. In places like Burma, doctors are curing the blind with 20-minute cataract surgeries. -Thank you scientists.

Today I was directed here by GPS with this very small device that fits in my pocket-which is also my camera, audio book, personal stereo, international news source, instant argument solver (thank you google), my dictionary, calendar, mini-movie theater, address book and control over my hearing aids when I get them (per my daughter- it won’t be long)—Thank you scientists.

We are surrounded by the tangible and intangible outcomes produced by the meticulous work of scientists around the world. So, a big thank you from all of us!

We all have a role to play to save the planet. What should we do? For me, education is the obvious answer.  Here’s what I want:

Parents-The first time your toddler discovers that mixing water and dirt together can create a cool mud pie, I want you to celebrate your miniature scientist and nurture that sense of wonder and discovery from then on.

Teachers and Administrators-I want you to realize, that despite all the pressures for good test scores and school grades, that there IS time for developmental play/recess, field trips, science labs, thematic learning and hands-on problem solving.

Everyone-I want you to know that school and fun do not have to be antonyms; they can be synonyms. There is nothing more fun than learning how to read a book or play an instrument or do a science experiment in a lab.

I want you all to remember–Children are naturally curious and love to learn. They will persevere IF we can just refrain from draining all the joy and adventure from learning. No adult nor child likes constant grading, testing and tedious homework. School should not be about stress; it should be about challenge—and that’s what science is.

Science makes sense of the world and teaches us to question things don’t make sense. Science teaches students how to make and defend an argument based on real facts supported by evidence.

Our education system needs a make-over. Students literally have all the facts and figures that they need at their fingertips. Science education needs to start on day one of pre-kindergarten with that first mud pie or bumble bee that lands on the flower. The Scientific method which values trial and error and learning from mistakes should be at the core of our instructional methods.

Legislators and policy makers: I want you to listen to educators.  We need to have a serious talk about what does and does not work when it comes to nurturing our future scientists and mathematicians, as well as our artists and poets. We need you to use the scientific method and research how to save our public schools-It’s not rocket Science! Start by asking a teacher.

Next attract young people and working scientists to become teachers by providing a good salary. Teaching is the most noble profession; we need to treat it as such.  And if any of you out there want to become a teacher-we need you, now more than ever.

I can tell you with certainty that the path we are on now, which rewards correct answers on tests over in-depth learning is not the way forward. If we are counting on the next generation to save our planet- we need to make sure they can solve complex problems, not just answer multiple choice questions. Science is the opposite of being rewarded for the right answers; science is about asking the right questions.

My earth day t-shirt didn’t arrive on time, but here’s what it said and what I believe– NO SCIENCE, NO LIFE— KNOW SCIENCE, KNOW LIFE.

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