Barb van Kerkhove 
Member since Sep 25, 2014

Recent Comments

Re: “Feedback 4/13

Thanks, Kathleen Castania, for sharing why the #RCSD needs to say NO to a military academy. I agree. Let's have a dialog with our youth about the schools they want to learn in.

0 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Barb van Kerkhove on 04/18/2016 at 9:10 AM

Re: “RTA prez: 'Where is the outrage?'

I was deeply disheartened when I read this article. I am the parent representative to the School Board’s Policy Committee, a member of the Community Task Force on School Climate (CTF) since its inception, and a member of the CTF committee that put together the new draft Code of Conduct. I agree with Mr. Urbanski that we need to stop the blame game. In fact, the CTF, with leadership and support from the youth at Teen Empowerment, has been moving past blame towards collaboration and the modeling of the care and respect we want to see in our school communities. Of course, it’s very hard to change the ways in which many of us were raised. We sometimes fall back into our old “ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,” of judgment and blame. The language and tone of this article suggest that’s what happened here.

Rather than responding directly to Mr. Urbanski’s comments about the draft Code of Conduct, I would like to bypass the blame and “meet” Mr. Urbanski and others in the mystic Rumi’s “field.” In this field, I would like us to speak with honesty and care, listen without judgment, build trust and work collaboratively to improve school climate.

Specifically, I ask that Mr. Urbanski and teachers listen to the CTF about the reasoning behind the recommendations and new draft Code of Conduct and about the participation of teachers, administrators and RTA representatives in the development of these documents. I also ask the CTF to listen to the concerns of Mr. Urbanski and teachers around safety and supports. Then, I invite all of us to work together to ensure that this new direction for the district will: create a climate where all members of the school community are treated with dignity, respect and care; improve school safety; keep more students in the classroom engaged in learning; and provide the supports necessary for teachers to teach and engage their students. These are not mutually exclusive goals; restorative justice practices can help ensure that we have all of these.

Rather than taking sides and creating divisions, let’s work together to improve the climate in the RCSD before another generation is lost.

10 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Barb van Kerkhove on 09/21/2015 at 12:57 PM

Re: “Genesee in unchartered territory

If anything, this article and GCCS demonstrate that we need a regional school system so that all students can be part of school communities that are not more than 40% free/reduced lunch, and are thus more likely to do well in school.

12 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Barb van Kerkhove on 05/14/2015 at 9:06 AM

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