QualitySchoolsNow.org
Lake Fenton School Retiree Speaks Out,
And Riley Answers Him
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Retired Lake Fenton Person Coded in RED

Riley Responses In BLACK

To: <PS-ErrorOfFact@QualitySchoolsNow.org>
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 8:04 PM
Subject: Sports

<<I don't know where you get this sports thing, but we can't even get the
kids now to come out for sports, much less finish a season. Look and see
how many kids are on each team, and tell me Lake Fenton promotes
sports. Besides that the players pay for the sport they are in, so please
get your facts straight.>>


They do not pay for the infrastructure, fields, staff, etc.

<< And if some of these TV, game playing kids would
get involved in any school activities the school would greatly appreciate
it, they can't even have very many dances at the High School level, no
one comes there are too many parties to go to. And the same for the
Torrey Hill students, maybe parents do have complaints about teaching,
but we do have a new Superintendant, I say give him a chance, he did get
rid of that A B C I, and I give him credit for that. And I will vote yes,
this time for a new building, just because I believe, he will do alot for
Lake Fenton.
Thanks>>


I met with Ralph Coaster late 2000, and raised the issues.  After two months went by with no follow-up on his part, I sent him an email.  He responded that we had agreed to wait until April, something which was not the case.

But he did have Mr. Garner call me shortly after that email.  Mr. Garner told me he would get back to me within a few weeks.  Well he never did.  I waited for the IEP and did not play advocate for my daughter this time, allowing them free reign as a test to decide rather to move her.  Well they flunked the test.

She loses skills if they are not reinforced during the summer, yet they decided she needed a break, no speech or summer school.  So I enrolled her at Grand Blanc Academy the first week of July, and she has been getting half a day summer school five days a week since then.  She loves it.

I am not interested in what he can do for the district, but rather what he does to see that the kids get the education they deserve.  Yes, much of what I am disgusted about does predate Ralph Coaster.  But long experience with bureaucracies  has taught me not to trust any bureaucrat further than I can see them.

The bottom line is that in dealing with a succession of Lake Fenton bureaucrats, who usually make reassuring noises, and yet in the end someone or something does the opposite of what I was promised.

And even if Ralph Coaster is ok, and simply a victim of circumstance, there is the fact that in spite of two letters to the school board and numerous calls to various board members, that they NEVER followed up.

After waiting three weeks for a response to the last letter to the board I called John Sharpe.  We had a lengthy conversation after I asked him about the letter.  His initial response, "was that the really long letter" and it was clear that he did not get past the first page.

The bottom line is that for a variety of reasons, bureaucratic BS, lazy or uppity staff, etc, that Lake Fenton has performed far below an acceptable level.

I do feel sorry for the good teachers.  But I am unwilling to accept a 20% dud rate, and that is the rate I saw at Torrey Hill.  If you had to deal with a similar rate at a business you would likely go to a competitor, and that is what I have done.  Once you go to the competitor you generally expect to not pay the non-performing business anymore.  Hence my opposition to any bond requests.

Ronald J. Riley  www.InventorEd.org/


To: <PS-ErrorOfFact@QualitySchoolsNow.org>
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 8:24 PM
Subject: Torrey Hill


<<More Facts: Torrey Hill has only 3 principals in the last 10 yrs. Mr. Koster, Mrs. Woodard, and Miss. Shaefer (Worthless), and now our new one, everytime we get a good one, parents threaten law suits, and everything else if the staff doesn't believe, that their little angel is innocent and wouldn't do anything wrong, anytime or anyplace. So come on, get off your high horse, and go into the buildings at any time and see what is going on, you really want to see great behavior, go in for lunch and see if you can carry on a conversation!!!>>

I spent a great deal of time at Torrey Hill.  My older daughter was bullied
constantly by her peers, the goat of the class.  I let it go on for some time,
telling staff, and thinking that all of us have to learn how to deal with people
we may not like.

Well it started affecting her view of self worth, and most certainly impacted
academic performance.  Like most gifted children she was scatter brained.  But then the same is true of most middle school children.

I always asked to be informed if she received any grade less than a "B" and to be informed if she failed to hand in assignments.  Some teachers were cooperative, while others were not.  Some outright refused, like Gillespie. Others simply ignored my requests.  I can not effectively enforce rules about doing homework if I do not hear about an infraction until a month later.

In the end I removed her from the district.  She is now thriving at Mott Middle College (Goggle search for MCC), dual enrolled in college classes, and getting good grades.  Why wasn't this possible at Torrey Hill?

Ronald J. Riley  www.InventorEd.org/


To: <PS-ErrorOfFact@QualitySchoolsNow.org>
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 8:36 PM
Subject: High School


<<Of course you don't give any dates of trying to contact Mr. Kramer, but just in case you don't know he was in the hospital, after having quadrupal bypass, but I am sure he could have called you from the
intensive care unit, with no problem, and I will also, make a bet, you>>


Mid May 98.  And he was not in the hospital since I went in and asked Mr. Lasky after leaving the second message.  After the third message I complained to Lasky and Kramer did call.  He was surly and belligerent.

<<come in or start a conversation with your attitude, so now, all the staff, and administrators know to make sure YOUR kids get the V.I.P. treatment. >>

I removed my older daughter in 98.  I just removed the younger one and they will not be returning, therefore no VIP treatment is possible.  I have divorced LF - canned them, period.

<<You know I had 2 sons go from kindergarten thru 12th grade, at Lake Fenton, and it was and can still be a good school.>>

I can not say about it having been a good school in the past, and I agree that there are many good teachers.  The point of the web site is to force them to clean up their act.  It is a wake-up call.

<<But, I will tell you something, when kids are shown respect at home they show it at school, when they are told it is always the teachers, other staff or administrators that are wrong, not themselves, then they show NO respect for anyone.>>

Both my daughters always show teachers respect.  They know that I will adjust their attitudes if they do not.

And I showed the district respect, up until they screwed up one too many times.

Ronald J. Riley  www.InventorEd.org/


To: <Ron@QualitySchoolsNow.org>
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2001 8:52 PM
Subject: Mrs. Hatfield


<<I am truly upset by what Mrs. Hatfield, and I hope she made responcible for her actions. I know Mrs. Cummings would not appreciate, something like that happening, she seems to be trying very hard to improve the Special Ed. program, and we don't Mrs.
Hatfield alienating parents or picking on students. I am very sorry, that happened.>>

So am I.  And
Lori Hatfield is being held responsible now.

Mrs. Cummings seems like a nice person.  And having my daughter's whole history available she should have seen that my daughter needed  summer programming.  Yet the IEP ended with no summer programming for my daughter.  A simple test, and perhaps not fair to Mrs. Cummings since it was a one strike (for her anyway) and out.  Most certainly she stepped into a mine field, but she is not my primary concern, my daughter's well being is.

So here is the situation.

The school board never responded to two letters, and after a three week wait,  a call to John Sharpe, President of Lake Fenton's school board, made it clear that he had not read the letter because it was too long.

Ralph Coaster did not respond in a timely manner.  Perhaps an honest misunderstanding.

Garner did not respond as promised.  Perhaps another misunderstanding.

Our past experience with Torrey Hill was not good.  Perhaps an opinion formed several years ago is not completely valid now.  But the two worst duds are still on staff there.

Lori Hatfield,  located at Torrey Hill, has constantly tried to avoid owning up to her misdeeds.  She worked a network of friends to marginalize us.  My daughter's summer programming was botched several years in a row by Lake Fenton administrators.  In one case the Lake Fenton administrator lectured me at length about how qualified Lori Hatfield is, all the while failing to recognize that qualified is not the same as having common sense or ethics.  That administrator (Debby Bommarito) told us that our daughter could not attend if we did not accept Lori Hatfield, and as a result our daughter missed over half the summer school.  We ended up with a similar fight the next year.

And then there is the self professed close friend of
Lori Hatfield, Mrs. Harrison.  She had the nerve to chastise me about raising the Lori Hatfield issue.  

{editorial note that otherwise Mrs. Harrison is a fine teacher} 

For two years Mrs. Harrison actively encouraged me, was eager for me to take my daughter to another school, apparently so her friend would not have to deal with the problems she had created.   It was Mrs. Harrison who suggested that my daughter should have the summer off.  Perhaps because her friend Lori Hatfield was once again teaching summer school?

What parent in their right mind would put their child in a school with such poor past performance, among people like Hatfield and her friends, based on the promise of either a superintendent or a principal who have less then stellar records to date, and whose predecessors had failed to deliver?

Most certainly not this one.

Ronald J. Riley  www.InventorEd.org/


To: <info@QualitySchoolsNow.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2001 12:21 AM
Subject: Re: High School


<<Mr. Riley: I see you enjoy giving your opinion, I don't care to hear from you again, you are a single minded person, and I retired from that district, and realize NO ONE will change your mind, so please don't e-mail me again, I didn't ask for a response, you did, I gave it, now don't bother me again, you only wanted to hear from like yourself. Good bye>>


I spent a considerable amount of time explaining my position to you.  If I only wanted to hear from people with exactly the same outlook I would not have invested so much time writing to you.  If you  want to sulk, that is fine.  But maybe you would be serving the kids best interests by becoming involved. 
Speaking out about what the problems are, and helping to forge solutions.  One thing is for sure, the system will never improve if people do not demand such.

It took Lake Fenton years to mold my current attitude.  Surely you did not think four emails would change it?

Take a look at www.Skippy-SCAM.org & www.Taubman-Sucks.com.

Ronald J. Riley  www.rjriley.com


Update afternoon 7-31-2001.  Mr. Garner called today.  Apparently he thought the next contact was to be in August, not May-June.  Strange, but perhaps a coincidence that the call came the day after these emails were exchanged with a retired Lake Fenton staff person.


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