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Valley View School Board President Tells Bolingbrook PTA Mom 'This is Not a Q&A'

Colleen Douty asks a district leader to explain himself and initially is cut off because of the perception she has overstepped a line during the public comment portion of Monday's Valley View School Board meeting.

At one point during the Valley View School District board of education meeting, Bolingbrook’s Colleen Douty raised the question of what Superintendent James Mitchem meant when he said he would “move the system from adult-centered to children-centered.”

Douty, the mother of four children enrolled in Bolingbrook schools and a member of the Bolingbrook High School PTA, spoke during the public comments session of Monday’s meeting at Lukancic Middle School in Romeoville. She attended the meeting to show her support for Bolingbrook Principal Michael White.

His resignation was accepted in a 5-2 vote by the board even though a packed house turned out and many of those who spoke urged the board and the principal to set aside their differences and iron out a compromise deal.

“You stated, ‘I am who I am and I will not change. I have said from the moment I became an administrator that I did not believe in the system, that I would move the system from adult-centered to children-centered,’ " Douty said as she read comments attributed to Mitchem from an article in The Bugle Newspapers.

“What exactly does adult-centered vs. children-centered mean?” Douty questioned. “Please give examples of how you successfully made these changes.”

And then she was cut off by Valley View School Board President Steven Quigley.

“Ma’am, this is not a Q&A,” Quigley said. “It’s a public comment (session).”

Douty moved on and then Mitchem jumped into the Q&A a bit later.

“Although I agree we do not want this to digress into a Q&A, concerning Mrs. Douty’s questions, with your permission, I would not have an issue with at least answering these,” Mitchem said, looking for Quigley’s approval to go ahead.

Given that OK, Mitchem cited several examples of how he has attempted to steer the district on a path to becoming more children-centered, including the implementation of a grading scale that measures student performance on a 90-10 basis of “what you know” and “what you do” and takes some compliance issues out of the success/failure component.

Douty concluded with “one last thing.”

“This support Mr. White campaign has given the community an opportunity to discuss many areas of concern, one of which is the role of high school building principals in our district,” she said.

Douty asked the board to empower White so he could implement his vision. Only this time the answer to her request came not from one individual, but rather in the form of a board vote: 5-2.









Pete Simon January 30, 2014 at 12:55 PM
Caring Citizen, I don't feel you are picking on me, you are questioning me and that's good, it makes me question myself. I know Rhonda was a pain and maybe bitter. She should not of asked a question, but my point is that her question was answered. I know the video is three years old, that concerns me even more. Think of the decisions made recently, Mitchem's Reimbursement of $ that was inadvertently left out of his contract, getting a 50% pay raise when in July the tribune reported he agreed to follow the teachers pay raise of 2%, Mr. Mitchem was picked to be superintendent before he had his certificate, and now this whole Mr. White thing (i know he resigned but did something happen behind closed doors?) It may seem I am picking on them but I'm only questioning like are to me and that is fine. Heck, when Member Campbell said yes to they aren't always ethical, she could of ment they Jay walked on the way to the meeting. Her Idea of ethical and mine could be completely different. You are also correct that board members don't have to have kids in the district, I think the point is,if they did have kids in the district they might see first hand what is going on, having to go to parent teacher conferences, school functions, plays or even volunteering in their child's classroom. Then they might see that they might have made a mistake to take 120 aids out of the classroom. I know quigley is human, and comes off gruff, but as a elected official I feel he needs to respect the residents. I know it has to be a pain to deal with people like me after working a long day. Would you agree that he was a little disrespectful when at the end of last Mondays meeting when he basically said if you don't like it, move? Boy, did I feel welcome.
Pete Simon January 30, 2014 at 12:56 PM
Follow the Money, it has not gone unnoticed!! Mickey, we always need humor!!
GottaAsk? January 30, 2014 at 01:09 PM
Let me start by saying that I agree that Mr. White has certainly had a positive impact on BHS. This stated, it seems to me that most are compelled to speak to the impact that he has had in terms of addressing behavior and disciplinary problems and holding people accountable. Again, I agree – to an extent. HOWEVER, the only person being credited is Mr. White and the overwhelming comments seem to leave a perception that if Mr. White leaves then the behavior, discipline, and accountability problems will return. Why is there absolutely no attention being given to the fact that according to the BHS Directory there are 7 people employed in the capacity of “Dean” at the high school? Are these not the people whose whole job is to attend to behavior and disciplinary problems? I respect Mr. White’s willingness to take a hands-on approach to dealing with these issues; however, as a leader is it not also his responsibility to develop his team? I believe so and as such it would seem reasonable that he should also be holding the Dean’s accountable for doing their respective jobs and if they are successful in upholding their responsibilities then the Principal – regardless of who it is – can devote an appropriate proportion of their time to other important matters as well. Not to mention that the Dean’s are certainly supervised by an Assistant Principal. Again, what is this person doing? Seems to me as though there are 8 well paid staff members not being held accountable for upholding their responsibilities.
Disappointed Taxpayer January 30, 2014 at 01:27 PM
Actually this year the number of deans has been reduced. I believe there are now 3 or 4. Can anyone confirm the number? This is a direct result of the impact Mr. White has had. Less problems = less deans required = money saved or re-allocated.
Pete Simon January 30, 2014 at 02:17 PM
Here's a disturbing thought. One of the board members said at the meeting, not to worry they will find someone just as good as Mr. White (we know lightning doesn't always strike twice in the same spot). What if..they find someone and lose control of the school again, will the board admit they are wrong and fire him/her or will they just ignore it because they don't want to 4 principles in 5 yrs and have egg on their face? By then it's too late and the student's have suffered. Mickey, just reread your comment about the ethical thing....THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!
whatsgoingon January 30, 2014 at 02:26 PM
Mr White set the tone in the building. Ask any teacher or staff member, Mr White didn't create any new rules, he just started enforcing the existing rules. Something none of the previous principals did. The teachers were so excited because now there was some bite to the rules. All the teachers have to do is threaten to send the student to Mr. White and they suddenly start behaving.
Caring Citizen January 30, 2014 at 02:37 PM
Pete - You never answered my question: What EXACTLY do you think the board is doing that is unethical? Don't keep saying this, if you're not giving an example. Because so far they accepted a resignation from Mr. White. Although many are unhappy, that is not unethical. Give an example to back up your accusation please! And please, for the love of God can we not be so "doomsdayish"? If you want the board to find someone similiar to Mr. White in their discipline (although a good point was made about the Deans -what are they doing?? And getting paid for?) then you need to take the time to meet with the board members, tell them what you liked about Mr. White, explain what you'd like to see in the next principal, be positive. What's done is done, if all we keep focusing on is the negative about a new principal, it's not going to any good other than make you miserable. Don't just sit around, mulling and complaining, do something productive, meet with the board and maybe if you be nice, you just might find out how much better your opinions get taken into consideration when they are treated like a person and not screamed at or constantly criticized. I know I liked Mr. White, but my son really has never had any interaction with him. I have since found out a few things that are disturbing to me about him, and like they say, there is always two sides to every story.
Caring Citizen January 30, 2014 at 02:48 PM
Follow the money - That claim was by Liz Campbell (sorry but please consider the source, she agrees with anything the public says - at least in public). She also did not give a specific example, nor do you know her "definition" of unethical. But more importantly, that was 3 1/2 years ago. There are now at least 3 new board members since then. How would you like it if people were accusing you of being unethical, yet don't have one concrete example, or are not relating that accusation to something they personally have experienced? Basing it on a 3 year old video that actually doesn't have anything unethical on it other than Liz being somewhat cornered by a person (Rhonda) that was doing anything she could to slam the board members on something, just anything she could find? Come on, let's be adults and be rational people. Mudslinging without solid proof is not the way to go if you want to be heard and respected, and your opinion to count to make positive change.
Do what is right for the kids January 30, 2014 at 03:04 PM
Caring Citizen, how are you related to Dr. Mitchem? I'm sure everyone would like to know.
Pete Simon January 30, 2014 at 03:15 PM
I have ZERO proof of anything, The answer to your question was I only wanted to point out the video and thought people would find it interesting. It is my opinion, and only mine.
Just asking January 30, 2014 at 03:33 PM
I thought there were still 7 deans and the assistant principal in charge of overall school discipline . A large number of deans but more surprising than that is the fact that not one is black. In a large diverse school not to have at least one black dean is unfair to a large portion of your population. Again, black men leaving BHS 3 deans 1 guidance counselor and head basketball coach (boys).
GottaAsk? January 30, 2014 at 04:02 PM
whatsgoingon... based upon your comment that, "All the teachers have to do is threaten to send the student to Mr. White and they suddenly start behaving" it would seem reasonable to conclude that you believe that behavior and discipline problems are the responsibility of the Principal. What then may I ask are the roles of the Dean's and the Assistant Principal who oversees them? I agree with the statement that Mr. White "set the tone" in the building with respect to behavior, discipline, and accountability among the students, but I also believe that he should have given equal attention to holding the Dean's and their direct supervisor accountable for upholding their responsibilities. If the teachers have no confidence in the Dean's and as you stated it took the threat of sending them directly to Mr. White to get their attention then what is being done to rectify that situation? The Principal has a ton of responsibility in a building to include leading and developing his/her staff. Perhaps doing so takes longer, but in the long run you end up with a TEAM of people upholding proper standards of behavior, discipline, and accountability among student's rather than just one person - Mr. White.
stylemaker1 January 30, 2014 at 06:20 PM
Basically, it boils down to this. They hired Mr. White, he relocated from Michigan to do a job. He tried to do his job, but the administration/board members wouldn't let him do his job!! I have 4 students at BHS and one that graduated during the "gang allowed mentality" of the students (that nothing was done about!). Hmmm - let me think - which do you think I would choose!
Can't we all just get along January 30, 2014 at 07:02 PM
Alarming news about the bb gun at BHS today. Perpetrater was handled in 6 min. I just bet! Back to reality folks!!!! Sad sad sad, wonder how those 5 board members and Mitchem will sleep tonight?
Mickey January 30, 2014 at 07:29 PM
Interesting how that happened today. That's all I'm going to say.
Pete Simon January 30, 2014 at 08:04 PM
Hug your kids a little tighter tonight and say a prayer for the student and their family
Mickey January 30, 2014 at 09:13 PM
Amen Pete!
Spouse of a teacher January 30, 2014 at 10:48 PM
GottaAsk? & Caring Citizen - I am glad you are part of the conversation and bringing a different perspective to the table and glad you think the Mr. White has done a good job thus far. Is it not true that Mr. White and the TEAM of deans have made recommendations for expulsion to Mr. Mitchem and the school board? But, in the end it was overturned by the board and Mitchem? Also, I am curious to know your thoughts/view on the 90/10 policy. I am currently taking/taken classes at JJC and other state schools and was bombarded by homework and papers (which were graded heavily). Is this policy doing a disservice to the students of VVSD (I would be more than happy to send you my syllabi)? In your opinion do you believe the "New View" has proven effective for VVSD? Were you at the meeting to see how both Gougis and Mitchem were on the phones multiple times throughout the the meeting? Don't you find that disrespectful? Once again, thanks for joining the conversation! It's always great to have different views.
Faith Kinsman-Jones January 31, 2014 at 07:16 AM
After what happened today I am begging the school board the superintendent to PLEASE rethink their decision. We can't have this at our schools
Pete Simon January 31, 2014 at 08:31 AM
I am not a religious man by any means But the events that have taken place over the last couple of weeks makes me think this all happen in a short period of time for a reason. Some are going to call Mr. White a Hero, put him on pedestal. I think if you ask him he will tell you he is not, only doing his job as an administrator, fellow human being/parent and military man. Before anyone jumps on me.... no, I can not PROVE that this is happening for a reason or that there is a God. Sometimes you just have to have faith
Conscientious Objector January 31, 2014 at 08:10 PM
You all realize there's a board member commenting in this thread, right?
Spouse of a teacher January 31, 2014 at 08:33 PM
LOL...Yes!
Conscientious Objector January 31, 2014 at 08:42 PM
You know exactly what's up, Spouse! Hilarious! Love the questions.
Spouse of a teacher January 31, 2014 at 08:49 PM
I respect they are on here and sharing their views. I understand the concerns for anonymity I will not bash them. I also can't tell if they are a board member, Mitchem's wife or Mitchem himself. It doesn't matter...they are creating conversation and dialogue with the community.
whatsgoingon February 01, 2014 at 12:22 AM
Step 1) Mr White sets the tone. Students are responsible for their education and for their own actions. 2) homework sweeps -only worth 10% but you have to do it. 3) get to school everyday on time - just like a job in the real world 4) come to school to learn or don't waste the staff's time. 5) have the deans figure out why they aren't doing their homework. And finally test scores go up and kids are behaving. Go figure.
Pete Simon February 01, 2014 at 09:47 AM
You are correct Spouse of Teacher, the more they question the more we are finding things. PLEASE keep it up!!
Jim George February 06, 2014 at 07:01 PM
Quigley also said if you don't like the Board's decision....move....
Jim George February 06, 2014 at 07:15 PM
The Board member is aware of the lawsuits, especially Arlette Morris, but Kimder has been given salary increases....Gougis quibbles over the difference between 'raise' and 'bonus' apparently because he is too arrogant to think that people are too stupid to know the difference. Kinder has subjected to at least 4 lawsuits since 2008 that I'm aware of although again the Board will quibble over language like 'lawsuit' and 'mediation'. The cost to taxpayers has been enormous but this Board views this as an 'operating expense'. If there is a board member out there and they are not identifying themselves should that not tell everyone the type of people you are dealing with? People who hide in the shadows like that the cowardly bullies they are instead of fulfilling their sworn oaths to the taxpayers. This smacks of an unaccountable elite that has nothing but contempt and malfeasance at heart. I call out this board member. Identify yourself or resign. You are not titled nobility. You are beholden to the taxpayer.
Jim George February 06, 2014 at 07:19 PM
Caring Citzen writes like Rachel Kinder. ...only a guess...probably wrong but
Colleen February 13, 2014 at 02:35 PM
For those who want answers, I recommend we all call the Regional & State Board and demand an investigation into the actions of the Superintendent & BOE. Below are the numbers: Will County Office: 815-740-8360 Shawn Walsh Regional Superintendent FOIA Officer swalsh@willcountyillinois.com Frank Perucca Assistant Regional Superintendent fperucca@willcountyillinois.com State Board: Contacting members of the State Board of Education: Email: kgallowa@isbe.net State Board of Education members do not have offices at the Illinois State Board of Education. Fax: Faxes may be sent to the attention of State Board Members at 217-785-3972 State Superintendent: Dr. Christopher Koch Springfield office: 866/262-6663 Chicago office: 312/814-2220

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