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.