A Community Conversation on Maintaining Safe & Productive Classrooms

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    Community conversation on school climate -- April 26-page-001

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    Carolyn Classen
    Carolyn Sugiyama Classen, a life long Democrat, was born & raised in the State of Hawaii, was a Legislative Aide for U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye on Capitol Hill, and practiced law for a while. In Tucson she worked as a tribal staff attorney for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and later was the Interim Executive Director of the now defunct Domestic Violence Commission. In 2008 she became a “My Tucson” guest columnist for the Tucson Citizen newspaper, then continued blogging for Tucsoncitizen.com for over four and a half years. Her blogsite was entitled “Carolyn’s Community” about community events and some political news, until Gannett Publishing shut down the site on January 31, 2014. She started with Blog for Arizona on Feb. 11, 2014. Part time she has been sitting as a Hearing Officer in Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts Small Claims Division since April, 2005. She is married to University of Arizona Distinguished Professor Albrecht Classen, a native of Germany. They have one son, who lives in Seattle, WA with his wife and daughter. She is also the Editor of the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition website, www.southernazjapan.org (since Jan. 2013).

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    1. Over 60 people at this community conversation tonight, to discuss components of a “safe and productive classroom”, what’s working elsewhere, and specifically about TUSD issues. Panelists introduced themselves: Debbie at TMM Children’s Services is in charge of 53 foster children; Betts is a parent volunteer/activist; Lori is a director at ACA and substitute teacher; Mark is a UA college prof. and current TUSD Board member. The conversation focused on the classroom environment, with mostly teachers in the room expressing their concerns over discipline, more violence, defensive parents, control in the classroom, change from inquiry based learning to teaching to the standards curriculum, lack of professional development and administrative support. Partnerships with other agencies such as TMM and ACA are needed, but funding is decreasing there as well. Finally several suggestions were offered about programs that are working such as parenting theater, more dialogues (not monologues from the administration), more teacher’s aides, reward/feedback systems for the students. In audience tonight were Georgia Brousseau, former PCC Governing Bd. member and school administrator, DA Morales of “Three Sonorans” blogsite, and former State Senator Paula Aboud.

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