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Killexams : SUN Administrator course outline - BingNews Search results Killexams : SUN Administrator course outline - BingNews Killexams : Andrea Campbell outlines gun enforcement approach

In addition to the creation of promised reproductive health care and police accountability units, the attorney general’s office will be adding a gun enforcement unit and government accountability working group under Andrea Campbell’s purview.

Campbell said on GBH’s “Basic Black” Friday night that the gun enforcement unit will be responsible for filing briefs in court to protect the state’s gun laws, which the attorney general said she has already begun doing during her first month in office.

The unit will also work with Gov. Maura Healey’s administration to educate police departments on conducting gun inspections, she said.

The Boston Globe found in December that dozens of police departments around the state did not know they were supposed to do annual gun shop inspections, and at least 235 dealers had reported 356,000 in-state sales since 2017 with no oversight from local law enforcement.

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Municipal Police Training Committee, Department of Criminal Justice Information Services and the Mass. State Police began developing a curriculum last year to teach police officers how to conduct gun inspections.

The first of these training sessions was held on Wednesday, and there are three more sessions planned in the first two weeks of March, according to Elaine Driscoll, communications director at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security.

So far, 300 officers are currently enrolled in the training program and the department can add more sessions to accommodate demand, Driscoll said.

Campbell, whose office provided training guidance for the course, said she looks forward to continuing to work with the Healey administration to ensure gun sale laws are enforced.

“Despite our Commonwealth’s strong gun laws, illegal gun trafficking remains a threat to public safety,” Healey said in a statement. “This new initiative will provide local authorities with the tools and training required to conduct timely and comprehensive compliance inspections to ensure all dealers meet their legal obligations.”

In addition to talking about her incoming gun enforcement unit, Campbell responded to a question on eliminating cash bail in the state with a noncommittal response — though she didn’t rebuff the idea.

“That’s on the list to discuss and I will say it’s an issue I care deeply about and I’ve paid attention to for years,” she said.

The attorney general often talked about her own family’s experience with the criminal justice system on the campaign trail, and on Friday night said when she was younger she couldn’t afford a high cash bail for her twin brother Andre, who later died in custody.

“I talk openly about loved ones being incarcerated and my twin brother dying while in the custody of the Department of Correction. Part of the issue was a high cash bail that I, as next of kin, could not afford to pay, even though he had severe health concerns and health care issues,” she said. “[It was] very difficult to get him out into a setting where he was provided adequate health care. And as a result of not receiving adequate health care, [he] would pass away while in that system.”

She said an “internal government accountability working group” that her office is setting up will look at the issue of cash bail, in addition to prison reform, police accountability, wrongful convictions, misappropriation of funds and pushing for transparency and accountability in the Department of Corrections.

“Once we develop that agenda we will be transparent about what it is and be really bold in going after critical solutions,” she said.

Illinois became the first state to completely abolish its cash bail system on Jan. 1.

Sat, 18 Feb 2023 08:45:00 -0600 Sam Drysdale en-US text/html
Killexams : Next administration must preserve our achievements –Buhari

 • Inaugurates 22-man transition committee

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja 

President Muhammadu Buhari has inaugurated a 22-man  Presidential Transition Council to facilitate and manage the 2023 transition programme to the next administration, saying his records of achievements must be preserved.

He said his administration has successfully advanced the fortunes of the country and learned lessons that will be helpful for the new administration, leading to its decision to ensure a smooth transition for the incoming president and his team on May 29.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, the president said the reforms that enabled those achievements must be documented and communicated in clear terms, so that “the incoming administration understands what we have done, the basis of our decisions, what we achieved and the opportunities for continuity.”

President had, last Thursday, approved the establishment of the council, and also signed the Executive Order 14, 2023 to legalised the activities of the council.

During the council’s inauguration, Mustapha said it was another historic occasion for the current administration since it showed its continued commitment to bolstering important institutions of governance that assist the democratic process.

“Although the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sets out the overarching framework for assumption of office of the president, this is the first time in our history as a country that the Federal Government will be establishing a detailed process for managing presidential transitions of government at the federal level.

“It is with great delight and honour, therefore, that I am carrying out the onerous task of inaugurating the Presidential Transition Council, on behalf of the president.

“In line with the Executive Order No. 14 of 2023, the council is charged with the responsibility of facilitating and managing the 2023 Presidential Transition Programme,” Mustapha said. 

He said the council will among others facilitate the handing over process by the current president to the president-elect; organise for the security of the president-elect and the vice president-elect including coordinating security briefings on the nation’s security matters post-elections.

Other mandate of the council is to organise for the necessary facilities, including fully furnished office and personnel for the president-elect and his/her transition team.

“Co-ordinate the briefings of the president-elect by relevant public officers; facilitate communication between the outgoing president and the president-elect; prepare the programme and organise for the swearing-in ceremony.

“Carry out any other activity necessary to ensure optimal performance of the functions of the president under the constitution and perform any other function assigned to it under the 1999 Constitution as amended.” 

He added that the council shall have all powers necessary for the execution of its functions under the new Executive Order and shall conduct its business in line with national ethics as espoused in Section 23 of the constitution.

He also said except as otherwise provided in the Executive Order, the council may determine its own procedure.

He said: “I enjoin each of us to put in even more effort in ensuring the next administration receives every support needed to make an early and quick start. In a few months, it will be eight years that the Buhari administration has been in power.

“Within this period, we have made significant strides in advancing the fortunes of our nation, we have also learnt lessons that will be useful for the incoming administration and it is on the strength of this trajectory, that the current administration is committing itself to making the 2023 transition process seamless for the incoming president and his team.

The SGF also said the reforms that enabled those achievements must, therefore, be documented and communicated in clear terms, so the incoming administration understands what we have done, the basis of our decisions, what we achieved and the opportunities for continuity.

“Our achievements must be preserved. To maximise the limited time we have, Mr. President has directed the chairperson of the council to convene the inaugural meeting of the council with immediate effect. This aims to kick off the transition process across all levels of government in line with Executive Order No. 14 of 2023. The president expects that the transition process will be replicated across states government.” 

He also announced the appointment of the Special Adviser to the President on Policy and Coordination, Habiba Lawal, as the secretary of the Presidential Transition Council in line with the Executive Order No.14, and that she shall be known as the Federal Transition Coordinator.

Speaking on behalf of all the members of the council,  Head of Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan, said it was a privilege to be called upon to serve. 

She appreciated the confidence reposed in them by the president in approving their membership is transitional council. 

Yemi-Esan assured members will work together to ensure they leave no stone unturned in facilitating the smooth transition of governance.

Tue, 14 Feb 2023 12:32:00 -0600 en-us text/html
Killexams : Mental Health course leads to certification

FARMINGTON  NAMI Maine is excited to offer a Youth Mental Health First Aid course in partnership with MaineHealth that is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a national best-practice, evidenced-based certification course that is seven hours in length, consisting of two hours of self-paced learning and five hours of instructor-led material virtually over Zoom.

Participants will learn about the common signs and symptoms of mental illness in youth including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (Adhd), and common signs and symptoms of substance use. They will also learn how to best interact with a child or adolescent in crisis and how to connect that person with help.

The course has been expanded this year to include content on trauma, addiction and self-care, as well as the impact of social media and bullying.

After registering, participants will be notified with login information to MHFA Connect to complete their pre-course work. The Zoom link for the training will also be located in MHFA Connect after the pre-work has been completed.

The virtual part of the training will be held on Thursday, March 9 from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. Completion of the course leads to a three-year certification issued by the National Council on Behavioral Health.

Anyone with questions may contact NAMI Maine’s coordinator of youth community education, by telephone at 1-800-464-5767, ext. 2318 or email [email protected]

To register visit NAMI Maine’s website at

Thu, 16 Feb 2023 20:07:00 -0600 text/html
Killexams : Alternatives to AP? DeSantis speculates as he feuds with College Board

Published Feb. 14

The big story: Florida has for years bragged about how well its students do on Advanced Placement courses.

Their success is considered an indicator of the strength of the education system.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has suggested that perhaps the state might be better off without AP classes, which supply teens access to college credits if they do well enough. He made his comment amid a simmering feud with the College Board over its latest course, African American studies.

DeSantis has derided the course, calling it ideology and false history. College Board has criticized DeSantis and his administration for playing politics with education.

Students who take the courses suggested that someone ask them what they think is in their best interest. Read more here.

Hot topics

Student assignment: The Hillsborough County School Board could not reach consensus as it discussed proposals to consolidate schools and reassign students. The administration has aimed to get a proposal up for a vote by early March. • Lee County elementary school families will have fewer choice options with transportation provided for the coming academic year, the Fort Myers News-Press reports.

Security: It’s been five years since the Parkland school shooting. It paved the way for some changes in the way Florida schools are kept secure, the Sun-Sentinel reports. • Some Palm Beach County schools will test out metal detectors in the coming months, WPTV reports. • The Hernando County school district began using new technology that identifies firearms that come within view of its security cameras, Hernando Sun reports.

Book challenges: Florida education commissioner Manny Díaz Jr. accused some teachers of performing “political theater” in removing access to classroom libraries, saying the law does not require that, WJAX reports. At the same time, he added that the state needs more consistency in understanding and implementing the laws relating to books and curriculum.

Superintendents: Broward County’s new interim superintendent received a $300,000 contract and instructions to repair the district’s “toxic culture,” WTVJ reports. More from the Sun-Sentinel.

Teacher pay: Improving salaries has become a bipartisan cause across the nation, including Florida, USA Today reports.

In higher education

Former Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, shown speaking, will be the interim president of New College of Florida. [ DANIEL A. VARELA | Miami Herald ]

New College: The school’s new trustees picked former education commissioner Richard Corcoran to help the financially struggling school reorganize itself. They offered him $699,000 a year — more than double the president they forced out.

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Diversity and inclusion: Anti-CRT activist Christopher Rufo has expanded his Florida targets to include the University of South Florida, Axios reports.

Today in Tallahassee ... The House Choice and Innovation subcommittee meets at 1:30 p.m. It is scheduled to take up two bills related to school board elections. • The House Higher Education Appropriations subcommittee meets at 4 p.m., where it is to receive a presentation on workforce development.

Don’t miss a story. Here’s a link to yesterday’s roundup.

Before you go ... Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Every Thursday, get the latest updates on what’s happening in Tampa Bay area schools from Times education reporter Jeffrey S. Solochek. Click here to sign up.

Mon, 13 Feb 2023 21:58:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Gratiot commissioners closing in on naming new administrator

Members of the Gratiot County Board of Commissioners are getting closer to hiring a new administrator.

The board has scheduled a special meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday to discuss applicants for the post.

According to a notice posted by County Clerk Angie Thomspon, commissioners will meet in closed session with the regularly scheduled meeting following at 4:30 p.m.

Gratiot sets major road and bridge projects

The Board is looking to replace current administrator Tracey Cordes, who announced her retirement in January and is due to end her tenure later this month.

Cordes, 60, has held the position since she was hired in October 2016.

Initially commissioners voted to approve a contract with the Michigan Municipal League, the same organization that helped the board when it hired Cordes, to assist with the search process.

However, when the MML would not agree to renegotiate and lower its $17,000 price tag, commissioners decided to go in a different direction to save money and hired Okemos-based Walsh Municipal Services at a cost of $12,800.

Walsh was one of four firms that had submitted bids to assist with the search.

In addition to the MML the others were GovHR of Northbrook, Ill, and Pivot Muni Services of Zeeland.

Although Pivot Muni's bid was actually lower than the others it did not offer the level of services the board had required.

Walsh will assist commissioners in developing the job posting, advertise the vacancy, review resumes, recommend candidates, perform background reviews, conduct pre-interviews and schedule final interviews with the full board.

Among the administrator's duties listed on the county's website are serving as liaison between county departments and the board, labor relations, research, development and implementation of county policies, and directly overseeing financial services, human resources, community services and facility maintenance.

According to the job advertisement posted by the Walsh firm, commissioners are "most interested in a candidate who has the skill set to manage the county's finances, respect the county culture and provide excellent teamwork across all county departments."

It lists the salary range from $86,466 to $105,206 annually.

Wed, 15 Feb 2023 05:14:00 -0600 Greg Nelson en-US text/html
Killexams : These 12 e-courses are a must-have if you’re thinking of getting into day trading No result found, try new keyword!These courses are designed to be taken at your own pace. All 12 courses in the bundle cover different aspects of stock trading and investing, including things like practical trading options ... Thu, 09 Feb 2023 18:04:00 -0600 text/html Killexams : Let legal system run its course

Helen Ubiñas column, published Feb. 3 (“The Tyre Nichols video and the overdue promise of police reform”), refers to the termination, arrest and indictment of five officers as a “showy imitation of justice.”

One is tempted to ask what is authentic justice in her view? Summary execution? Despite whatever evil deeds those officers have done, they deserve the same due process as the most heinous criminal.

Ubiñas also wonders what happened to the “defund the police” movement, as if the resultant skyrocketing crime rate is a state secret.

Lastly, she laments a lack of change in “police procedure.” The actions of these officers were not proper police procedure; that is why they were fired.

There are enough evil people in the world that, every so often, eight of them — five officers and three paramedics, in this case — will coalesce in place and time to commit and permit an atrocity. Structural changes to U.S. policing are not going to change that. More of us believing in the Ten Commandments might.

Thu, 09 Feb 2023 20:05:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : FALA leadership: Flagstaff school sees impacts as administrator positions shift

Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy's (FALA) leadership situation has continued to unfold over the past two months, with administrator positions changing, and students and staff experiencing impacts to their education and work. 

In the second of two meetings hosted the week before winter break, the school's board of directors moved to administratively reassign executive director Eli Cohen to remote work after a discussion that took place in public session.

Board treasurer Ron Borkan spoke against the reassignment, noting recent resignations and saying he had concerns about “the unintended consequences,” but other board members disagreed.

“We have lost 30 out of 40 faculty in the last three years, 26 of them in the last two years,” said board member Debra Edgerton. “What became alarming was to have more, the largest number of faculty that left in the past year.”

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A chart depicting staff attrition at FALA over the last three school years that Cohen presented to the board at its Sept. 27 meeting.

She continued: “What was happening after this past year is what started, at least for me, thinking what is going on and to talk about students when we had the report of how many students were leaving and not connecting it to the reason faculty were leaving. That is the question we have in front of us. Yes, we will probably lose more faculty, but you can’t blame the entire incident on us when most of this has happened in the prior three years.”

The motion passed 3-2, with Borkan and James Yih, the board president,  voting against.

During discussion of appointing an interim executive director later in the meeting, Borkan resigned, citing his disapproval with the way the board was handling the situation.

He later said this “was not some rash decision,” noting dissenting votes he’d made throughout the fall.

“When you’re on the board, sometimes you lose a vote, but you’re expected to then support the majority decision," he said. "For the most part, I could, but as we got into reassigning Eli to work from home or reassigning Christina [Wolfe] to work from home, those decisions I thought were very ill-advised, very short-sighted and downright wrong. I figured I can’t support these decisions [and] I can’t be on the board if they’re going to be making decisions I can’t support, so I resigned.”

ESS director position eliminated

The latter of those two reassignments had happened at the board’s meeting on Nov. 28.

Borkan was absent, but the rest of the board voted unanimously, due to a reduction in force, not to renew Extended School Services (ESS) director Wolfe’s contract after it is set to end on June 30. It also appointed board Vice President Kyle Winfree to lead a committee — including staff, parents, FALA leaders and outside experts — to explore how to restructure the department.

“We’ve been deliberating with thoughtfulness and care,” board secretary Andy Bessler is summarized as saying in the minutes. “We can move forward in positivity and growth. This has been tough for everyone, and it involves confidential information we cannot disclose. Please trust that we are working in the benefit of the school, legally and for the care of the students.”

Although Borkan believed Wolfe had performance issues that needed to be addressed, he moved during the meeting to rescind the decision to eliminate the position until the new structure had been finalized.

He had been on the finance committee for about a year at time and said neither reduction in force nor changes to the ESS director position had ever been discussed.

“If the issues were how Christina was performing at her job, that she wasn't what the school needed in a SPED director, the process the board was going through was wrong,” he said. “You do a performance evaluation, you collect your data, you talk to the employees and you work on a performance improvement plan. You’re not just having performance issues and eliminating the position; that's not how it's done.”

Other members noted that without this motion the position would still exist at FALA, with Wolfe in the role, until the end of her contract at the close of the academic year.

“I am feeling extraordinarily challenged and concerned that this is not objectively being considered,” Wolfe said when recognized at the meeting.

In response, Bessler said he was “considering all the stuff objectively as best as I can,” but that he was not comfortable discussing certain items in public “to protect people.”

“I’ll say that finances were not the only thing that we considered,” Yih said. “We had a long discussion of this.”

The motion did not continue.

ESS restructuring

According to Winfree, the reduction in force was the first step in addressing a need to restructure the ESS department. While he said he thinks everyone in the department has a "big heart" and is “in it for the right reasons,” his belief is that the structure is not serving them well.

“As it was earlier this year, we have one person at the top with certification and then multiple others who have these conditional certifications that are dependent on a mentor in the school to retain their certification and complete their education,” he said. “I think it’s great to have a mentor supporting your education, but if it is your direct supervisor and there is no other [supervisor], how are you going to speak up if there’s an issue? This person controls your job [and] they control your education."

Having multiple people at the top of the hierarchy does not necessarily require hiring new staff, he said. Instead, he offered, “it should be interpreted as an opportunity for advancement.”

Wolfe, however, was skeptical that the department could function without any sort of director, saying one is needed for tasks such as reporting to the state, providing oversight and SPED-specific crisis management.

“I just don’t see how a full-time teacher has the level of flexibility that's needed sometimes to support the department running as smoothly as it needs to,” she said. “I would never recommend that a SPED department completely eliminate the director or the leader of that entirely because there are too many moving pieces at all times for that to all be distributed out. But my hope was to actually move to more distribution and building more autonomy within all of the professionals.”

Cohen and Borkan had similar concerns about removing the position, both saying it was a necessary role for the school to have filled.

“[This position is] the one that keeps you from getting sued,” Cohen explained. “Which is frankly what schools get into trouble for -- they get SPED lawsuits or a lawsuit from the office of civil rights or the ADA or IDEA. That's when you get into trouble.”

During the Dec. 12 meeting, the board discussed interim solutions for determining the structure of the ESS department going forward with the director position eliminated.

Winfree said he met with four Flagstaff SPED experts to discuss ways FALA could better support its ESS students (only naming one, to the disapproval of meeting attendees).

The committee, which will eventually provide a recommendation to the board, has not yet met and is expected to take “several months” to come to a decision -- Winfree estimated next fall.

In the meantime, the board has hired two experts to help guide the ESS department -- interim director Michele Lucci and consultant Russ Randall, both of whom have decades of experience in special education.

In an email to the Daily Sun, Yih specifically noted their knowledge of IEPs, 504 plans and transition plans, saying they along with school improvement specialist Kara Kelty "have been instrumental in bringing the highest quality of services to our students."

Wolfe’s resignation

“I want people to understand that the story the board is trying to tell is a lie,” Wolfe said about a month after these meetings. “I, for sure, understand and appreciate that reality is based on perception and that perception is subjective. But this whole 'we’re going to fix the school after we broke it, but we're not going to say that we broke it.' ... It's wrong, it’s gaslighting.”

Like almost everyone cited in these articles, Wolfe described her initial experience at FALA as one of the best work environments she’d experienced in education, and, similar to former dean Jed Hayes, she believed some of the issues came from a lack of support as she entered an administrative position for the first time.

While the 21-22 school year was especially difficult, she said she’d started this year with new staff and a plan to “pivot and grow.” She had hired three educators who were in the process of completing a master’s degree and was building extra support for them. Eventually, she said, the hope was to grow a strong team in-house and move to a more distributed leadership model that matched FALA overall.

Wolfe expressed several concerns with the board’s decision. Among them were Borkan’s absence, that her position was the only one affected by the reduction in force, that the next school year’s budget had not yet been reviewed (she was also a member of the finance committee) and that a continuance clause in her contract meant that reduction in force was one of the only nonperformance (specifically a PIP) reasons the board could decide not to renew it.

Her primary reason for resigning, she said, was the Dec. 13 meeting and the board’s treatment of staff during the open forum that night.

She had also found the situation personally stressful.

“I have plenty of documentation about how the board’s been pretty crappy to me, but it was painful on a different level last night, watching everyone be treated that way,” she said the day after the Jan. 12 meeting.

Students walk between classes Monday morning at Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy.

Student, staff letters

The school began its winter break on Dec. 16, with students and staff set to return Jan. 2 (snow later delayed the return from break to Jan. 3).

Issues again surfaced after the break, with a total of 10 staff now having resigned, including the student services director. By the end of January, the board had hired three education professionals to help provide guidance for the school -- two specifically for its ESS department.

Two group letters were sent to the board -- one from 14 staff members, one from 47 students -- expressing disapproval with the board’s handling of the situation and asking for changes, as were several individual emails on the same themes.

The staff email, sent Dec. 14, included seven demands they asked to be recognized by 2 p.m. Dec. 16 (the last day of school before winter break), after which they would “have no choice but to coordinate escalating actions until our demands are met.”

The student letter, sent Jan. 11, expressed concerns with Cohen and Wolfe’s removal and the lack of explanation for those actions in particular.

“In the immediate aftermath of your actions, we are left without administrators on our campus and without answers to our questions,” they wrote. “Rather than promote our well-being, you have chosen to take actions that place stress on students and staff, disrupting our education and damaging our school.”

Both emails asked that three board members -- Yih, Winfree and Edgerton -- resign and that some form of staff and student voice replace them, and on the board more generally. This had also been expressed in meeting comments throughout the process.

A clip from the public comment section of FALA's Dec. 12 board meeting, in which the school's executive director asks the entire board to resign.

The board has so far had two community discussion sessions on different syllabus related to the situation in its meetings and, in a letter to the community published Feb. 12, said FALA would hold a public town hall "in the near future."

The Jan. 23 meeting included reports from student representatives and staff advocates -- which Yih said would be the first of many.

In this meeting, he addressed the request to resign, saying it was "a fair request," and that he was past his three-year term, but that it was difficult to find suitable candidates. Winfree gave a similar answer, with both noting that the board cannot legally function with fewer than five members, so to fulfill the request would have risked FALA's charter school status.

Board members also acknowledged the impact the situation was having on students and staff in their comments.

"We will get through this, and I think part of this healing process does start with us being called out and us owning up to the situation that we are in," Yih said. "I'm hopeful, based on your participation today, that we can go down this road together to Excellerate our communications with you, to meet you, to learn from you and to hear your voice."

Student impacts

Borkan said this situation has also caused at least a “handful” of students to leave FALA -- on Jan. 5, Cohen mentioned about 10 leaving over the previous two weeks. Other educators described the effects they’d seen in their students.

“Students on campus are afraid, some of them to the point of tears daily, that the school’s going to shut down and that this is the only place they’ve felt safe at school,” said Chad Fields, FALA’s mental health counselor. “At every other school, they felt ostracized, marginalized and unseen. [They] felt safe here and they’re afraid that’s going to go away.”

One student shared an email they wrote to a board member as part of an exchange in response to the group letter. At the end, they explained why they decided to join the other students in signing.

“Personally, my hope for the letter from students wasn't that it would immediately prompt everything it calls for, because I'd seen nothing that made me expect any quick action," they wrote. "Rather, I hoped that it could demonstrate the cost of the direction the Board is moving in, as well as the stress and frustration it creates for students when we're not given a way to affect that direction."

It went on to read: “At worst, I expected it to be taken as a demonstration of conviction and capability from FALA's students. I did hope and do still hope that it will encourage the Board to supply students the seat at the table we're entitled to, and that the Board will supply us more reasons to believe that our voices actually have an impact on their decisions.”

Staff impacts

Fields’ job means he works closely with the school’s ESS team -- Wolfe was his direct supervisor for the roughly 80% of his work that had to do with special education, he said.

Fields has attended every meeting since October and said the board’s actions in that time have seemed “at best, illogical.”

“It feels like a hostage situation, where our care for the children and the services we provide for them are leveraged against our moral sense of integrity to not want to be a part of this system anymore,” he said. “But we know what will happen if we all choose to be a part of this immoral disaster. ... So many staff feel like we have to sacrifice our sense of integrity to be what is just because of our commitment to holding this community together for the students that we love.”

The reassignments and resignations have impacted Fields’ work “massively,” he said in early January. The ESS department went from having a director, counselor, three teachers and an administrative assistant to just himself and one teacher.

Fields said he has been helping out in other areas to try to fill those gaps, and while he’s continued to be able to meet the required number of counseling minutes, ”it’s becoming harder and harder.”

“It’s huge,” he said. “There are compliance issues -- IEPs are tied to legal documents and our funding is tied to the ability to satisfy the stipulations in those contracts with students and their families. We’re getting close to not being able to do that legally and, I would say, definitely ethically.”

Such concerns are echoed by many current staff’s communication with the board and some of the resignation letters.

One current employee, who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation, said they would like to resign from the school as well, but needed to stay to support their family’s livelihood. They’d seen other staff making similar decisions.

In an email to a board member in late December, another employee (who asked for anonymity for the same reason) gave the example of the student services team needing to cover multiple positions due to the absences created by the reassignments and resignations.

“I just want to do my job. I want to come to work and be amazing,” they wrote. “I miss where the hardest problem I had was telling kids to get out of the bathroom. I understand we all have the same mission, ‘to do what is best for kids.’ That is hard to do when we ended up in a place of distrust and endless discomfort towards the people around us.”

Police reports

That email was part of a thread about the third FALA-related police report filed in December.

The first two, filed by Winfree and another staff member, both focused on the same incident, which had happened in May of 2021.

One report summarizes Winfree as saying he’d heard from a school employee that Wolfe had taken a student with disabilities to music class, which was auditorily overstimulating for them and caused significant distress. Wolfe, however, said the student had asked to be taken to the class, the reporting educator had misread the situation and that the student's parents agreed this was not a concern.

Both reports ended with the case being closed unfounded, with the stated reasons that there was no criminal conduct and the allegations don’t rise to the level of child abuse.

The timing and reason behind these reports has been in contention, however.

Cohen and Wolfe both say the board knew about and dismissed this employee’s claim; an email from Yih on Sept. 18 asks the board not to respond to the same source cited in the report, as “at this point, I do not believe [their] claims need to rise to the attention of the board.”

Winfree, however, said he was taking the first step in reporting allegations to the state by calling law enforcement. Hearing that Wolfe had threatened to sue a different staff member if they spoke up about the situation was what “solidified” his understanding that it needed to be reported.

The third report is about a different incident: an alleged kidnapping attempt on Winfree’s child.

On Dec. 15, someone called the school claiming to be Winfree’s wife, according to what Winfree and Cohen said was the understanding at the time. The caller said to send Winfree’s child to meet them outside, and that they were not to interact with any school staff.

Winfree said he was concerned enough after putting the pieces together to call the police about this on Dec. 22. The police report closed the case on Dec. 28, noting that this was likely a misunderstanding, as the parent of another child at the school who had the same first name had called their child out of school at the same time as the phone call in question.

Cohen charges

The board brought charges against Cohen at a meeting Jan. 12, delivering them with an intent to terminate on Jan. 26.

Board members went into more detail of their concerns at the meeting as they brainstormed what to include in the charges. (Cohen has admitted to some of these, including breaking reassignment and having a relationship with a subordinate. He said the first was necessary out of a need for safety and that there were no policies against the second at the time.)

Yih summarized the charges in a Jan. 23 meeting as falling into groups of allegations around “inappropriate disclosure of confidential information, violation of administrative reassignments, failure to conduct duties, mishandling of contracts…poor relationship with the board of directors and some unprofessionalism.”

As seen in the comments around the original discussion, particularly an apology Yih made at the beginning, current employees disagreed with the choice to outline these in detail in a public session. To Wolfe and other employees, this discussion wasn’t an act of transparency, because it was both false and unnecessary.

Clip from the Jan. 12 meeting, where Yih introduces the item on making charges against Cohen.

Stating that Cohen broke the terms of his reassignment would have been enough, Wolfe said.

“He has areas to work on in his profile as a leader; we all do, frankly. We don’t all have to suffer through 45 minutes of public criticism,” she said. “Those weren’t discussions. It’s such a gross display of dehumanizing.”

“To learn in the board meeting that James apologized for not taking action in 2020 over things, feels very wrong to take it now. It's 2023. It's punishing us,” another employee wrote to the Daily Sun. “Clearly there have been improvements as all of Eli's staff working near him have stuck our necks out, spoken up, sent emails and said how wrong this is from the beginning. Ron's resignation and letter summed it up that it is wrong and they need to listen to us.”

Board members noted here and in later meetings, however, that Cohen had requested the discussion be done in public, so that is what they did.

When the board turned the floor to Cohen after discussing the potential charges at the meeting, he said he didn’t need to speak, out of concern for legal jeopardy.

“I am not going to deal with lies and whatever. I have legal counsel, we’re done,” he said. “You can continue as you wish.”

The motion passed with four members voting for it, and the two new members abstaining.

This was followed by an explanation of the hearing process from the board's legal counsel, which can be seen about 45 minutes into the recording

On Jan. 26, the board took the next step, moving to approve and deliver the charges against Cohen as well as an intent to terminate his employment. It also amended the terms of his reassignment, instructing him not to report to work or act on FALA's behalf until further notice.

He is currently still employed at the school. 

"I hope we can in due time supply more information when we feel it is legally appropriate, good timing, that sort of thing," Yih said in discussion of the motion. "We're trying to be careful here -- in large part, legally. We have heard your concerns about transparency and we're working through that."

Bessler added: "We need to have that due process run through and I just ask for everyone's patience while we let that happen."

A hearing, which will not be open to the public, is set for today. Afterwards, the hearing officer will have 10 days to deliver a report with recommendations to the board, which it will then review in a public meeting.

Minutes of all the meetings, including summaries of public and board comments on the matter, are available on FALA’s website at Recorded versions and transcripts are available for meetings beginning Dec. 12.

Thu, 16 Feb 2023 05:58:00 -0600 Abigail Kessler en text/html
Killexams : Landowner help sought to protect endangered animals, plants

Nic Coury / AP, file

Monarch butterflies land on branches at Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove, Calif., Nov. 10, 2021. The Biden administration proposed regulatory changes on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023, to encourage voluntary conservation projects on private land, partly by shielding owners from punishment if the actions kill or harm small numbers of imperiled species.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — The Biden administration plans to propose regulatory changes Wednesday to encourage voluntary conservation projects on private land, partly by shielding owners from punishment if their actions kill or harm small numbers of imperiled species.

The proposed U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule outlines steps to simplify permitting for damage that otherwise would be illegal under the Endangered Species Act. The Associated Press obtained details on the proposal prior to its public release.

To qualify, landowners take steps that would benefit declining species, including pollinators such as bumblebees and monarch butterflies.

The idea is to make landowners allies rather than adversaries as climate change, urban sprawl and other trends jeopardize more animals and plants. The United Nations says up to 1 million species could go extinct worldwide, many in the next few decades.

Preventing such losses will require protections on both private and public lands, officials told AP.

“We believe very strongly that collaborative conservation is the way forward,” U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in an interview. She added in a statement that partnerships would “set us on a course for continued recovery and resilience.”

The proposed rule involves a section of the federal law that offers exceptions to its broad prohibitions on harming species listed as endangered or threatened. It allows “taking” — killing — individual plants or animals for scientific purposes, or to preserve a species through steps such as establishing new populations.

It also allows such harm if it's an unintended result of an otherwise legal activity such as logging, mining and oil and gas development.

Killing or harming members of listed species under those circumstances requires a permit, accompanied by plans for limiting the damage and conserving the species overall.

“These are tools that are valuable and popular, but are largely constrained by the fact that they are time consuming and expensive to negotiate,” said Jonathan Wood, a vice president at the Property and Environment Research Center, which supports a free-market approach to environmentalism.

The proposed new rule is designed to make reaching such deals easier and get more landowners to take part.

It would combine two existing types of protection agreements into one. It also would allow owners eventually to stop their protection measures — for example, by cutting trees they had allowed to grow for the benefit of woodland species such as birds or bats.

Another provision would allow issuance of permits for harming individuals of species that haven't been listed as endangered or threatened but could be in the future. The landowner would begin protective measures immediately but couldn't hurt or kill any of the animals or plants until their species are listed. That could help them recover well enough that legal protections aren't needed.

"We anticipate that these improvements will encourage more individuals and companies to engage in these voluntary programs, thereby generating greater conservation results overall,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said in a regulatory filing.

Environmental law experts said the strategy is worth trying but success isn't certain — particularly since it opens the door to more “incidental” deaths and gives landowners the option of dropping conservation efforts.

“This is not a risk-free rule,” said Pat Parenteau, an emeritus law professor at the Vermont Law and Graduate School. “It may not work out to the net benefit of the species in question.”

Most endangered species live largely on private land, so the government has little choice but to seek voluntary cooperation, accept tradeoffs and assure owners they'll be able to manage their property, said Dan Rohlf, a professor with the Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

But an agreement that doesn't require permanent conservation measures “sends a message to non-federal landowners that species conservation is ultimately not your obligation,” Rohlf said. “It says that hopefully we'll recover a species somewhere else than your land. And that may or may not be true or possible."

Wildlife advocates have criticized the use of conservation agreements in cases including Arctic grayling, a fish struggling to survive in parts of Montana.

Advocates sued the government last week, contending a deal reached more than a decade ago involving the Big Hole River and its tributaries — home to the grayling and a water source for agriculture — had failed to stop the fish's decline.

The agreement wasn't enforceable and didn't go through a public process so experts could weigh in, said Kristine Akland, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity.

“The concept is great: State and private entities and the federal government all come together and agree to abide by certain measures to help a species,” Akland said. “Every ... conservation agreement is going to be subject to those pitfalls.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service scheduled a public comment period for Feb. 9 through April 10. No date has been set for a final decision on the proposed rule.

The service invited feedback on matters such as whether the proposed changes would save time and money; how they would affect conservation; how much private land could be eligible; and the potential for more permit applications.

“The upcoming rule is important to bring in the nonfederal landowners, to bring working landscapes into this partnership of really embracing the Endangered Species Act,” Martha Williams, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, told AP.


Brown reported from Billings, Montana.

Tue, 07 Feb 2023 16:56:00 -0600 en text/html
Killexams : Moldova’s President outlines Russian ‘plan’ to topple government

CHISINAU, Moldova — Moldova’s president outlined Monday what she described as a plot by Moscow to overthrow her country’s government using external saboteurs, put the nation “at the disposal of Russia” and derail its aspirations to one day join the European Union.

President Maia Sandu’s briefing comes a week after neighboring Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country had intercepted plans by Russian secret services to destroy Moldova, claims that were later confirmed by Moldovan intelligence officials.


“The plan for the next period involves actions with the involvement of diversionists with military training, camouflaged in civilian clothes, who will undertake violent actions, attack some state buildings, and even take hostages,” Sandu told reporters at a briefing.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago, Moldova, a former Soviet republic of about 2.6 million people, has sought to forge closer ties with its Western partners. Last June, it was granted EU candidate status, the same day as Ukraine.


Sandu said the alleged Russian plot’s purpose is “to overthrow the constitutional order, to change the legitimate power from (Moldova’s capital) Chisinau to an illegitimate one,” which she said “which would put our country at the disposal of Russia, in order to stop the European integration process.”

She defiantly vowed: “The Kremlin’s attempts to bring violence to our country will not succeed.”

There was no immediate reaction from Russian officials to Sandu’s claims.

Sandu said that between October and December Moldovan police and its Intelligence and Security Service, the SIS, have intervened in “several cases of organized criminal elements and stopped attempts at violence.”

Over the past year, non-NATO member Moldova has faced a string of problems. These include a severe energy crisis after Moscow dramatically reduced gas supplies; skyrocketing inflation; and several incidents in recent months involving missiles that have traversed its skies, and debris that has been found on its territory.

Moldovan authorities confirmed that another missile from the war in Ukraine had entered its airspace on Friday.

Last April, tensions in Moldova also soared after a series of explosions in Transnistria — a Russia-backed separatist region of Moldova where Russia bases about 1,500 troops — which had raised fears it could get dragged into Russia’s war in Ukraine. Transnistria has a population of about 470,000 and has been under the control of separatist authorities since a civil war in 1992.

Sandu claimed that Russia wants to use Moldova in the war against Ukraine, without providing more details, and that information obtained by intelligence services contained what she described as instructions on rules of entry to Moldova for citizens from Russia, Belarus, Serbia, and Montenegro.


“I assure you that the state institutions are working to prevent these challenges and keep the situation under control,” Sandu said.

She said that Moldova’s Parliament must adopt draft laws to equip its Intelligence and Security Service, and the prosecutor’s office, “with the necessary tools to combat more effectively the risks to the country’s security.”

Costin Ciobanu, a political scientist at the Royal Holloway University of London, said it’s likely there “was a huge pressure” on Moldovan authorities to explain more to the public after Zelenskyy first went public with the security information last week in Brussels.

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“Today’s announcement by President Sandu legitimizes the narrative that Moldova needs to focus on its security,” he told The Associated Press. “Probably, based on the evidence they received, they are now more sure of these kinds of attempts by Russians.”

He added that Sandu going public could also be a preemptive bid to thwart “Russia’s attempts to destabilize Moldova,” in the same way Western officials called out the Kremlin’s war plans before its invasion of Ukraine.

The president added that the plan would “rely on several internal forces, but especially on criminal groups” and went on to name two Moldovan oligarchs, Ilan Shor and Vladimir Plahotniuc, both of whom are currently in exile. Both men last year were sanctioned by the U.S. and the U.K.


Last fall, a series of mass anti-government protests organized by Shor’s populist, Russia-friendly Shor Party, also rocked Moldova amid the energy crunch.

The president’s press briefing Monday comes after the surprise resignation on Friday of Moldova’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita. The same day, Sandu appointed her defense and security adviser, pro-Western economist Dorin Recean, to succeed Gavrilita.

On Friday, after Moldovan authorities confirmed the missile incident, U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters in Washington that “Russia has for years supported influence and destabilization campaigns in Moldova, which often involve weaponizing corruption to further its goals.”

McGrath reported from Sighisoara, Romania

Mon, 13 Feb 2023 02:00:00 -0600 en-US text/html
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