Creamy Pecan Chicken

adapted by Kimberly Cook from Discover Dinnertime by Susan Dosier and Julia Rutland

Ingredients:creamy pecan chicken
• 3 tbsp. salted butter, divided
• 6 boneless chicken breasts
• garlic powder (¼ tsp. + ¼ tsp.)
• salt (¼ tsp.)
• fresh ground pepper (½ tsp. or to taste)
• ½ cup chopped or whole pecans
• 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
• 3 tbsp. peach preserves
• cayenne pepper, dash (optional)

Instructions:

In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp. butter. Add ¼ tsp. garlic powder and sauté pecans until they produce a toasty aroma or are slightly brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

Pound chicken breasts in Zip-Lock bag with meat mallet or hammer until they are about ¼-inch even thickness. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with garlic powder (approximately ¼ tsp.), salt and pepper.

Melt 1 tbsp. butter in large skillet over medium-high heat (careful not to let butter burn) and add seasoned chicken breasts. Sear on both sides, a couple of minutes on each side, until done. Turn heat off and cover the skillet with a lid for a few minutes to allow the chicken to rest. Some of the juices will release from the chicken. (I poke them with a fork or spoon and if they feel firm to the touch, then they are done.) Do not overcook, as this will make them tough. Remove chicken from frying pan, but let juices remain.

Combine mustard and preserves in small bowl. In the same pan used to sauté the chicken, pour mustard/preserve mixture and heat until melted. Turn off heat and add cream. Stir until smooth. (Be careful not to overheat the cream as this will cause it to separate.)

To serve, place cooked chicken on a plate or serving dish. Sprinkle chicken with toasted pecans. Sprinkle with small amount of cayenne pepper, if desired. Pour warm cream mixture over the chicken breasts and pecans.

Serve this with a green vegetable (green beans or broccoli) and buttered angel hair pasta.

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Christmas 2017

Dear Friends,

Part of the Christmas pilgrimage each year is the search for inspiration for the Christmas letter. This year, I look deep into my coffee cup and find….  Nothing. As a symbol of my dearth of creativity, the Christmas lights I left up in the tall junipers of my front yard won’t work this year—almost every string is burned out. I have bought few Christmas presents, except the ones for Dirty Santa and bingo prizes, because those are easy–requiring almost no thought. Christmas would be so much easier if it didn’t require so much mental energy.

(I pulled up the Christmas letter I wrote last year and honestly can’t remember if I ever mailed it to anyone. To cover my bases, I have published the letter to my blog and you can read it here.)

One might wonder why my lights aren’t working. I can’t explain except to say that, like Tom Bodett of Motel 6 fame, I have left the lights on for everyone all year long and now my bulbs are burned out.

It is my own fault. I have a tendency to run at Warp 11 during every project, whether it is city council or a Wood Badge ticket. I can hear Scotty’s warning ringing in my ear: “I’ve giv’n her all she’s got captain, an’ I canna give her no more.” It is good to take the time to write the annual Christmas letter because it forces me to slow down to Impulse power so I can reflect on the past year’s progress. Frankly, Impulse power is about all I have left.

My second year in office as a councilor for the City of Vestavia Hills has been one of settling in. In a conversation with Greg, I likened the workings of our city government to the body of Christ, as described in the Bible. In doing so, it is not my intent to shed an ecclesiastical light on city government. Nevertheless, the city council is similar to a church body in that there are many “members” all working to achieve one goal—to serve the people of Vestavia Hills. It is fulfilling to be part of such a team.

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Vestavia Hills City Council
Paul Head, Rusty Weaver, Mayor Ashley Curry, George Pierce and Kimberly Cook (Photo credit: Deloye Burrell)

What have I learned in my second year of office? Here is my Top Ten list, in no particular order of importance:

  1. The city clerk knows everything. If there is something the clerk does not know, then that fact is irrelevant.
  2. All water flows downhill at a rate of speed directly relative to the number of storm water infrastructure complaints the city receives in our Action Center and the number of Facebook posts in which Councilor Pierce and I get tagged.
  3. Social media is often the definition of #fakenews.
  4. Citizens want more services, but they don’t want higher taxes.
  5. Understanding people’s concerns means you have to talk to them and listen.
  6. Social media is an invaluable tool for measuring the pulse of the city, regardless of #3.
  7. The city manager never sleeps, except when he takes a trip to Ireland.
  8. Effective communication, transparency and personnel management is what makes government run smoothly.
  9. You don’t have to be responsible in order to be held responsible for a breakdown in any part of government.
  10. Being heard is almost as important to constituents as agreement.
Wood Badge Bobwhite Patrol

Last October, Greg and I participated in a Boy Scout Wood Badge course. This is a Baden-Powell leadership development program that trains Scout leaders, through the application of inane songs, skits, games and crafts designed to drive people like my husband (the un-crafty partner in our marriage) absolutely insane. I will never forget the sight of my husband attempting to tie a woggle (absolutely no relation at all to Boggle or the Wiggles), sweat pouring from his brow and a look of stern concentration on his face. (Stern is not really the right word, but use of the word mulish in a Christmas letter seemed somehow inappropriate.) In the end, much like with his Third Grade eggshell mosaic project, another patrol member helped him. However, I am sure the hours he spent in the effort helped form his character and made him a better attorney-leader.

The culmination of the Wood Badge course is completion of five goals that comprise the Wood Badge “ticket.” The course catechizes Wood Badge participants by having novitiates march in a circle while singing a song that pledges, “I’m going to work my ticket if I can.” Too late, I realize I could have used a variation of this technique to brainwash my son, who I would like to see completing any number of tasks, like cleaning his room, putting his dishes in the sink, and washing his clothes.

Wood Badge Bear Patrol
Wood Badge Bear Patrol

Greg has worked diligently on his Wood Badge goals, creating new Scout faith and leadership programs that have greatly benefited the young men in our troop. I have also “worked my ticket”, helping to form a new Venture Crew and increasing the reach of Scouting in our community. I have one more goal to finish before Greg and I both receive our Wood Badge beads, which–based on the effort expended and Greg’s billable hourly rate–are worth more than the Hope Diamond. Greg suggested I insert here that he finished his ticket before I did.

2017 swiss hike 250.jpgGeoffrey continues working as a software engineer in D.C. so he can have his own health insurance, pay his cell and cable bills and build up balances in his 401K. I am proud to say that all three of our children are thrifty and careful with their money. Geoffrey is close to getting his adult “ticket” punched now because he sees the dentist regularly and has an established internist. He also wears long pants to work, works out consistently, sends thank you notes, and attends church without his mother having to remind him. If I could get him to iron his clothes, I could mark him off on his Adult Scout rank. Geoffrey enjoys hiking and camping in northern Virginia with his friends. He asked for a Dutch oven for Christmas so he could cook over charcoal on campouts. (That’s my boy!)

Mary Catherine’s frosty exploits during our Steamboat Springs trip last Christmas came 2017 christmas (8)to an abrupt end after she broke her elbow in an unfortunate snowmobile accident. She was a trooper, though, and survived orthopedic surgery followed by travel to Paris with an arm in a brace and two pieces of checked luggage. She enjoyed a productive sojourn in Paris for a semester at Sciences Po, a premier political science school attended by many of France’s top public officials. Mary Catherine approached her time abroad with gusto—traveling to several nearby countries during breaks and learning to speak French fluently. From croissants and crepes in Paris to haggis in Scotland, she sampled the local cuisine; she also made some new international friends. It was interesting to hear her observations about the differences in the two universities (Sciences Po and Vanderbilt) and in the two political cultures, particularly as she was fortunate enough to be in France during their presidential election cycle. Apparently, the Trump-Clinton debate had nothing on the energetic discourse between Macron and Le Pen. Due to my daughter’s instruction, I am proud to be one of the few Americans (journalists included) who can properly pronounce Macron’s name.

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In late May, the rest of the family traveled to Paris to ensure Mary Catherine did, in fact, return home. We had a merry adventure in Paris, Normandy and Lucerne, with Mary Catherine translating and serving as our capable tour guide. This was fortunate, since Greg’s fallback technique for communicating with people in foreign countries is to gesture emphatically, point at the menu and speak English slowly and loudly. (For the record, French people smirk at you when you do this.) The boys returned back to the States while Mary Catherine and I toured Austria, visiting both Salzburg (where we sang Sound of Music tunes on a coach with 30 strangers) and Vienna.

Mary Catherine spent the summer studying for the LSAT and taking a statistics course at UAB. For her senior year at Vanderbilt, she decided to write an honors thesis, which, she later informed us, would require her travel to Tunisia so she could interview people about ISIS recruiting techniques. Her dad and I were not too keen on this idea. We said “no.” In spite of this impediment, she is working on her research, using primary sources in Washington, D.C., instead of interviewing Tunisian terrorists. She is also looking for a post-graduation job as a political consultant (at a think-tank or on Capitol Hill) as a prelude to law school.

pavilion
Eagle Pavilion (Will Cook, Project Manager, far left; Rich Pace, Construction Advisor, far right)
pavilion 2
Rich Pace and Will Cook

Will is working hard on his Eagle project, building a pavilion in a local park. When Will presented his project to his advisors, they all told him, “This is a very challenging project.” (His dad and I concur.) Not to be deterred by our expressions of doubt, he forged ahead with his planning and convinced the Eagle Board that he was equal to the task. After three long work days, all that remains is to finish the roof. Greg is already planning to purchase the updated version of the Eagle Scout bumper sticker: “We are proud of our Eagle Scouts.” I am buying my own sticker that reads, “I know how to cut rafters and shingle a roof.” Will is very grateful to all the folks who have helped him in the process, particularly his construction advisor, Rich Pace. (We are sure Rich is happy Will is our final child, as Rich also helped Geoffrey on his Eagle construction project nine years ago.)

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Order of Arrow Ordeal (Will Cook, far left)

Will also received the honor of being selected for the Order of the Arrow, which required a weekend of “ordeal” service.

Blessings to your family in the new year!

Kimberly (for the family: Greg, Geoffrey, Mary Catherine and Will)
gcook1868@gmail.com or gcook@balch.com

 

Beginner’s Guide to Skipping Christmas

Christmas 2016

Sadly, I could not find any evidence, mental or physical, that I ever mailed my 2016 Christmas letter. It is my best recollection that I never sent this to anyone. So, just to cover my bases, I am posting it now, one year later. You can think of it as a Christmas time capsule.

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 8.03.55 AMWe are skipping Christmas this year. As time marches on and family circumstances change, we have the opportunity to “skip” the traditions we don’t like, retain those we do like and construct new traditions to take the place of the ones that no longer fit.

When you skip Christmas, it forces you to take a long, hard look at what practices are meaningful and which ones have gotten tacked onto your tradition like grandma’s Claxton fruitcake that somehow makes it onto the Christmas dessert table every year. (Seriously, who still eats that stuff?) You must analyze what part of your celebration has value and what parts can get shoved to the curb for the Salvation Army pickup.

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Some of my earliest recollections of Christmas are of the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass album playing on the turntable. I remember the Christmas I received a metal dollhouse with plastic furniture. One Christmas, my mother made me a sparkly gold majorette outfit, complete with white go-go boots and a tall hat, adorned with gold braid, made out of an empty white plastic Clorox jug. We watched the Christmas specials (Charlie Brown, Rudolph and others) on TV, and they were only broadcast one time each season. While I don’t have much desire to listen to Herb Alpert any longer, I really wish I still had those go-go boots.


Fast forward to early Christmases with our young family–the anticipation of waiting for Santa, staying up till all hours of the night assembling bikes and other complicated projects, all of which involved feats of engineering too complicated for two people who scored poorly on the spatial reasoning sections of standardized tests. Two families and their traditions merged: Christmas Day bingo, making sugar cookies,Christmas Eve family parties, candlelight services. Our children will some day form their families and their own traditions; they will take remnants of the memories and traditions of their family and their spouse’s family and combine them–just like a fabulous patchwork quilt.

This year is unique. Geoffrey has lived in the D.C. metro area for a whole year, paying for his own car, cell phone and health insurance bill. His trips home for holidays require vacation time and a plane flight to Birmingham. Mary Catherine just finished the first semester of her junior year at Vanderbilt, and will spend her next semester in Paris, studying at Sciences Po (Paris Institute of Political Studies), situated on the Left Bank. Will is half-way through his sophomore year of high school and gets his driver’s license next week. Next year, it will be time to take college road trips with Will. Explaining all of this makes me reflective of how much life is changing. We are at a nexus.

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 8.44.21 AM.pngThis has been a big year of change for me also. Early last year, I decided (rather, Greg convinced me) to run for a seat on the Vestavia Hills City Council. My role as a community advocate over the past years had begun to take more and more of my time. Our community was desirous of a change–they told me they wanted greater transparency and a voice in their local government. After making my decision to declare my candidacy in early spring, I spent many months making connections, raising money, knocking on doors and developing my campaign platform. Through all of it, I felt God’s leading and the support of my neighbors. On the night of the election, I was stunned to find that my cohorts and I had swept the election—winning all the seats on the council. Except for one returning councilor, every seat was held by a candidate who had never before held public office. Through it all, Greg was a trusted advisor and my biggest cheerleader. I was also fortunate to have a great campaign manager and committee.

Greg continues his involvement in many avenues of service—Boy Scouts, church, the Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 8.45.03 AMRepublican party and his work. He will tell you his greatest accomplishment last year was leading a crew into the backcountry of Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico. While it was one of the hardest experiences of his life (right up there with Air Force basic training), he will also tell you it was one of the most rewarding. I was proud of Will and Greg for completing the trek, hiking more than 100 miles, climbing more than 5 miles in elevation and carrying everything they needed for 12 days in a backpack. It was a lesson in teamwork, leadership and independence—something neither Greg nor Will can ever forget.

Screen Shot 2017-12-19 at 8.45.40 AMThis Christmas, we are traveling to Steamboat Springs for some skiing over Christmas. With Geoffrey living so far away, it seemed the best opportunity to spend some family time together in the mountains and snow before we send Mary Catherine off on a plane to France. In a sense, we are “skipping Christmas” because we are trying something new. In another sense, we are holding onto the experiences of worship and family time that are most meaningful.

Whether your family is in transition, has experienced a change or loss or is in the “sweet spot” of building your nuclear family, we wish you joy. In the midst of any change, God is constant and his son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior. Take comfort, regardless of your circumstances, and be grateful.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” [I Thess. 5:14-16]

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” [John 1:5]

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Identity or Ideas: What Will We Defend?

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 11.48.22 PM.pngOn the long drive to and from Nashville to deliver my daughter and all of her belongings to her dorm room at Vanderbilt University, I listened ad nauseum to news reports about what happened in Charlottesville this past weekend. Commentators said the police were not vigilant in stopping the violence and police responded that protestors refused to comply with instructions to ensure their safety; they talked about the clubs people were carrying and how protestors deployed balloons filled with urine to spray reporters and opposing protestors; they discussed how the original intent of the rally was only to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. Sadly, for seven hours, the talking heads and their paid experts went round and round the boxing ring, jabbing at paper-tigers and looking for someone to blame, but they never really got to the heart of the problem: The riot in Charlottesville was not prompted by the removal of a statue, but was the culmination of a political philosophy that has been fermenting for some time now in America–a phenomenon known as identitarian politics.

An identitarian’s ultimate political purpose is to promote his or her own culture, race or social ideology and is “founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups.” [https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-politics/] The identitarian cares more about bolstering his or her own image than in affecting positive social or political change. The movement, which first emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century, has experienced a recent, strong revival in Europe and is often associated with fascism. In America, this resurgent ideology has been translated to the epithet “white supremacy,” from which it is a short hop, by the liberal media, to conservatism. Surprisingly, both right and left apologists acknowledge this tactic is a blight to rational and productive debate and that both sides are guilty of its use.

From the right:

“Which is why identity politics — after decades of polluting our minds — now feels so wrong. We finally wised up. Identity politics preaches a splintering of one large collaborative group into competing vindictive ones — resulting in new angry tribes whose central thesis is to NOT cooperate. Because cooperation is a sign that you are violating their religion of separateness. In the American “melting pot,” identity politics wants to smash that pot — to bring us back to the Dark Ages, when collaboration was sparse.” [Identity politics: the biological fraud; by Greg Gutfeld]

And, from the left:

“Identity politics of this sort leads us, when confronted with a social conflict, to ask a familiar question: ‘What’s the politically progressive position on this?’ This approach to social issues betrays a troubling narcissistic displacement: rather than analyze the social issue on its own merits, the political identitarian uses the issue as a way to assert his own persona. At worst, the social stakes of the issue are just a means to the end of his self image—what matters is what his position on the issue says about him.” [Political Identity as Identity Politics; Richard Thompson Ford]

When taken to the extreme for any group, identitarian politics results in monolithic positions that are unproductive and degenerate into verbal rock-throwing. Speakers on both ends of the political spectrum do a lot of speaking but not a lot of listening–because listening might require a change of position that would threaten the group’s identity.

What if politics became less about people (one’s idols, statues or favorite team) and more about ideas? What if we had monuments to ideas–the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, the Federalist Papers–instead of people: Would we be tearing those down too?

Until political discourse becomes more about ideas and less about your ancestors, where you grew up or what news station you watch, we will remain stuck in the political quagmire that we see displayed in Congress. Some say the ultra-left are responsible for the emergence of the ultra-right (and visa versa). Is this stark division reversible or have we returned forever to the time of skins and clubs, where the strongest and meanest survive? We need to return to the foundational principle that we are a people who use productive, civil speech to build a better republic. If not, we create our own destiny, which is the kind of violence we saw in Charlottesville last weekend.

Social Graces

tin-can-11I am at a wedding reception, enjoying the company. I see a friend dancing with her son, the groom. A guest, one of my long-time friends, tells me about her son making the dean’s list at Auburn. An acquaintance approaches and tells me about a great charity that will help her son obtain an experimental medical treatment–I gladly make a donation. I walk over to join a small group laughing over their goofy mistakes navigating the new online school registration system. A friend and I begin a conversation about a concern she had about sharing some sensitive information in the registration process.

Then, suddenly, a woman I have never seen before approaches the group. She slaps my face, calls me a fool and a liar and then waits for my reaction. I blink, stunned.

I spend a minute or two crafting my scathing and clever response, but then one by one backspace over each letter. I delete her comment and take a deep breath. There are some advantages of social media over real life interactions.

LPM Curriculum Meeting Minutes

meeting-minutes

Notes from Liberty Park Middle Curriculum Information Meeting

  • 2017 May 18, 8:30am
  • Prepared by: Kimberly Cook

[These notes are my personal notes and paraphrase of comments made at the meeting. I also recorded the meeting, so if anyone has particular questions about the discussion, you can inquire.]

Elective Courses Overview:

  • 2008-2009: offered Art, Band, Choir, Spanish
  • 2016-2017: added Family and Consumer Science

Note: Career Prep A / Digital Photography were offered in 2016-2017, but they did not have success in getting enough students enrolled–2 or 3 at most—so the class did not “make.”

  • 2017-2018: French, German and Coding were added to course offerings.
  • LPM will continue to offer these courses each year; at some point, we hope they will have enough numbers to “make” the course.

Roger Dobnikar, LPM Asst. Principal: LPM contacted Central Office with the numbers that signed up for French and German and they were instructed to let those parents know that, due to the number who signed up, these courses will only be offered online with a person in the room with them (facilitator), but not with an actual teacher of the language. Parents were offered the option to drop back to their child’s second option. That is why those parents received a letter.

For Coding, there was not a second option, so parents did not receive a letter; the school automatically went to the second option on the student’s course card.

Dobnikar reviewed the process used for choosing electives:

  • Current 6th and 7th grade students went over course cards in a meeting on May 1 and Mr. Dobnikar explained options for electives.
  • Parent and student signatures are required on the card.
  • For 7th and 8th grade, course descriptions sent home and posted on website so conversation could continue at home.
  • Courses were explained in a video and in meetings with students.

Q: Many students chose Robotics as their first choice for Lancer Period; how many slots will be made available for the club?

A: Everyone should be able to get their first choice; the school will expand the opportunity to meet the need

Q:[Jennifer Weaver] Could you address the advantages of taking some of the electives?

A: Discussion ensued regarding foreign languages:

  • The middle school foreign language program takes one year (Level I) and divides it into a two-year program
  • Taking the Level I course in middle school allows students to start Level II foreign language in 9th grade; it also opens another slot in grades 9-12 to take another elective course
  • Students do not receive a Carnegie unit for the middle school Level I course, but it prepares them for Level II in grades 9-12 and gives them a headstart in that foreign language

Q: [Stacy Hurst] How will scheduling be handled when 8th and 9th grade are together, with the 8th grade 7-period schedule and the 9th grade 8-period schedule?

A: [Jane-Marie Marlin, Asst. Superintendent] These are long-term decisions we are not prepared to make right now.

Q: What will the schedule be like for 9th grade in Fall 2019?

A: [Marlin] Students would have the same schedule as what is in other high school grades; can’t answer about how 7th-8th grade schedules will change at this time.

Q: Why can’t students be allowed two electives, instead of just one?

A: [Marlin] This option was carefully considered (“explored deeply”) in the task force that studied middle school scheduling earlier this year. The group concluded this would create a more stressful environment for students, having an additional graded course.

Q: [Sarah Brown] What are the advantages of taking Career Prep A in middle school?

A: [Marlin] Career Prep A is required by the state for graduation; A is computer skills-based and B centers on financial literacy. There is some discussion that, with offering Career Prep A in middle school, Career Prep B may be embedded in another subject in 9th-12th.

Career Prep A and B are offered in summer school also, but there is a fee. Rising 9th grade students are eligible to take summer school courses this summer.

A parent pointed out that if someone starts a foreign language in 7th grade, they can’t take Career Prep A in 8th grade.

Q: Why is Career Prep A paired with Digital Photography?

A: [Dobnikar] Digital Photography was the only semester course that was an option to pair with Career Prep A.

Q: What if a student wants Career Prep A and 3D Art?

A: [Dobnikar] We would not have the teacher availability to do both.

Mr. Munger discussed how the goal of the VHHS 8-period day change was to eliminate the need to take summer courses and provide more flexibility and opportunity for elective courses.

A parent suggested it would be helpful to invite parents of students in lower grades to participate in curriculum nights at VHHS so parents and students can have a better understanding of how early curriculum choices in middle school can affect their path in high school.

A parent encouraged people to sign up for daily email blasts from VHHS to start receiving important information about summer school, etc.

Q: [Weaver] Would offering foreign language (first year) to 8th grade help LPM achieve the numbers needed to “make” a course? Jennifer encouraged the central office to look at numbers from a different perspective and provide opportunities for students, even though the numbers are lower at LPM.

Q: [Stacy Hurst] It was stated a student cannot change languages in middle school or take a first-year middle school foreign language course in 8th grade; why?

A: [Brooke Izurieta, LPM Spanish teacher] explained you need both years to qualify for the next language level in high school. She explained that first-year language in middle school is an introduction, whereas the second year is more reading and writing.

Discussion ensued about the value of taking a language course to “try it out” before committing to a long-term course of study in that language.

Q:  LPM has less than half the number of students compared to Pizitz Middle. If 15 is the number required to “make” a course, shouldn’t the board consider offering the class to LPM students at a lower threshold, to compensate for the lower student enrollment at LPM?

A: [Marlin] The online foreign language delivery method was never was just going to be about sitting in front of a screen. She discussed a “blended” experience, perhaps with some high school students coming in to assist.

A parent commented that online vs. live teacher is obviously a very different experience.

Q: Can we offer a unified arts approach for language? [rotating through various languages]

A: [Kacy Pierce, LPM Principal] We currently don’t have the teachers for that.

Q: [Joanna Rumbley] What is it going to take to get French/German off the ground? Students are staying away from foreign language because they heard it was going to be a video. In order to achieve equity, both schools need to be treated as one student body, both in Fall 2019 and now. The LPM community pays the same tax dollars as everyone else, but we are not being provided the courses. [applause]

Marlin said it is the intent, when 9th grade is added, that courses will be held to the same standards. If it is a Carnegie Unit course, we absolutely will offer it.

Q: Then, why is there currently a different analysis for LPM compared to PM [in regard to numbers in a class]?

A: [Marlin] Whatever we currently have at the high school we will have in Fall 2019.

Kimberly Cook made the statement that obviously students/parents do not consider an online course to be equivalent or of the same value as a foreign language taught with a teacher in classroom. You can see that from the way the enrollment numbers dropped from 6 to 2 and from 5 to 1 in French and German when parents were notified the class would be online.

A: [Marlin] Once we have all the changes in, the board will revisit the decision.

Q: What about the rotating schedule?

A: It is the desire of the faculty to continue the practice because it is best for students. This creates potential problems with teacher-sharing. [My observation: It will be difficult to teacher-share unless the schedules are identical.]

Marlin said they would have to be creative in designing the 9th grade schedules.

Q: Is there a plan in place to choose the people who will administrate the change?

Q: What will happen with the handful of students who take French/German using the online program in the first year if we add a teacher for second year?

A: They will transfer to the live teacher.

Kimberly Cook encouraged parents and students to make their elective choice, before the change deadline, with the assumption that the foreign language class would be offered by a teacher in the classroom. This is the only way to ensure that the board can properly assess the level of interest. She asked that this be communicated to parents and students by the school. Mr. Dobnikar indicated it would be shared.