The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Pottstown Back to Backing Five Grade Schools – Update

Just an update post, and some links to the local articles…

Schools Debate gets Personal

After 14 months of debate, and almost as many proposals for the future of elementary education considered, it’s understandable that the nerves of Pottstown School Board members might be a bit frayed.

School Board Behaves like Children, but Fails to Lead on their Behalf

The motives of Pottstown parents, community advocates and the school board are said to be “for the children,” but this town’s behavior, though childish, has little to do with what’s best for kids.

In what can only be described as a three-ring circus, the Pottstown School Board on Thursday reversed course for the third time, rescinding with a 5-4 vote its November decision to consolidate elementary education into three buildings and return to the concept of keeping all five elementary schools.

Articles as published in the Pottstown Mercury. See story links for full details…

Pottstown Back to Backing Five Grade Schools

Didn’t we finally beat this thing to death? Isn’t it time to give it a rest? Apparently not… But just in case your still wondering, our illustrious school board voted again… Why does it take a 4-hour meeting to review things that have been solved and voted on already?


Evan Brandt, The Pottstown Mercury:
February, 20th 2009

After four hours of debate, accusations and passionate advocacy on both sides of the thorny issue of configuring elementary education in Pottstown, the decision was made to do nothing

The decision came after nearly three hours of public comment from 41 of the more than 200 people who packed the middle school auditorium.

An unofficial Mercury tally of those comments put the ratio of those opposed to the plan that featured converting Edgewood Elementary School into an early learning center at two against to every single speaker in favor.

The Pottstown School Board capped the public comment with a muddled debate of their own — a debate that even included references to what God would want and that also  required frequent intervention by the board solicitor to ensure that everyone knew what they were voting on.

And once the voting began, with a 5-4 vote — a vote accompanied by the applause of parents of Edgewood students who had turned out in force (and in red t-shirts) — the board abandoned all current school consolidation and renovation plans.

Specifically, the board rescinded its November action to close Rupert and Barth elementary schools, convert Edgewood into an early learning center and educate grades 1 through 5 in renovated and expanded Franklin and Lincoln schools.

That vote was followed by another, this one inexplicably unanimous, to keep all five neighborhood elementary schools and for them tho maintain the traditional grade configuration.

Can we finally call it quits, unlikely…

But I think the 3+ hours of public comment and over 200 people that showed up to the meeting tell you something. I think it’s so clear a deaf person could hear it, but just incase you misunderstood the comments, allow me to translate.


There, I feel much better now!!!

For my further distaste of this issue see my post I need my edumacation…

Orientation and Mobility: Escalators & Elevators (Mall Navigation)

Well it was raining and cold outside so today’s lesson was again at the local mall. So that is where Elaine and I headed today, a bit puzzled as to what she possibly may have me do.

Mobility instructors like to play pretend to educate and prepare there students for the next step, and it is kind of fun. So today Elaine played the role of a bus or Paratransit, which ever you would prefer.

With instructions and a task for me to do. The task was to be dropped off ALONE at the main entrance to the mall (an area where a bus would normally stop), enter, and make my way to Borders Books… ask the clerk for a book price, and if it was in, (sorry I forget the name of the book.)… Navigate out, and threw the mall, and meet Elaine at Friendly’s and the entrance to Boscov’s…

So off I set on my mall adventure. Not hard you think, but you must remember, I’m not use to being alone in such a large place, I’m always with friends, family, or mom. This time it was up to me, to navigate myself it’s a bit nerve-racking .


I navigated myself threw Dick’s Sporting Goods, (the main entrance), then into the mall… located Borders Books (only a short walk from Dick’s.) and I entered the book store. A nice clerk asked me right away if I needed help finding something, so I asked about the book and got the information Elaine asked for.

The first task complete, I exited and set off for Friendly’s all the way on the other side of the mall. Our local mall is not huge, but it was a good walk away. I had to navigate some steps and make a turn to head near Friendly’s, thankfully it was not crowded at 2PM on a Wednesday afternoon. I did know where I was going, after all this IS our local mall…. And there was Elaine waiting for me… (Sorry no ice cream though!)…

The lessons second half took place in Boscov’s, at the steps… We reviewed cane step technique. We then talked about escalators, and noted how the steps move, and the sounds they make.

EscalatorHere come them blinder glasses again… Elaine lead me around the store a bit using sighted guide technique to “get me lost“… and we approached the escalators again… by sound I knew we were close… Feel the rail she says, it’s pulling away, extend the cane and feel it catch the moving steps and how it pulls away; lift-click, lift-click, lift-click, as it lifts the cane. We must be going to head up… We did… Cool!

Now we walk around a bit again to confuse me, remember with the blinder glasses I cannot see at all. We approached the escalator again, feel the rail, it’s pulling away… we know at least it’s not the down escalator or it would be “pushing” us not “pulling“… I extend the cane to feel it catch the moving steps and how it pulls away; pull-tap, pull-tap, pull-tap… wait a minute, something’s different…

Elaine explained that sound and the LIFT of the cane is the key… Either escalator will pull you on, but how do you know if you are going upstairs or downstairs, escalator on-platforms are flat… Going up you’ll hear the pronounced CLICK as the cane LIFTS AND DROPS on each step. For a down escalator you will hear more of a TAP then a click, and the cane won’t be lifted, just be pulled… A eureka moment for sure! We went up and down a few more times, with no trouble.

The elevator lesson was very short. Only to mention that most elevators beep or chime for each floor you are on, and to count the beeps to determine what floor you’re on. Since our Boscov’s only has three floors, counting the roof parking, we will need to review this lesson in a bigger building and a better functioning elevator.

With tasks complete, I was told to navigate back threw the mall again, alone, but this time meet Elaine at TGI Friday’s… And while I’m at it, stop in, and ask for a take-out menu. So off I set. – Not many problems, I made one tiny wrong turn, but realized it right way, and made it OK. Popped in, asked for a menu, and met Elaine at the door. – Be noted, I didn’t care for inside Friday’s it’s kind of dark, and bar like, I dislike dark restaurants, it’s even harder for me to see.

compusI then navigated AGAIN back threw the mall to Dick’s Sporting Goods to meet Elaine, and we left… In all this lesson went well, and Elaine says I am picking things up very fast. With hopefully nicer weather next week, we will do more street work, as that is where I still need the most help.

As for roaming the mall by my self, my comfort level was around a 3 out of 5, even though it was our local mall, I am still not use to navigating large places by my self. We will work on this. Elaine says we just need a bigger mall! – Oh joy! Yes it’s true, we do have the King of Prussia Mall here in PA, and it’s the largest shopping mall on the East Coast of the United States… Crap… – Well, at least there is an Apple Store in there!

Till next time! Please as always feel free to leave your comments!