New Council Rock group emerges from last year’s budget debates

Jack Firnenothe Wire

Council Rock parents have a lot to think about when the school year begins: a new superintendent beginning his term, an upcoming school board election with three contested seats, whether or not German will be taught in all the middle schools, if all-day kindergarten is a possibility.

And, that’s all on top of the usual back-to-school considerations like class supply lists and bus pickup and drop-off times. It’s more than usual this year, but fortunately there’s a new resource to help moms and dads keep tabs on it all.

Council Rock Parents is a relatively new group, at least by this name, and essentially it’s just a Facebook page for now. But, it’s one where more than 1,000 parents get two or three posts a day featuring updates and announcements from various schools in the district, general education articles and information on parent-related resources in the area.

“We want to see as many parents engaged as possible. School districts are better off when parents are engaged,’ said Amy McIntyre. “Everyone should be a part of that conversation.”

McIntyre is the force behind the group, and first became a part of that conversation last school year. When the district announced plans to close Wrightstown Elementary, the school her preschool-aged children would soon attend, she became a vocal opponent and teamed up with other parents to help influence the school board’s eventual decision to keep the school open.

During that time, the group Council Rock Parents started out as Save Wrightstown and then eventually became Save Council Rock as the school board considered closing Richboro Middle School and weighed other budget-related proposals throughout the year.

But those titles represented just one small part of the Council Rock experience and, according to McIntyre, were often misunderstood.

“We meant ‘save’ in the fiscal sense, as in to save money,” she explained. “But a lot of people were interpreting it as meaning ‘rescuing.’ ” And, she pointed out, “Council Rock is not a district that needs saving.”

In fact, the district played a large role in McIntyre and her husband moving to the area in 2008. And, while she was a vocal opponent of some of the school board’s proposals, McIntyre is ultimately appreciative of what Council Rock has to offer and wants to help maintain those benefits.

Of course, she’s not alone in her mission: Council Rock Parents exists alongside a number of well-established groups like the Council Rock Education Foundation and Citizens for Education. McIntyre said Council Rock Parents functions as a hub for information and resources that come from those groups as well.

And, as the school year begins and issues like redistricting or the school board election move to the forefront of people’s minds again, McIntyre plans for Council Rock Parents to explore those issues and advocate solutions.

It’s a goal she’s already begun working toward, starting with a recent two-hour one-on-one conversation with incoming superintendent Dr. Robert Fraser. They talked about his experience in the West Chester School District, she recounted, along with issues like the roles and uses of new technology in schools and potential redistricting.

“It was a very nice conversation,” said McIntyre. “He’s tremendously busy right now, but still took the time to talk to me about the district.”

It’s the kind of news she likes to disseminate through her group. Ultimately, she said, “It’s a way to further establish Council Rock’s cultural identity.”

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