So, Countryside, what do you want?
For more than a month now, there's been lots of talk about the possibility of new academic programs at Countryside High but almost no comment from parents or teachers there.
When the Pinellas school district held a forum at Countryside two weeks ago, at least a couple hundred students and parents from Palm Harbor University High came to protest the possibility of Palm Harbor's IB program being moved to Countryside. But as far as we can recall, nobody from Countryside said a word.
On the flip side, some say, it seems that nobody until recently has directly asked anybody at Countryside what they want. "There's really no communication going on, and that's unfortunate," Linda Serim, a PTSA vice president at Countryside, told The Gradebook.
Serim was the only Countryside PTSA official who responded to emails yesterday from The Gradebook. PTSA President Rachel Prescott is a teacher at the school.
Serim, who has two children at Countryside, isn't sure exactly what kind of new program the school needs (besides IB, the possibility of a CAT has surfaced). But given its D grade, it needs something, she said: "It needs a boost in the arm."
And, Serim continued, somebody somewhere should be asking students, parents and teachers for input.
At last Thursday's school board workshop, member Linda Lerner asked if anyone had talked to the Countryside community. Principal Gary Schlereth sent an email to teachers that night, saying Superintendent Julie Janssen's office wanted feedback from faculty regarding a proposed IB program.
But why aren't more Countryside parents speaking up on their own?
"I think everybody's overwhelmed. The squeaky wheel gets noticed," Serim said. "I think most of the people at Countryside are satisfied with the status quo and they don't realize how much better it could be" with an attractor like IB or CAT.
"In this day and age," she continued, "you have to have something."