July 31, 1996
Ms. Pat Winebrenner, President
Black Mountain Kiwanis Club
PO Box 491
Black Mountain, NC 28711
Re: The Kiwanis Terrific Kids Task Force Report
Dear Ms. Winebrenner:
We want to thank the Black Mountain Kiwanis Club again for responding to our September 1995 request by setting up the Terrific Kids Task Force to review the program and the concerns we raised. On July 15, we met to review the Task Force's final report.
With 41% of the 500 respondents expressing either disfavor or reservations about the program, the Report confirms that our concerns are shared by many parents in schools well beyond the valley.
Attached we have provided for your consideration our analysis and response to the Report. We recognize that most of our criticisms of the Report reflect the Task Force's limited time and lack of staff. Given those constraints, it is our conclusion that the Task Force served its purpose well as a first step by documenting that there are significant problems with the Kiwanis Terrific Kids program.
Based on the results of the Report, we strongly suggest that the Black Mountain Kiwanis Club recommend to Kiwanis International that a statement be sent to all participating schools outlining the Task Force results and recommending a suspension of the program until an objective, independent evaluation of the program is completed. The evaluation should be commissioned by Kiwanis International.
We feel it is our responsibility as parents not to participate in the TK program until it is reİdesigned to ensure that children are not hurt. In the coming year, our families would participate in a pilot program of the Kind Caring Kids proposal outlined in the Report. Or, if the professional evaluation of TK is initiated and if the program is modified to include 100%İawarded, random selection, and improved communication, we would participate in TK during the year of the review.
We are concerned that the Black Mountain Kiwanis Club seems to take ownership of the "Terrific Kids" name but does not accept accountability for the program's design or quality control. It also appears that the Black Mountain Kiwanis Club is satisfied simply with distributing the survey reports. Given the real pain a substantial number of children are experiencing, as confirmed by the Report, this response is inadequate.
We know that Kiwanis began this program over ten years ago with the best of intentions. After such a time, any program of this nature warrants a comprehensive program evaluation.
We agree that in the end, it is the school's decision whether or not to implement the program. But that fact should not release Kiwanis, locally or internationally, from paying close attention to the substance of what is being sponsored in Kiwanis' name and with Kiwanis' support.
To date, we have not shared our concerns with the wider public because we think it would be more effective for Kiwanis to take the initiative. But, without Kiwanis' vigorous attention to the implications of the Task Force Report, we will need to alert as many schools as possible to the problems and to give support to the many families that are suffering in silence.
One parent, new to our group, told us at our recent meeting she had assumed that her child simply didn't measure up and wasn't "terrific." Now she says, she realizes how hurtful the program can be. Too many children and families are being hurt for this report to be halfİheartedly distributed with a mere hope that corrections will be made. Moreover, the corrections suggested in the Report are not well developed and have not been professionally reviewed.
Please let us know as soon as possible what recommendations the Black Mountain Kiwanis Club will make to area principals and to Kiwanis International. Thank you.
Robin Bright, Russell Bright, Bette Bates, David Blanchard-Reid, Emily Blanchard-Reid, Helen Campbell, Cindy Costan, Butch Freeman, Cecilia Freeman, Kay Gill, Monroe Gilmour, Connie Groves, Gene Groves, Kathy Korth, Paul Korth, Lisa Levya, Fern Martin, David Peele, Harry Petrequin, Katharine Petrequin, Robert Tynes, W. Sterling Schemerhorn, And Others
cc: Mr. Jerry Green, Principal, Black Mountain Primary School
Ms. Donna James, Principal, Black Mountain Elementary School
Ms. Kathy Drake, Principal, W.D. Williams Elementary School
Mr. Bob Washel, Principal, Owen Middle School
click here to view the attached Analysis and Response To The Kiwanis Terrific Kids Task Force Report.