Drew Central Keeps 4th Teacher for Remainder of School Year After Parents Voice ConcernsJanuary 26th, 2012 by Mandy Moss
Many concerned 5th grade parents attended this month’s Drew Central School Board meeting to ask the Board to keep on the fourth teacher that had recently been added to the faculty. In response to the parents and the public, Superintendent Wayne Fawcett gave MLive this statement:
“I have decided to leave in place, for the remainder of the second semester, a fourth certified position in the 5th grade. At this juncture I do not feel that it would be fair to the students to disrupt their schedule.”
Miscommunications at Drew Central Leave 5th Grade Parents Angry and Concerned
Jan. 13, 2012
Allison Denton represented numerous 5th grade parents, with a combined 21 students, during Drew Central School Board’s regular meeting Thursday evening.
Denton stated to the board that her child, and many other 5th grade students, had been physically ill during the entire first semester of school due to stress caused by overly-crowded classrooms.
According to Mrs. Denton, students went from 4th grade with 4 teachers, to 5th grade with 3 teachers, which meant the class sizes were now up to approximately 27 students.
“We understand that is in compliance with the state guideline…” Denton explained, but went on to say that teachers were yelling and/or crying in class towards the students due to the constant stress and demands. Children began having physical symptoms from stress and anxiety such as not being able to sleep at night, or falling asleep right after school, stomachaches, headaches, crying, and other issues.
Mrs. Denton also stated that learning issues were being demonstrated by her child and other 5th grade students. She explained that Learning Institute Data showed that students were not on target in Math as compared to where they were last year and literacy was the worst as far as grades for students. The Children were said to have had good grades in 4th grade.
“We think the number one contributing factor to this problem was class size.” – Denton
Mrs. Denton went on to explain that 26% of these students have special needs as documented in IEP(Individualized Education Plan) and 504 Plan (section 504 of American Disabilities Act) “We indicated that we needed an additional teacher.”
Mrs. Denton stated that the complaints were heard during a meeting on November 30, 2011 with Principal Graham and 5th grade teachers. She said that a meeting was also held with Superintendent Wayne Fawcett on the same day. Mrs. Denton claims that on December 6, 2011, an administrator (that she did not wish to name) informed her that hiring a fourth teacher for the 5th grade had been approved and the teacher would begin after Christmas break.
Once students returned to school after Christmas break, Mrs. Denton explained that they were redistributed amongst four teachers, just as the administrator had told her they would be.
“Tuesday afternoon I was informed by an administrator that there never was a 4th classroom teacher hired, that this was a mistake. She [the new teacher] is to be used as an intervention tutor; she cannot be a homeroom teacher.” – Denton
“The one week the teacher was there, children improved dramatically. Not waking up at night, no more stress about school. Learning improved, morale improved… students that were flunking tests were bringing home 95% scores.” – Denton
Mrs. Denton said that it had been explained to her that it was believed by the administration that the said teacher was not certified, however, Mrs. Denton said evidence could be produced to show she is.
It is believed by Denton and other 5th grade parents that the issue is simply financial. The teacher was hired for one salary, and in order to make her a full time teacher, the salary would need to be increased.
According to Denton, $12,740 would afford the district to hire the new teacher as full-time, for the 100 remaining school days. She said that it would cost $160 per day for full time teacher pay, plus benefits, and would equal $202.40 a day.
“If we take 21 students out of this district, the state funding formula for enrollment would mean the district would lose approximately $129,000.” – Denton
Superintendent Wayne Fawcett told MLive that the board is taking the expressed concerns under advisement and that, “The Board is not involved in assigning classes. Principals for each school decide that.”
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