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Drew Central Keeps 4th Teacher for Remainder of School Year After Parents Voice Concerns

January 26th, 2012 by

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.”

17 Responses to “Drew Central Keeps 4th Teacher for Remainder of School Year After Parents Voice Concerns”

  1. Erica Barnard says:

    Thank you Allison for being the 5th grade spokesperson. I pray the board holds our childerns best interest in their hearts & minds while they make their decision.

  2. Angela Chambers says:

    For the record- I feel the first semester was successful. Considering the adverse circumstances, we handled it beautifully. After a summer of dread and fear, we jumped in and did what had to be done. Fifth grade has always been that “year” for kids. Grades drop everywhere. Drew Central is not the exception to that. I won’t lie and say it hasn’t been wonderful to have the smaller class sizes. Twenty-seven students in a single classroom is not ideal, but it can be done. We are, after all, professionals.

  3. T C says:

    Allison did a fabulous job representing the parents last night and a good number of parents showed up to give their support. After the meeting, Mr. Fawcett met with the parents for an extended time and he advised he would leave the classes as they are until Wednesday the 18th by which time he expects to have spoken to the school board members individually and have a response for the parents as to what action will be taken for the remainder of the school year.

    Board members, I urge you to talk with 5th grade parents and hear personal accounts of the troubled year this has been and how drastically better things have become in the short time since four teachers were made available. Talk to the teachers and find out how they feel about it as well. We are asking for additional support for our students and teachers alike.

  4. disgusted says:

    As your child gets older and move to greater grades, the work gets harder. Just because they made As in the 4th does not meant they will make As in the 5th, 6th, etc. When I was in school 23-27 was the norm. Maybe, ppl need to start working with their children at home and maybe some improvement will be shown. Not sleeping at nite and stomach aches lol!! How do you know that is really coming from a large classroom. And maybe the student had a stomach virus. Virus are contagious, it doesn’t matter how large or small a class room is.

  5. 5th grade father says:

    26% have IEP or 504? WOW! My son is one of the ones with a 504. He told us his new teacher was still in college. What’s the deal and why were we not informed about this? Joe, thanks for reporting this. Stay on them and keep us informed!

  6. Emily says:

    Yes, the interest of the children is very important, but if the board does not treat Mrs. Hewitt like an actual teacher (that means actually paying her for what she is doing and has her college degree in), then she will be doing exactly what every other teacher on campus is doing for substitution pay, and that is not fair to her. She was not hired to be a teacher, but was hired to be a tutor, and some administrators took advantage of her and told her she was going to be a teacher, but would still be on sub pay, so if her job title is going to change, then so should her salary. So thank you Allison for pointing out that Mrs. Hewitt is certified and worth the extra $12,000.

  7. Concerned parent says:

    As a parent I would like to know how this grade information was accessed?

  8. K C says:

    I pray that our school get leaders in place, administration, school board, and all that step up and take our children’s best interest to heart. I have also addressed concerns with our children being abused and I was snickered at. I have three children in this school, one of which is disabled and I know that our district has lots of problems but the biggest problem above all others is that our children receive an appropriate education without all the abuse!!!!!

  9. RESIDENT says:

    Thank you Allison for standing up for what you believe in.

  10. Archaeopteryx says:

    None of this is surprising. When you’re paying for two school systems in one district, you can’t afford to pay enough teachers to handle all the students.

  11. just saying says:

    sometimes its hard to tell which are the parents and which are the students…..

  12. Just a Thought says:

    Mrs. Denton is right about needing smaller classes! Why not move one of the fourth grade teachers up, they do not have as many students and all of them are certified to teach fifth grade. As for the students with stomache aches and not sleeping at night, that is ridiculous, parents need to stop making it seem worse than it is. Another thing, Mrs. Hewitt has an education degree for P-4 so she is a real teacher, she is just teaching out of her grade level. One more thing for all of you parents out there, stop taking responsibility for your childs actions, let them take their on responsibility. Your children are not as innocent as they seem and that is ok, that is what being a child is like, but when you stand up for them by coming at a teacher what are you really showing your child? That mommy and daddy will come to the rescue even if your child is in the wrong.

  13. irritated 2 says:

    Just a Thought you need to talk what you know about. You have no idea what my child has been through. When my daughter comes home with a headache or stomach ache everyday and completely drained and all she wants to do is go to bed. She has been carried to the doctor. No virus, or infection of any kind, pure & simple anxiety.

    The teachers should be left alone. Four teachers in each grade level regardless of the population. Flip flopping teachers stress teachers & students. Several years ago Drew Central was a good school. My husband graduated from there and so did my oldest child. I’m not so sure I feel the same way any more. The TLI scores & the grades can tell a story that there is a problem in 5th grade. I hope Mr. Fawcett & the school board take careful consideration in making a decision.

  14. walter says:

    Having raised both male and female children I can attest that there is quite a big difference and it most definitely is not a “one size fits all” situation. Many of the girls at this time of their life are already experiencing great changes in their bodies that contribute to dramatic sensitivity and emotional anxiety that they do not understand.

    Any teacher that will hold one of these children up to ridicule in front of the other kids, that will get nearly nose to nose with one of these kids and scream in their face may be trained as a professional, but it is in name only. Any person in any occupation that behaves in this manner is not a professional, if only for that moment in time. I would consider it bullying. There is allegedly a “no tolerence” rule pertaining to this, but perhaps not being inforced at times.

    I can easily see that this type of mental anguish could cause headaches, stomach aches and a desire not to attend school.

    The children involved were making good grades, except in one class only. The kids were happy in school, except in this one class. The parents received study sheets from other teachers to work with their children, except from this one class. When study sheets were requested from this class, the request was denied.

    I see at least one of the problems. I truly hope these issues are properly addressed.

  15. Erica Barnard says:

    Thank you Mr. Fawcett! For the record I would Like to say DC has many wonderful teachers and staff. I would like for everyone to stop bashing them and our school. The problem has been handled.

  16. Other view says:

    Our average middle school size here is 31 students per ONE teacher. Elementary is 24-29 and if you get 24 you are elated. But we can homeschool, dual school, private(if you can afford it). They might need more teacher aides to help in the classes with IEP’s? Remember this when you vote for all positions. I for one am happy to pay more taxes if my kids get a better education, and it allows the school district to attract better teachers.

  17. Concerned says:

    I have a comment regarding class size… It is correct that you can have more than 20 students, but look at the success of students when class sizes are smaller. Many other schools have 16-18 students and this allows for students more one-on-one time, and better classroom management.

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