Sutherland for Schools blog
I don't know if it's worse that the board voted 6-1 for giving attorneys nearly $1 million in general fund dollars to "sell" a bunch of "underused properties" or whether the money would buy fifteen sorely needed teachers, mostly I believe should be for our middle schools. I plan to post the list of "underutilized properties" at the information page of this blog shortly.
We had a particularly ugly scene at Wedgwood Middle School last week, reportedly only the latest of a fairly large number of student disturbances. Two students got into a fight and in the middle of it, one hit the principal.
I'm getting tired of having administrators assert that class size doesn't matter. I received this from a teacher this weekend:
Sorry for the delay in responding. Our liability insurance (since cancelled) says we are on the hook for the first $100K in attorneys fees, and TASB pays the first $1 million in damages. The issue on interest paid to Mr. Palazzolo for the delay in paying him, if there is such a decision, was waived earlier in the process.
Have an anonymous person call Dr. Sheffield, head of Special Ed, at 817-814-2833 and she will call the principal and tell her to stop. This is not in the job requirements of the special ed staff.
instruction for a child specified in their IEP? If all of the other students are receiving instruction why are the special ed students with IEPs not recieving instruction because the SPECIAL ed tecaher is in an ARD? Also, the Speech specialist is in on these ARD meetings during school and she is not providing her services specified legally in the paperwork for her students. She is supposed to provide services but she is not during ARD meetings or speech meetings. Should these meetings need to happen after school to not violate the law?
Dr. Sheffield responds to the request on the number of classroom teachers:
It's beginning to look like this year will focus on special education. I will ask for this information:
Thank you for this information. However, it would be more helpful to know how the positions were allocated to begin with. Of the "47 slots," how many were for certified Special Ed inclusion teachers, how many for Special Ed self-contained classes, then teacher assistants, etc. How many of each type of slot are allocated for elementary, how many for middle, and how many for the neighborhood high schools versus the specialized programs of choice? Also note that dyslexia teachers are not available to the Special Ed students. They serve students under 504 plans. It would help to know the campuses to which these additional teachers have been assigned. Your campus charts under the Information tab showed where cuts were planned. How is the $3 million in new staffing offsetting the cuts?
It's happening again.
I received several complaints earlier this year from individuals who told me the school site special education teachers were being redirected to substitute for missing classroom teachers. I asked for data on this. According to response W002260-0918, the district does not track the data I requested.
State law requires every public school enrolling students who will be 18 by election day to do at least two voter registration sign-ups per year. This year, three FWISD high schools did very well--Arlington Heights 70% of all eligible voters are registered; Benbrook, 61%; and Success 98.18.
A reader writes this very important blog post. I have submitted a request for the names, hire dates and salary of this $3 million budget item for special education. Will post the answer on this blog on 10/1 or 10/2 minus the names (I need the names to make sure the hires are new)
"NEW READERS-- SOME OF US TRIED REPEATEDLY TO SOUND THE ALARM ABOUT NEGATIVE IMPACTS TO SPECIAL ED STUDENTS MONTHS AGO (SEE BELOW). ANN RESPONDED AT THE TIME THAT $3 MILLION WAS BEING ADDED TO THE SPECIAL ED BUDGET. AS USUAL, NOW THAT THE YEAR HAS STARTED, THE SPECIAL ED STAFF IS BEING TOLD THAT RESOURCES ARE NOT AVAILABLE TO PROVIDE FOR THE NEEDS OF THESE STUDENTS. I WOULD THINK THAT OUR LEGAL DEPARTMENT WOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT THESE REPORTS, SINCE THE SPECIAL ED IEPs ARE LEGAL AGREEMENTS COVERED BY FEDERAL LAW. WHEN WE SPOKE BY PHONE WITH BUD KENNEDY OF THE STAR-TELEGRAM, HE SAID HE WOULD NOT "TAKE SIDES," DISMISSING OUR CONCERNS AS AFFECTING ONLY TEACHERS. 1. Underserving Special Education said on 5/30/18 - 08:52AM Ann, it was disappointing to see the lack of discussion at the last Board meeting regarding the secondary staffing cuts. Did you discuss our Special Ed concern reported below in executive session? I repeat the concern, hoping for a more prominent placement on your blog, and more attention to this area: What is the Board doing to address the years-long denial of Special Education services to students who should have qualified for these? (See Houston Chronicle expose and resulting Federal investigation.) The planned secondary staffing cuts are likely to reduce rather than increase services to this population, since the high-academic schools are not subject to cuts and will maintain small class sizes and preferable teacher to student ratios. The neighborhood schools are the ones that serve Special Education students with the Inclusion model. The neighborhood schools are also the ones subject to cuts in teaching staff in the core subjects. FWISD already does a disservice to these students by short-staffing the Special Ed program with usually only one lead Special Ed certified teacher on the larger campuses, and most services actually provided by non-certified, untrained (dedicated though they may be) Teacher Assistants. When you cut the General Education teachers in the core subjects, you plan to give even less attention to the Special Education students mainstreamed into these classrooms through the FWISD Inclusion model. It’s common knowledge that on the secondary campuses, Special Ed Inclusion teachers or assistants are usually only available for part of the class period for English and Math, not even for Science and Social Studies, much less electives or other graduation requirements. So you are already understaffing the core areas, and this current plan will make it worse. 2. Ann replies said on 6/3/18 - 10:12AM The budget has major increases in special education services: 5 FTE for dyslexia and 49 FTEs for Teachers, teacher assistants and other specialized positions for a total of $3.0 million."
We do need to voice some balance here. Looking beyond all the "F" schools mentioned just below, there is some good news: