Sutherland for Schools blog
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:
Thanks to CIA for locating the final list of IR schools for 2017-18 (listed at CIAFWISD.blogspot.com). Last year we had 4 elementary schools and 1 middle school.
A reader asked for my take on the latest STAAR tests.
We hear a lot of complaints about our health care costs--not only the out-of-pocket costs but the co=pays. A new education blog, The74Million.org, reports that Los Angeles Unified is spending $2,300 per student, on health care. We spend about $300 per staff member.
Sounds like we have problems already. These comments were from previous posts:
I am a former 4th grade teacher on the northside. My colleague submitted to your blog as well. I bet you can guess what school we represent. In will get right to it. The special ed teacher that was supposed to provide specialized instruction (14 times last year when she was present on campus but was told by the administration to cover other classes -two examples - 5th grade teacher was out and a sub did not show, movie in the auditorium for teacher appreciation day). Is this not illegal? I had IEPs telling me the number of minutes of specialized instruction needed but my IEP students were expendable so that the Title 1 and special ed teacher could be elsewhere covering for subs or other events? We are lucky Oakhurst parents did not know about this because they could cause legal issues.
We have Special ed and Tital 1 teachers covering recess and CafeteriaDuty. Should these teachers be getting their act together to cover the times on student IEPs? (Making their schedules, attending meetings) One student IEPsays specialized instruction in Math for I believe 30 minutes but the person that is suppoesed to cover this is covering recess. Is not this illegal? If an IEP states times, should not this be followed as soon as possible? Would the Principal be in violation of the law if the special ed teacher and title 1 teachers are forced to cover other areas? My grade level chair has a student needing 30 minutes too. I cannot believe that this would be allowed. This week is not a prep week. I am to enter grades and lesson plans. Why are special ed students expendalve on the North Side Elementary Schools?
Dr. Washington reported late yesterday that there are no excessively large classes and that the EOC classes (as of yesterday) exist only in five high schools. Here are the numbers as of Monday 8/13:
I received this truly shocking comment. Making teachers manage study halls?
With talk of record-keeping, lesson plans, grades, etc. . . . . This is unthinkable.
I am asking Dr. Scribner for explanation and will post what I learn.
Hello Dr. Sutherland - As I am sure you know the new 8 period day for high
school requires that we all have Enrichment Classes (a type of study hall??). Anyways I have over one hundred students in two of these classes and must therefore meet in the library of our school for those class periods (on top of 5 full classes of English). I hope that you can investigate this matter, as many other teachers are having classes to large to fit in their classroom. I have also heard that we will be required to do some sort of teaching/curriculum and grades. If this is true it adds another 100+ students to my workload which will cause me hours and hours and hours of extra work. I hope that you can help us teachers, 2018-2019 is going to be a rough year.