Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday, March 5, 2007

50 Ways To Spend Your Conference

I think we need to get as many school teachers as possible to attend and shed light on what they will be "forced" to give up. I think the key word is FORCED... not refuse. My proposal for the next school board meeting is to get as many teachers as possible to stand in front of the school board and say "I am Carla Crabapple and I teach blah blah blah at Blank high school. Because of Ms. Elias decision I will be forced to give up Blank club and I will no longer be able to volunteer for _ _ _ _". Next teacher stands up... "My name is .." I think this is a strong strategy and will prevent us from sounding like a broken record. What do you all think of this idea ?

This deserves its own posting. Let's use it as a good starting point.
I'm not sure about the word "forced". May I suggest that the approach be something like:

"I will have to make some unpleasant but necessary choices. Like any company, organization or family, priorites must be established in order to function efficiently and effectively. We have not been asked for our input in this matter so we are here seeking DIRECTION from those who made the decision without us."

Let the district tell us what is important and set our priorities.

When parents ask us why we are unable to do something (that they have come to expect or take for granted) we can phrase our response in a non-accusitory but truthful "I'm really sorry but there just isn't enough time to do what we did last year with only 1 conference period this year."

A teacher spoke to the board and had the statistics and breakdown of how he spent his conference time. It was great!

When the Southern Association of Colleges gets wind of this I can't help but wonder if our school's accreditation comes into question.

Lets start listing those things we do during our conference time. Things like:

Prepare for between 1 and 3 classes/labs.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Meeting With District Representatives: Report

Got this from "Carla" - apparently on the "Front Lines"
post-worthy indeed
hope you don't mind my edits CC

"I'd like to share some info from a meeting held with the superintendent's "reps"...cause you know... it would be impossible for the woman to represent herself!
The 300 mins was placed in our contract back in 1985. Back then, classes were 60 mins not 50 mins. Well you do the math... 60 x 5 gives your 300 mins! It has been explained to me that in 1985 the union (
association) decided to use the "minutes" terminology instead of period terminology because they were fearful that the district would try to increase the minutes of the period therefore shafting the teachers. No one every thought the district would be stupid enough to increase the 5 periods! We discussed this with the "reps" and a teacher who used to work in Pasco suggested the 5/6 plan that Pasco is using. This keeps the 50 mins for the students and it keeps the 5 periods for us. The response from the district "rep" was... uhhh... well in today's educational society there are too many students taking intensive reading and math classes and because of that all of your electives would be virtually wiped out!
Well the reality is... most intensive reading and math students don't have a large impact on academic elective enrollment anyways!! Certainly not AP electives and honors electives. Perhaps we could look more into what is going on in Pasco and find out more details as a possible solution?

Another teacher asked the district "rep" what other counties around the state where doing since we all have budget problems. There response was... uhhh... well we haven't had much time yet to do the research however we know that the Pasco schedule is not an option and that you wouldn't be happy teaching there!!!
If you have contacts with other teachers in other districts I think it would be useful to start talking with them to find out what's going on in their district."

Once again it is apparent that no one is thinking this through. I'd like to hear from Sam Whitten - the District's statistics guru- after he's looked for any correlation between time in class and grade improvement. Can we look at the stats from 1985 to the present? Seems to me if time in class were so darned important we'd all be on block scheduling. Can we survey our graduates and ASK them if they would have been happier with more time or less time. Businesses are forever asking me if I was happy with my experience. I can't get my car worked on or buy something from eBay without being asked for feedback.
I find it revealing that the district representative would tell anyone that they wouldn't be happy working in Pasco County. To paraphrase "Cartman": "I'll work where I want!"
Better hope Pasco doesn't get wind of this backhand - it could be their best recruiting tool.
I'm also concerned that nobody has looked around the state for options. Are we that superior? Can it be that we are competing for "bonus money" for implimenting a flawed program first? As my grand-dad used to say "Folla the dolla".

Friday, March 2, 2007


This blog has been designed to give the teachers and employees of the Hillsborough County School District an outlet to vent, rant, and most importantly share information and suggestions about Superintendent Elia's plan to increase the number of teaching periods from 5 to 6 periods a day.

We are not under the constraints of our school board's 2 minute warning. We are not under the constraints of the district's email guidelines and its interpretations.

Your use of an electronic mail account constitutes your agreement that you will not:
* Violate the conditions of the Education Code dealing with student rights to privacy.
* Use profanity, obscenity, or other language that may be offensive to another user.
* Use District Email for personal, political or editorial uses.

* Use District Email for financial gain or for any commercial or activities legal or illegal.
* Copy commercial software or other copyright protected material in violation of copyright laws.
The District reserves the right to terminate any account, which it believes, in its sole discretion, is transmitting SPAM and unauthorized bulk Email. The District considers SPAM and unsolicited bulk e-mail a serious misuse of District resources. Infractions will be reported to Professional Standards.

We will display a professional and unemotional resistance to this attempt at forcing an ill-advised change upon us. We will offer thoughtful solutions and alternatives to this $28 million dollar+ albatross that is being hung around our neck. We will post legal and workable ideas for a district who is ignoring the input of its employees. A district that can't get the buses to show up on time and call in expensive consultants when all they really needed was to ask the drivers! SDHsheesh! (can't take credit for that one). When the district's workload gets unmanageable THEY hire more support staff. Ever walk through the upsidedown pyramid? Notice departments being moved to other buildings?

We will - above all - display a political strength that this district has not seen since the 60's! An election is on the horizon, the anger that seethes among us will be a POSITIVE driving force.

Don't expect CTA to do anything. They want your membership dollars FIRST. There is no guarantee they'll grow 'nads for us. Quite frankly, management loves it when labor argues among themselves so let's focus on MANAGEMENT. There is time enough for the association- unless you know "something" about any collusion. ;>/

This is the teacher's lounge, the hallway, or the mail room. Throw your ideas against "The Wall". Sign you name or not: speak out!

"All in all we're NOT another brick in the wall". Pass this address around.


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