Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Spanish Teacher -- not at International Middle School -- come on

This just in.... and edited slightly.
Frick's Middle School (in Pgh Public Schools) hosted its PSCC (Parent School Community Council thingie) extra meeting this morning to discuss the Frick action plan for 2006. Before the meeting began, Mr. Walters (principal) announced that the long term sub in Spanish had been pulled and was being sent to Allderdice High School.

The only justification that I can see to pull a language teacher from Frick to send to another (non-international studies) school is if the teacher is being offered a full time contract as opposed to a long-term sub position. I have called and left messages at both the parent hotline and the World Languages Office (Dr. Thekla Fall) to get some clarification on the situation.

When we met with Mr. Roosevelt (Pgh Public School's Superintendent) and Dr. Spampinato (Academic boss of Pgh Public Schools) in August 2006, we discussed the importance of the administration making a commitment to the international studies schools, especially in the areas of language instruction. Languages are an integral part of the Frick education and it is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain the program if qualified language teachers are being taken away. As of this morning, human relations did not have a qualified replacement.

We need to make our position very clear to the people making personnel decisions. We MUST have QUALIFIED language teachers in the international studies program.

I think we have quite a few action people on this email list who probably have better ideas than I on the action that would be most effective at this point. This is one more opportunity for the International Studies cluster to show its strength and commitment to our program. I will pass along any additional information that I receive.
Outside a school building in China.
SCHOOL INFORMATION NIGHT AT THE JCC IS THIS EVENING FROM 7-9 PM. Each year in the fall, the Jewish Community Center holds an information evening with representatives from the public and private schools in the area. Hopefully, the elementary magnets will be represented.


Mark Rauterkus said...

More from Amy, the source:

I have not heard from anyone at the board/admin but I did get additional information from Ms. Lyall and several 'Dice parents. Thank you. The position at Frick is just temporary while the one at Allderdice would be a contract. It is understandable that they would offer a job to someone who is subbing. Action is still needed from Frick parents (present, past and future parents and anyone who is concerned about the Pittsburgh Public Schools.)

We have discussed this issue at numerous IS cluster meetings: Why is it so difficult to find and keep qualified language teachers? If Allderdice's Spanish classes were so overcrowded (50 to a class), why did it take until September 26 to decide to create another position?

One point that I want to emphasize: I am not faulting Allderdice for "taking" Frick's teacher. I think it is important that we work with Allderdice to improve those areas of the school system that parents can affect. The IS program has many supporters from Allderdice and a combined effort of Frick, Schenley, and Allderdice parents should be a strong voice. One of the problems that Allderdice has to deal with is not knowing how many students they will end up with when the year starts. As a neighborhood school, as I understand it, they have to accept the students from the neighborhood. That means that a student can sign up for Schenley and then decide at the last minute to go to 'Dice.

Enough philosophizing, what can we do at this point? First of all, if anyone knows of an available Spanish teacher, contact Mr. Walters. An emergency certification is possible if otherwise qualified.

Second, write letters, send emails, make phone calls. We were told in August that human relations/personnel had been changed so that teacher hiring would be improved. We need to let the admin know that we are serious about demanding quality teachers.

amy moore

Anonymous said...

I spoke with Mr. Walters late this afternoon; he thinks that he has a possible substitute teacher for his Spanish classes. Hopefully, it will not take as long to get the paperwork done as it did when we lost our German teacher 2 years ago.

Is there a teacher shortage in the Pittsburgh area? Is there a language teacher shortage? Why doesn't the Human Relations Office have adequate subs available? Is it the responsibility of individual principals to hunt for their own teachers? Are there other openings at Schenley, Allderdice, Frick, and the elementary schools that have not been filled? Is it just a reality in a large city school system that it takes weeks into the school term to find and fill the personnel needs? Although the crisis might be over at Frick for now, I think we need to be aware of what is happening in the classrooms. . . . . And you know that I will update you on this situation if the Spanish sub does not begin in a reasonable amount of time.

amy moore