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Staying focused in 2010

January 3, 2010

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Superintendent Dr. William Skilling from Oxford Community Schools in Oakland County.  He is an interesting and passionate educator.  The one comment he made that really hit me was the statement that the current economic crisis is the “greatest thing to happen to public education in Michigan – maybe ever.”  Most of us in the crowd were taken back by this bold statement.  His premise is that families are now more focused on the need for strong schools to provide the best opportunity for their children as we enter a global economy.

While, I am not sure I can fully agree with his statement – I understand his thought process.  I see that families, more than ever,  are depending on us to provide the best chance for their child.  This requires us to stay focused on the continued pursuit of excellence.  Fostering an organizational culture of high expectations for all students that is pervasive throughout Saline Area Schools requires the commitment of staff, parents and community.  It also requires strong leadership.  It is my goal for 2010 to provide that leadership.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris Cook permalink
    January 5, 2010 1:52 am

    So is this Math teacher’s facebook post accurate?

    Today I was informed that the Superintendent of my school district has filed a letter of intent to remove the entire High School Math Dept. in order to save money. He intends to replace the instruction with online learning. I am writing this post to share the details as I know them and get feedback from friends in the community. More to come…

    Timeline:
    Fri, Dec 16th (before Christmas break) – Supt. issues letter of intent to teacher’s union leadership
    Sat, Jan 2nd – I receive a call that there is an emergency meeting on Monday
    Mon, Jan 4th – I receive a copy of the letter and a spreadsheet prepared by the Superintendent with the names of the 20 positions to be cut (mine is one of the names)

    District Intent-
    To save money during a time of economic chaos that leaves SAS in a $2-3million deficit

    Ramifications-
    -Widespread shifting of staff in the middle of the year (ie. an AP class could get a new teacher 3 weeks before the test b/c that new teacher is “qualifed” and has more seniority–but may not have ever taught the class
    -Studies show that females do much more poorly in virtual learning due to the lack of social aspect
    -The district would have to purchase computers for online labs and pay new staff to man them
    -Math students would not have a real teacher to interface with (not sure of the details of which program has been chosen or if one has)
    -Parents who do not think this is an optimal situation for their child to learn math may choose to move having a negative impact on the SAS budget as well as property values in Saline

  2. Kelly Saiya-Cork permalink
    January 5, 2010 6:33 am

    Please do not eliminate the High School Math Department in March 2010 as a way to meet budget constraints. Although online match courses will benefit some students, it is not for all 9-12 graders. No computer course or clerk can compare to the qualifications of a board certified teacher. Experimenting with education by offering this as an option to students is a great idea as long as a certified math teacher is there for them to ask questions. Doing away with all high school math teachers is not a wise way to lead the Saline School District through the 2010 budget crisis.

  3. January 5, 2010 7:09 am

    The mid-year budget reduction process that began in November is still ongoing. I encourage you to view this budget presentation from December 9th – http://blogs.salineschools.com/budget/2009/12/09/budget-update-december-9th/

    It appears that information discussed internally regarding worst case scenario options is now begin shared as already decided.

    In terms of discussions about HS Math specifically, I have stated during various budget meetings with the community and staff that “everything is on the table”. Providing notice regarding intent does not bind the district to proceed, but does keep all options open for consideration.

    As the teacher Facebook post notes, the current of economic chaos is very real. During these difficult and uncertain times, I will continue to work with the Board of Education, community, and staff to keep Saline Area Schools the premier school district in Michigan.

  4. Kim Faiman permalink
    January 11, 2010 12:13 pm

    As a parent of 2 High School students, 1 being a senior taking an AP Math class. I am appalled that the school board would even consider removing the Math teachers, especially in the middle of the year. To think that a person can be replaced by a machine to teach such an important subject is totally absurd. What are the students supposed to do if they have questions?

    Please consider all other possibilities before making this drastic and potentially devastating change in the calssroom.

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