tmes parents discussion with dr laverne kimball community superintendent march 15 2006 n.
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TMES Parents’ Discussion with Dr. LaVerne Kimball Community Superintendent March 15, 2006. Introduction .

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TMES Parents’ Discussion with Dr. LaVerne Kimball Community Superintendent March 15, 2006

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We as parents of TMES are deeply concerned about the safety of students and its effect on the performance of the school. We would like to partner with the Montgomery County school management team to make the school a better/safer place for kids to grow and learn.

performance expectations
Performance Expectations
  • Effective management of a school requires the ability to:
    • Achieve high standards for student academic performance, student safety and mutual respect
    • Acquire, build and maintain a well-trained staff of teachers, with a broad range of experience
    • Communicate effectively with parents

Consistent with MCPS job description for elementary school administrators

performance concern lack of staff development and retention
Performance Concern: Lack of Staff Development and Retention
  • Our teacher turnover rate is about 75%. The county average for turnover is 17%.
    • Word is out: TMES is not a good place to work
  • Teaching staff experience is low due to the high turnover
  • Substitute pool highly dependent on parent volunteers

Continuity and Experience Benefits the School

performance concern ineffective communication with parents
Performance Concern: Ineffective Communication with Parents
  • Consistent lack of communication regarding staff departure
  • Late notification for long term substitute
    • Parents find out after students
    • Students visibly disturbed and upset
    • Ripple effects to other classes not resolved
  • Administration not honest with parents
    • Report cards indicate administration knew of change days prior, not day before
    • Mail versus phone tree – avoiding confrontation?
performance concern low standards for safety and respect
Performance Concern: Low Standards for Safety and Respect
  • Concerns go beyond single class-room experience
  • More than a band-aid fix is required
    • Resolving single issues rather than addressing the systemic problem appears to be a policy
    • Reactionary – not proactive management
  • Consistent movement of victims from classes rewards poor behavior
  • Within the past year, parent volunteers have witnessed:
    • Students walking out of classroom without teacher permission
    • Student cutting hair of another student
  • Inappropriate touching
  • Children in timeout for 15 minutes
  • Walkers (pick-ups) released without verifying authority of adult to take student

Safety compromised. Kids are at Risk

first grade
First Grade
  • Ineffective control of behavior leads to designated whole-class bathroom breaks
  • Students not allowed to have water bottles at desk because of classroom management issues
    • Water bottles are important for kids with sensory issues and for helping others to focus (particularly ADD kids) better in the classroom
2 nd grade
2nd Grade
  • In the past two years parent volunteers have personally witnessed the following:
    • Student throwing stick and threatening others
    • Pushing and shoving is normal in the classrooms
    • Student stealing items from others
    • Student biting other student in the hallway
    • Frequent verbally abusive language
    • Disruptive child was placed in the PEP preschool program to act as a helper
    • Frequent disruption in the classroom
  • Bullying issues not addressed until parents request a meeting beyond the counselor
  • Instruction time denied to above grade readers

Safety compromised. Lack of Respect. Kids are at Risk

3 rd grade
3rd Grade
  • Parent volunteers have personally witnessed following incidents where safety was compromised:
    • Playground bullying
    • High tolerance for physical and verbal abuse
  • Resolution of bullying issues outside of MCPS policy
  • Disruption in the Classroom

Safety compromised. Kids are at Risk

4 th grade
4th Grade
  • In the past two months parent volunteers and students have witnessed the following incidents:
    • Students walking around in the class during teaching
    • Students kicking/punching other students in the class
    • Frequent verbal abuse, including profanity
    • Student bangs desk into another student, risking injury, and is rewarded
  • Disrespect and disregard for substitute personnel, staff and parents
    • Comes from students and administration
    • “Can’t teachers handle students?” (Admin)
    • “It’s 2006, kids talk back to adults” (Admin)
  • Standards are not the same for all students – standards lower for disruptive students

Safety compromised. Lack of Respect. Kids are at Risk

summary of performance
Summary of Performance
  • As parents, we believe that the school management is not:
    • Striving to achieve high standards for student safety, discipline and mutual respect.
    • Acquiring, building and maintaining a well-trained staff of teachers.
    • Communicating effectively with students and parents.
desired outcome
Desired Outcome
  • We request a follow-up meeting within 2 weeks to discuss your approach to:
    • Achieving high standards for behavior
    • Ensuring TMES is a job site of choice, not a last resort
    • Improving administrative communications
  • Provide meaningful, discrete steps to allow measured progress
  • Address immediate concern of potentially returning 4th grade teacher – how will change be managed?
desired attributes of an effective management team
Desired Attributes of an Effective Management Team
  • Commitment, on the part of all staff, to establishing and maintaining appropriate student behavior as an essential precondition of learning
  • High behavioral expectations
  • Clear and broad-based rules.
    • Rules, sanctions, and procedures developed with input from students, are clearly specified, and are made known to everyone in the school
  • A warm social climate, characterized by a concern for students as individuals
  • A visible, supportive principal
    • Very visible in hallways and classrooms, talking informally with teachers and students, speaking to them by name, and expressing interest in their activities.
  • Delegation of discipline authority to teachers
    • Assist teachers to improve their classroom management and discipline skills by arranging for staff development activities as needed
  • Close ties with communities
    • High level of communication and partnership with the communities they serve
    • Communities are kept informed of school goals and activities