Thursday, October 09, 2008

Today's Staff Meeting

Today's staff meeting was painful. Let me share just one storyline with you, so you can get even the smallest idea of how painful it was.

Today we talked about student progress reports. Pretty innocuous stuff, right? Oh, don't be naive.

See, in the past, we filled out progress reports at 6 and 12 weeks into the semester. Some parents complained that they didn't get the progress reports until the 7th week (out of 18), by which time it was too late for them to motivate their kids to dig their way out of any hole in which their grades might inhabit. So we were directed to send out progress reports after 4-1/2 weeks.

The union and the district misunderstood each other. The district thought they negotiated to have progress reports every 4-1/2 weeks, whereas the union thought that the 6-week progress report has been moved forward 1-1/2 weeks but the 12-week progress report would stay where it was. The union's contention was that they didn't bargain for us to do an extra progress report each semester, which is what the district thought they had bargained.

Fair enough. But instead of resolving it, each school was seemingly given the option of choosing how it wanted to proceed.

So we spent the next 30 min or so arguing/discussing whether we should do progress reports at 9 and 13-1/2 weeks or just at 12 weeks. But wait, there's more. Due to athletic eligibility issues, our athletes/cheerleaders will need some kind of grade check at 9 weeks.

So now our choices are to do progress reports for just athletes/cheerleaders at 9 weeks and for everyone at 12 weeks, or to do progress reports for all students at both 9 weeks and 13-1/2 weeks.

Clearly this is a major issue.

We spent over a half an hour on this. Some wanted to know who mandated the 9 week report for athletes--is the union aware of this, was it negotiated? Others had other concerns.

Given the small difference between the two proposals to choose from, we spent more time discussing, arguing, and questioning, than it would take to fill out that "extra" grade report the district thought they negotiated in the first place.

That was just one topic addressed at the meeting today.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you don't like your job, quit.

Trust me, you will be happier in the long run.

Darren said...

Quite a leap in logic you have in your first line.

I can tolerate the job just fine.

I've had jobs I hated. I quit when they got too much. This one hasn't gotten too much. Yet.

rightwingprof said...

I have an STFU mug I always took to faculty meetings. I suspect you know why.

DADvocate said...

This is why I hate meetings of almost any kind.

Maybe anon. is a teachers' union member.

Ellen K said...

Darren:
Try this problem on for size. Our district spent MILLIONS of dollars buying, implementing and training us to use an online gradebook system. Any parent, guardian or student with an email can link up to current grades. It shows absences, missing grades, averages and exams. The works. Yet, we are still expected to print out a progress report for every student. I could see doing this for students that have no emails linked to the accounts, but we must do every single student. On top of that, we have to personally call, using the contact resources in our online gradebooks to speak with said parents or guardians. I spent an hour and a half trying to contact the parents of six students. Of the six, I got a voicemail for one, asking him to call, spoke with one parent, got three listed as disconnected and one adult who said they keep getting calls for this kid and he's not theirs!

So here's my question. If we have provided online access, and parents have logged on and have the ability to check any time day or night, why are we killing trees and wasting time calling parents? I mean, really, I have no problem sitting down and talking to a parent, but at some point, shouldn't the parents get involved? Isn't this just supporting a nannystate mentality that never ever blames the child for failure, but instead shoves off inadequacy on the "system". Just curious.

Darren said...

Yes, Ellen, it is. Total CYA.

And RWP, what does your mug from St. Francis University have to do with staff meetings? :-)

Dadvocate: I had a boss once who would stop someone in mid-sentence, if need be, to halt a meeting after exactly one hour. That time limit was religiously enforced. It forced everyone to be prepared--which was nice.