Members of the Board, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you tonight. Thank you.
As a classroom teacher myself, I don't need too much from the school or the district to be able to do my job. I need real estate, I need curriculum, and I need supplies. And since I don't teach in a vacuum, I also need a school environment that supports what I do in the classroom.
That support comes in many different forms, but most of the time, that support comes from vice principals and from counselors. And while the proposed vice principal cuts will negatively impact my job of teaching, I'm here tonight to ask you to reconsider the proposal to cut counselors at our schools.
Counselors do so much more than just scheduling students into classes. They do so much more than ensuring students are on track to graduate, so much more than writing letters of recommendation for colleges or work, so much more than helping students navigate the labyrinth of college and financial aid applications . Sometimes, counselors are the last line of defense before disaster.
They have open lines of communication with students.
They hear about the potential suicides, and they help.
They notice the cutting, and get kids help.
They are sometimes the first to know about a pregnancy, and they help.
They know about bullying, both physical and online, and they mediate.
They often know about the drinking and the smoking and the drug use, and they get involved.
They learn about abuse at home, and they take action.
They know about kids who are about to be out on the streets--seriously--and they intervene.
If all our schools are staffed with counselors as good as the ones with which I'm privileged to work, you don't want to let them go. You want to find a way to keep them. It's not just a slogan when we say, “Counselors matter.”
Again, thank you for your time.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Addressing the School Board
Our district is going to have to cut 10% off its budget next year--and that's if a tax extension proposition is placed on the ballot and passed by voters in a special election this June. If that doesn't happen, we'll have to cut over 15% out of our budget, and you can guess that schools will take a bigger hit than the district office will. Tomorrow night I'm scheduled to address the board, and here's the "speech" I just finished. I'll have 2 minutes, no more: