Teacher, Administration, and Staff Support
Let's start first with a bit of data. All of these numbers come from the Personnel Reports which are attached to the Board meeting agendas, available here. These personnel reports include how many GCS staff (either classified or licensed) left each month, from resignation, termination, and retirement. The numbers below indicate the total numbers for indicated months, You can see that in many of the months, the number of employees leaving is over twice what it was 3-4 years ago.
Since 2019, we have lost over 3000 employees. With approximately 9800 employees, that means that in the past 3 years, we have lost nearly 1/3 of our staff. Think of the inconsistency this causes across the system. Students constantly have to adapt to new teachers (or NO teacher). Principals are being moved from school to school. Teachers have to constantly adapt to new administration.
We. Must. Stop. The. Bleeding.
So, WHY are we losing so many employees??? Behavior problems. Lack of support. Low pay. Feelings of underappreciation. Exhaustion. Overworked staff. Fear of "downtown."
- First and foremost, we need to revamp the discipline policy. There need to be CLEAR, consistent consequences for misbehavior. The same action should have the same consequences, no matter the student or the school.
- We need a zero-tolerance policy for violence and disrespect. Our suspension numbers will probably go through the roof temporarily. I am ok with that. We need transparency into what is actually happening in the schools. Parents and the community NEED to see the extent of problems that we currently have. Students need to know that there WILL be consequences to their actions. This is the only way that we can have true change. Right now, they know they can get away with just about anything. Just ask any GCS student.
- Teachers need to be supported by administration in regard to behavior issues. When a teacher writes a referral, they should be told what the results of the referral are. They need to know that when they write a student up, action will be taken.
- Bus drivers need the same support. When they have an issue on the bus, they should be able to write the student up and there should be consequences. This is not happening currently, in many, many cases. This is critical to the safety of drivers and students.
- Bus routes need to be revisited and consolidated so that drivers can make the most of their time.
- Teachers need relief in regards to their time. They need to have planning time back (many teachers have lost this because of meetings and/or lack of classroom coverage). They need fewer meetings. We need to reduce the amount of testing so that they have time to teach. They need more time to be able to plan and do their jobs.
- We need to change the entire culture of GCS. A school system should not be "fear-based." We should not consistently be hearing that principals are "afraid of downtown." This must change, and this change starts at the top.
- GCS does do some good things in regards to appreciation - Teacher of the Month, Teacher of the Year, recognition at Board meetings, and more. This needs to continue. We should be adding in additional incentives such as bonuses and comp time for employees at all levels.