Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What's really going on with District 150 teachers?

Comments left on the blog of late, indicate that teachers in District 150 are highly frustrated with the current state of the District. When we are witnessing teachers who absolutely love teaching losing their jobs and/or considering leaving the profession, it's a clear indicator that the situation must be pretty dire.

From what I am reading, it appears that teachers are moving towards forming their own type of District Watch. The education landscape is changing so drastically, that teachers and parents alike, need to be as vigilant as possible to insure that all voices are being heard, as we set standards for the future of our schools. It’s a good thing if teachers are actively working on having a real voice in the District's decision making process.

The post below is from a commenter called "teachingrocks".

teachingrocks said...

It is hard to be one of the teachers who was in the trenches last year and kicked to the curb this year.

I continue to repeating the truth that some of these schools are OUT OF CONTROL. By being upset at raising suspension numbers, things are NOT going to change. Students will continue to act out and now will get even less discipline because the numbers "are so bad".

These suspension numbers are easy to manipulate if you keep the student in an ACE room and don't put that in the system or send them home and don't report it to the atendance system, etc. I am worried because if the numbers are worse this year and people are upset about it, it seems like even LESS is going to be done at a time when the teachers must have MORE support in dealing with these MAJOR behavior issues.

A few students in each classroom are robbing all students of their education. Emerge was right when she was asking parents to speak up. That's a place to start. 150 has the alternative school so let's start using it. There are children who should NOT be in a traditional classroom. Even the word traditional in 150 isn't what it used to be.

The teachers are working so very hard to create an environment which meets the needs of all the students in the classroom. They are dealing with things in some of the schools which are not the norm across the district. The revolving door of people in the home, students who strive to grow up and go to jail, the abuse, the drugs, the shootings, etc. Believe me, teachers have adjusted through the years to respond to the change as best they can. This CHRONIC, OUT OF CONTROL behavior is not something teachers can control or adjust on their own. And yet, with the lack of support from the office and above, they are attempting to do just that because that is what they are told they HAVE to do.

If you are "lucky" enough to have tenure, you will keep your job--maybe not in the current school or grade level. If you are a teacher who is dedicated to hold all students to the same standards, won't let children run wild in your room, and demand (but don't receive) some sort of consequence (after you've implented four of five of your own and talked to the parent) from the office and have no tenure----enjoy the time off during this school year because your bags are packed and you are labled unable to control the classroom. It is heartbreaking...and what I am doing.

I have no chance to speak up and say my peace. I am already someone who is having a hard time trying to get back into the classroom. What are my chances of being hired again as a full-time teacher if I have the audacity to speak the truth of what is happening in the classrooms in front of the school board. Trust me, there are people who keep track of who is "causing trouble" by not just shutting up and keeping kids in their classroom no matter what. If they have any opportunity to get rid of you, they will.
Wed., November 16, 2011

teachingrocks said...

I am not making a statement that every teacher who isn't employed this year should be. There are legitimate reasons for getting rid of teachers and there are some teachers in their classrooms now who shouldn't be there. The union is in sad shape and it is so depressing the teachers have noone to turn to regarding the current situations at some schools.

I can continue to monitor and contribute to the blog. I gather information and try to let people know what is really happening.

I am not some anonymous nut who has no experience about what I am talking. I am a teacher. I am dedicated to giving children the best opportunity possible to make something of their lives--let them know they are important to me if noone else in their lives lets them know. I want to make this world a better place by empowering these kids with the knowledge someone is in their court and rooting for them. THIS is the goal of almost every teacher in these classrooms and their hands are being tied by a few families who can't (won't) control their children and by administrators who won't (can't) control their student body.

Wed., November 16, 2011

63 comments:

Emerge Peoria said...

What is an ACE room?

teachingrocks said...

It is an in-school suspension room.

Anonymous said...

I thought district watch was teachers.

Anonymous said...

Like teachingrocks, I am a displaced teacher. The school that I taught at was truly an alternative school. It closed and that left me to sub, since a job teaching in 150 did not materialize. I still wholeheartedly believe that I belong in 150 teaching to my high school students.

Having been a sub, I can attest to the rooms that are out of control and the teachers that seem to have given up. I don't speak up any longer as I have figured out that that hinders my prospects of being hired. I LOVE my students and hope to continue sharing my love of learning with them.

Ramble On said...

From all the hopes that existed this past summer, District 150 has become a sad state of affairs and a real drain on the energy of the city.

D150 volunteer said...

Good luck to the true teachers who are forming as the "watch group" is really just a pro-union anti-mgmt group that throws stones and offers no real solutions. D150 has an abundance of true professionals and some who would best serve the students by seeking other employment. Maybe the group thatis forming will seek to work WITH admin and the community groups that serve students.

teachingrocks said...

It would be a whole lot easier to offer solutions if someone on Wisconsin would actually listen to the teachers. The teachers in the trenches have plenty of ideas, but have been shut down time and time again.

My Name is Earl said...

Maybe someone should check into the "stabbing" and "cutting" of several students at Harrison today...isn't Harrison a PRIMARY SCHOOL?

Sharon Crews said...

One major example is that $700,000 worth of textbooks were chosen this year with absolutely no teacher input. That is not the way things were done before or the way they should be done. In the past teacher committees often spent a whose semester or year analyzing textbooks from several companies to find the ones that best suited District 150's needs, etc.
When asked from the podium why social studies books and science books were not open for bid and analyzed by qualified teachers of those subjects, Lathan responded that one administrator had been a science teacher. I guess the assumption was that she (probably) was thus qualified to pick the texts. My own take is that Dr. Owen Robert's (from Houghton Mifflin) offered to do the "free" audit for District 150 in return for a very, very large order of Houghton Mifflin social studies and science textbooks.
This administration has absolutely no regard for teachers and no desire to ask them anything.
I heard that Dr. Lathan has placed a huge picture of herself by those of the board members on the wall of the admin building--and that hers is much larger. That says it all.

teachingrocks said...

The intervention groups which have been formed in schools for reading mastery have more than 15 students in some of them. That is the appropriate size of a lower grade classroom NOT an intervention small group. Also, some schools still do NOT have the books for this program.

Anonymous said...

The large picture of herself is not to be narcisistic but to scare away any rats

Anonymous said...

Nobody cares about teachers not the school board, central administration, some school administrators -- the atmosphere where I teach is just sad. I would say that society as a whole no longer cares about teachers. We seem to be the scapegoats for everything that is wrong in schools today. Even if I had the energy to join a teacher's movement I cannot because I believe administrators or central admin would retaliate. I will, as always, exercise my voting privilege and hope for change. Thank goodness for my students, as they do seem to appreciate my efforts. They are the only good thing about this job and I do appreciate them everyday.

teacher said...

This watch group while happen. (25 teachers now, hopefully 100 by 1st of year) The union doesn't want any teachers to get involved. What happen at the union meetings held a few days ago?? I have not heard anything. You know why, no communication. Our leaders do not want to mess up their "made up" jobs at Wisconsin street, so they do nothing.

Anonymous said...

Good thing for unions. I heard that at Manual Talent Development Junior High and High School Academy a teacher mistook the visiting Sharon Reed for their head custodian Charles. Reed was so incensed by the mistake she fired the teacher on the spot. Thankfully, the president of the union was called and it was determined that although Reed is a woman of culture and refinement and is the cornerstone of not only the arts in 150 but in the greater Peoria area as well, she doesnt have he authority to fire a cigarette.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should put the kids who behave in the ACE room and leave the ones who don't in class. That would cut down on hallway traffic.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a clean sweep of Administrators in D150. There are too many who don't have what it takes to be in a leadership position. Administrators who have grievances filed against them, or votes of no confidence taken against them, need to be removed and not transferred to another school where they can continue their rein of terror. Non-tenured teachers don't get special treatment when they are blacklisted for speaking up, why should power-hungry principals get a second chance?

Anonymous said...

The Manual Talent Development Junior High and High School Academy's principal has a clean slate, doesn't she? Has she ever had a vote of no confidence taken against her at a previous school? Has she ever fired a secretary or had one quit? Even once? Has she ever called staff members in one by one to encourage them to give students more time on the ISAT?

Woot woot. Give em the horse face.

Anonymous said...

Lathan is going to leave behind a pile of debt and problems. Name ONE positive thing she has done.

Anonymous said...

She set a Shipp to sail...........

Anonymous said...

The teachers commenting on this blog sound so judgemental and hateful I feel sorry for the kids. Checking grammer, laughing at the shoes you boss wear and makiing snide comments just make you look silly. You wonder why your union won't listen to you. Hopefully Lathan can get rid of all of you.

Anonymous said...

If you think that teachers are the only people who make fun of their boss you need to really get out in the real world!

Dr. Lathan certainly has done her fair share of sophomoric stunts. When Dr. Kherat sent her resignation, Dr. Lathan starting laughing, stomping her feet and raising her hands and clapping (during a cabinet meeting). Then she starting showing her NC chronies the email and they all joined in laughter. This is all during an "important" meeting when several other district 150 heads were present.

Maybe there are more people than just teachers in 150 that need to up their game.

Anonymous said...

Dang. That's just outright creepy.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that Grenita was in the schools last week accompanying representatives from a book company. This is the company from which 150 bought all those intervention supplies. Classes are still waiting for some of their books. Also, I find it a bit troubling that these people were from North Carolina. How is she able to get away with this?!? It seems obvious and icky that there is something going on with her purchases and who she picks to buy from. Why aren't the BOE members asking any questions?!?

Anonymous said...

They put their heads in the sand a long time ago...they brought her here. Hopefully, Cloyd gets to the bottom of all of this.

The board forgets she is their employee, not the other way around...smh

Sharon Crews said...

Thanks for that info about the intervention books, etc.--I assume they are the SRA McGraw-Hill books. I am curious as to the North Carolina connection with these books and would like to know who actually administered the tests to the primary school students. The District 150 website had stated that there were 15 people doing the assessments--were they 150 people or outsiders?

Sharon Crews said...

Thanks for that informatin--are these the SRA McGraw Hill books? If so, I would like to know the connection between these books (and company) and people from North Carolina. The District 150 website had stated that 15 people were doing the assessments of all the primary students. I would like to know if these people were District 150 employees or outsiders.

Sharon Crews said...

I think what I'm hearing from Lathan (on WMBD radio today) is that parents need to accept responsibility for their children. If that is her message, it is a copeout. The parents of problem children are not going to voluntarily become accountable--they might not even know how. District 150 needs to draw the line in the sand--and needs to stick to its guns: children and/or their parents must suffer the consequences for bad behavior--and the alternative school needs to be the major consequence. If parents don't like that alternative, they may have to discover how to be accountable.

Anonymous said...

Sharon - your "solution" is the cop-out. Stick to their guns? Really? Nice metaphor. They have no bullets. Parents DO need to accept responsibility for their children and the notion that sending them to the alternative school is a sufficient "consequence" is laughable. A true alternative school and a boot camp school are both needed. You aren't going to get the parents to be truly accountable until you begin tying support and aid - all kinds from all sources - to the expectation of becoming educated and productive. That fight starts in Springfield. Take up arms for that....

Anonymous said...

There is definitely a mixed message going on. Lathan is stating the parents need to be responsible for the child's behavior. Then, a student gets a suspension for out of control behavior at school. Parent trots over to administration building, throws a hissy, and child is returned to class the next day if not sooner. I know for a fact one of these parents is someone who couldn't be reached for the first 3-4 months (at least) of school last year to discuss with the teacher her son's behavior. Now, she is involved enough to get a suspension overturned when he should have been suspended even MORE last year. It is RIDICULOUS! Why is admin not backing our principals?

Anonymous said...

I'll take Grenita Pa up on her challenge. I'm a parent. I'll accept responsibility for the bad behavior of all of the misbehaving students in District 150.

Now what?

Errrrrr. Nothing.

Yeeeegggzactly.

Anonymous said...

So who is running for the open seats?

Anonymous said...

So I hear District 150 is again upping its standards. Apparently, taking final exams is no longer a requirement. In other words, a student can skip a final and still pass the class. Yup. The student will still fail the final - but that's it. Used to be that if you skipped the final you didn't get credit for the semester. You know. Like in college. That dealio for which we're supposed to be preparing our students.

Lowest grade a teacher can give is a 50 - and finals? Finals schminals.

I guess 150's goal is to make graduating as easy as tying Velcro tennis shoes.

Anonymous said...

I imagine that all of those Fresno State online classes via which administrators purchase their degrees don't require final exams. So, it wasn't much of a leap for them to do away with our students' finals.

Sharon Crews said...

I know that teachers have been told that being absent from a final doesn't change a grade one way or the other. Now my question will be to the board--is this a secret or will students be told that they can stay home on final exam day if they are happy with the grades they "earned" for 3 grading periods. This board and this administration is systematically doing everything they can do to remove all standards of academics and behavior--and are destroying District 150. Dr. Lathan continually agrees with all who say that parents and students should be accountable--and then proceeds to remove all the rules so that there is nothing to which to be accountable.

Sharon Crews said...

I'm tired (good excuse)--my last post was misleading and wrong. Missing the final exam will change the grade--in some cases, but it won't cause the student to fail. Of course, the way grades have been figured in District 150 for many years has been exceedingly lenient. For instance, 3 C's and an F on the final is still a C average. Two A's and two B's (no matter how low the B or the A) is an A average just as 2 D's and 2 F's and a D average. This new leniency is just another step in the wrong direction.

Anonymous said...

We were told at a teachers meeting that students would no longer automatically fail if they didn't take finals. Our principal wanted to keep that information away from our students. I guess that won't work now.

Sharon Crews said...

Deception never works--especially, with students. Of course, the people who will look stupid will be the teachers who tell students they will fail if they don't take finals. The deception only works for one semester because after that the word will spread. Of course, I would like to know if the school board was notified that the final exam policy has changed--I believe it is their policy and a vote should have been taken to change it. The same thing has happened with the non-tardy policy in District 150. Kids have figured out that no one gets suspensions, etc., for being tardy--so guess what, the tardy rate is completely off the charts.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a teacher who works in the district it is funny. If you want the real truth about how CRAZY it is walk in the halls of a school. You will see Krazy kids, no board members and no administration. That would require them to work. The kids are not held accountable. They kids run the school. Are we forgetting about the 27 teachers who have already quit this year. Na thats not important. Whats important is putting our kids on compass learning ( the same as what the kids will see in college) and accomadate to them. BULLSHIT Caterpillar won't accomadate to their needs the same way as we do. I applaude the kids for taking what they have been given and running with it. Here is an idea lets buy Granity out of her contract the same as we do everytime we hire an incapable applicant who has no idea what they are getting into and send her and her NC gang back to where they came from. I think I know more teachers in 150 who send their kids to private schools in Peoria or live outside of the city WHY because they would not put their own children in this situation to fail in the future. THE TEACHERS ARE GREAT but are not able to display their skills when all you have to do it teach basic skills. How do I teach multiplication to 7th grades who cant do basic addition facts? Lightbulb went on lets blame the teachers from the previous year, not the single mother of 7 who can;t do the work either. But she know how to sell her link card at Krogers so she can buy beer and some smokes. MY CHALLENGE FOR YOU IS TO WALK INTO THE HALLS, SUB IN A SCHOOL and SEE IF YOU DON"T AGREE WITH WHAT I SAY. IF YOU SAY YOU DON"T YOUR PROBABLY A PRODUCT OF THE SCHOOLS AND THATS ALL YOU KNOW. I DON'T THINK DUNLAP, MORTON, WASHINGTON, METAMORA, PEKIN, CANTON, OR THE PRIVATE SCHOOLS HAVE THESE PROBLEMS.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe our principal was trying to be deceptive. If asked point blank our principal would tell the truth. Our principal felt if the new policy wasn't "advertised" more students would show up to take finals.

Sharon Crews said...

I understand that--the principal was just handed a problem, so he is trying to make the best of it. Yes, most students will show up for finals even if they are told about the new ruling. There is absolutely no reason to change the rule. As it is, the old rule has been broken often anyway in that absent students were given a chance to make-up finals. There is just no logical reason for the change that puts principals and teachers in a position to "not" tell students the truth.

teachingrocks said...

What I don't understand is why so many people are so determined to hide/deny what is happening daily in the schools across Peoria. The students are out of control. They are literally running the school. Even Lathan saw children acting wildly and running through the halls at a school a couple weeks ago.

Why is NOTHING being done? The teachers did not create these behaviors in the children but they are being restricted from doing anything to stop them. Saying you want to hold parents accountable and then rescinding suspensions when a loud enough voice shows up on Wisconsin Avenue is ridiculous. WHERE IS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION?!?!!? Why are they not in the schools to see what absolute chaos their superintendent has created? They hired her....not the teachers left in the classrooms with too many kids and not enough textbooks. So much is wrong and not getting any better and noone with any power to change things seems to give a diddley damn.

Anonymous said...

RHS is going to hell with this administration. There are ABSOLUTELY no consequences for the students. In-school suspension is a joke. Kids sleep, text and listen to their music. Freshmen and junior-senior deans are worthless, referrals don’t get dealt with. If there are no consequences, the kids are going to keep doing what they want. Kids are skipping classes, having all lunch hours. Freshmen are even smoking weed in the bathroom this year. Ive been there for 25 years. This year is the worst. I want Ptecek back, at least he dealt with discipline. What a joke!!!! We were told to turn a blind eye on dress code, cellphones and kids can even run to class. Teachers did a survey on Monday on this administration, I hope they all told the truth. Cindy Clark comes to ULT meeting and dictates everything, its supposed to be teachers driven. She has no clue

Teacher said...

Administrators need to go back to teaching so they can see what it is like. Most of them couldn't handle a classroom in todays district 150. Teachers have no chance to teach; with all the worthless stuff we have to do. PD's a total waste of time. Evaluations--done by people that do not get it. Thank goodness the teachers got a great contract, oh wait no we didn't. I spent my raise on a tank of gas back in September. THANKS UNION LEADERSHIP!!

Anonymous said...

So RHS is getting another administrator, huh? Because the current administration can't handle the work load. How about hiring more teachers for Rhs so they can reduce classsize? Of course not, they don't care about us teachers. What a joke!!!! They had a motivational speaker today to talk about accepting change. What does he know about education? He has never been a teacher.Dr Lathan, please come and do a learning walk during lunch, kids are out of control!!!

Sharon Crews said...

District 150 is good at inviting speakers who have never taught to tell teachers that they need to change, etc. The best way to show teachers how to teach is to come join them and teach. After years of listening to these "pretenders," I came to the conclusion that any of these speakers spent some time in the classroom and left because they hated teaching but go to places far from home (where no one knows them) to tell of all their great successes while they were in the classroom--to make more money than they could make teaching.

Teacher said...

What a bad speaker at RHS today. 2 1/2 hours of wasted time. This guy had no idea what it takes to be a teacher. Let real teachers get up and talk about real issues and real problems. I will be in the front row!!!!!!

teachingrocks said...

I wonder if this guy was flown in from somewhere. Did the district pay for his flight, hotel, meals? Sounds like he was worthless as far as helping the teachers in their job. It is one more way money and time are being wasted and student behavior is not being addressed.

Anonymous said...

Where was he from San Diego or North Carolina?

Anonymous said...

This speaker was a joke. He said if you need an alarm clock to get up for your job, you probably hate your job and if you take a long shower before you go to work, you probably hate your job. I would like to see him teach at RHS. He would be eaten alive!!!!

Anonymous said...

Cindy Clark changed the bell schedule without telling any teacher. When she was asked why the bell was off, she said she was collecting data. Data? for what? she is just too damn manly to admit she was wrong about 4 min passing time was too short. Tardies are huge problem at RHS

Sharon Crews said...

Tardies are a huge problem at all schools--why, because there is no board policy for tardies any more--and that isn't Dr. Lathan's fault. At one time, accumulated tardies resulted in suspension--but the board (not the current one) changed the policy.

Sharon Crews said...

About the speaker--quite often these speakers are former teachers who obviously hated their jobs or didn't like relating to children enough to stay in the classroom. I objected to several of these speakers whose premise assumed that all teachers either hate their jobs and/or children or are burnt out.
The alarm clock-shower assumption is utterly ridiculous--too bad teachers weren't given the opportunity to tell him he was full of baloney.

Anonymous said...

Well well well.. guess I'm not the only one who thinks things aren't just rosey posey at RHS this year. I hope all those who knocked Ptacek during his years here are thinking twice. Remember, Cindy Clark was fired by Notre Dame...maybe there was a reason? At least she has her NC sidekick to "help" out. She practically lives out here! I'm not sure why we need another administrator...nothing will change until the NC crew is run out of town. Someone please wake the board up and let them know that they have a district to run...

Anonymous said...

Ptacek is a no Joe Clark. He was here for no other reason than to "fill out" his resume. He will now be a carpet-bagging superintendent till he retires with a BIG FAT PENSION. He was out for NO ONE, including the "kids", but HIMSELF.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someone is jealous. Ptacek is a good man and a very smart man at that...he really is no different than a Ken Hinton, Herschal Hannah, Jeanne Williamson, Cheryl Sanfilip, John Meisinger, Randy Simmons, Terri Dunn, and all the other administrators trying to pad their pensions. And why would anyone follow Lathan to Peoria if not to pad their pensions. And they really care about the "kids". At least Ptacek had the necessary qualifications.

D150 Teacher said...

On WIRL 1470 Radio today:

Peoria Public Schools will take another look at its policies involving discipline. There will also be a review of what specific punishment is handed out for cell phone use.

Peoria District 150 school board member Debbie Wolfmeyer says, "I know there's a thinking out there all the schools are out of control. I do not believe that's true."

"But," Wolfmeyer continues, "I do think we have some problem areas that are close to that."

Fellow board member Laura Petelle has suggested students themselves be part of the process. "If we can get the students to buy into it by participating in creating the limits it would be helpful," Petelle says. "I think it would also help (board members) understand what's going on with cell phone bullying in the schools."

Perhaps some of the board is "uprooting" their collective heads from the sand!

Sharon Crews said...

When the board can come up with some "sure" consequences for cell phone usage (such as asking parents to pick up all confiscated phones--and actually confiscating them), most kids will begin to conform to the rule. Following the rule right now is sort of "voluntary" because there are no sure consequences. When the board can put teeth into the rules, then they can find out who the real offenders are and deal with that smaller group--same as with all other rules for which the kids know there are no consequences.

Anonymous said...

What happened to Cindy Clark? she acts like she is all for the kids. I know for a fact that she used to slam kids against lockers and told the "Nun" to f-off. Now she is trying to be a saint. she is joke!! Please take that "Man" out of Rhs.I like to see her teach. she thinks she is a veteran teacher...NOT!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree they need to take that "Man" out of there. Dr. Lathan visited Rhs on Friday. Teachers were told to just act "normal". But that "Man" pre-arranged classes for Dr. Lathan to observe. Of course, those classes were IB, AP. That "Man" is sooooo fake

Sharon Crews said...

Principals in District 150 often send visitors and superintendents to the better classes.

Anonymous said...

Rhs' leader did it again. We didn't know we were on assembly schedule until this morning. Bells were all messed up again!!!Please get that "MAN" out of there. Even the kids call her "that man"

Sharon Crews said...

District will meet as usual at Monical's (Sheridan and Lake) at 6 p.m. on Sunday, February 12. Please come! I just noticed in a post (above) from quite some time ago, that a blogger thought that District Watch was for teachers. It's for anyone interested in District 150--some of us are former teachers, some are teachers, some are parents of 150 students but some have never been teachers. As yet, no administrators have come to our meetings but they would be welcome.

Sharon Crews said...

Of course, I meant that "District Watch" will meet.