Board Notes from 02-02-2016

Board Notes 02-02-2016

Good evening,

President Yarbrough, School board members, Superintendent McCormick, colleagues, and community members.

Lately I have been reading a great book called Teacher Wars, it is a book about the ebb and flow of education and the battle that teachers have had to fight for years in order to assure our students have had the best education possible and the forces out there that have gone against it.  We are one of the only countries that those that are furthest from the classroom are the ones making the decisions for our teachers and students.  Those closest to the work are the ones who should be making the biggest decisions.  Why in our country we have relied on politicians and billionaires to make decisions only educators should be making is hard to understand.

I know that in our district we are working towards making sure that those closest to the work make the biggest decisions about it.  I believe that our board and administration are starting to see the value in our teachers and their education and professionalism.

We will hopefully be going to the table soon to tweak the contract for next year.  We will be looking at memorializing and directing the collaboration that we already do in the district in our contract.  I am hoping our teams will get together soon to write out a sunshine list for the board.

VVTA has been working on getting more Professional Development out of our offices and I am proud to say that we are hosting two PDs on the use of Manipulatives run by our own Michael Towne.  We also are setting up a workshop on reducing student loans for teachers and we will be hosting yearly STRS meetings in the Fall.

When I walked into the Multi-Purpose Room for the School Board Meeting tonight, I was shocked to see all of the new furniture that has slowly made its way into the “boardroom” the past couple of months totaling somewhere near $100,000.  While I am appreciative of the new, softer chairs, I wonder if all of this was necessary.  How does this money spent on furniture help us meet the boards number 1 goal to assure that every student reads by 3rd grade?  We could have used the money spent here to pay for over 2,500 hours of intervention to help our students read!!! I believe that every dollar spent should be weighed against if it is helping us achieve the goal that the Board set to have every student reading by the end of 3rd grade, if it doesn’t help with that, we shouldn’t spend it.  Retaining high quality teachers and research based intervention for our students does that!  When we spend money for the union, we try to make sure we are doing what is best for our teachers and students according to our goals.  You should do the same.

As we continue to work hard to collaborate with the district, I hope we will always remember that what is best for teachers, is what is best for students.  Research finds that the more time teachers have to collaborate and the better they are paid, the better the students do.  We are excited about the Cal TURN conference in March, we know that it will help us to continue to find ways to work together.  Like we have been saying as a district, we need those that do the work to lead the work.  We want us all to continue to strive and assure that we do just that.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak.

Albert Trudel

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