On October 24, the SAISD Board of Trustees, upon their request after presentations by teachers on October 17, heard a report from the SAISD ECE administration on the Pre-K/Head Start/PPCD program. School Board members asked many excellent questions. In response to Board member James Howard’s questions about home visits, Ms. Brightman said that home visits are required for Head Start and are recommended, but not required, for Pre-K. She also stated that home visits can be held at the school or a neutral site. Board member Olga Hernandez expressed concerns about the amount of time teachers are having to put in after school and on weekends in order to complete home visits and COR. She asked that the attorney for the district look into whether the teachers have to be compensated for the additional time and/or whether an extra conference period could be provided. Ms. Hernandez also asked when Frog Street
was ordered, and Ms. Brightman said it had been ordered within the two weeks prior to the meeting. Board member Ruben Cuero asked questions about why the district had not piloted COR before going to scale with it. When Ms. Brightman reported that the administration’s intention is for teachers to use both HighScope and Frog Street, Board member Patti Radle asked whether teachers would have the liberty to decide how to use the two programs. Ms. Brightman responded, “Absolutely.”
A week before, at the October 17 Board meeting, several teachers had spoken passionately about their concerns regarding curriculum and the paperwork demands and how, as a result, many teachers feel they have become “observers rather than teachers.” Alliance president Shelley
Potter had also presented the Board with the results of a survey conducted by the Alliance.
Since the October 24 Board meeting, the administration has taken several actions. Deputy Superintendent Betty Burks met with elementary school principals to clarify that home visits are not required for Pre-K teachers but that they are recommended. She clarified that the home visits, for both Pre-K and Head Start, can occur at school or a neutral site and noted that the relationship with the parent, not the location, is the most important thing on which to focus. She told the principals that the district will cover the cost of subs for teachers to do the home visits. Principals were provided information on mileage reimbursement so that they can provide that information to teachers.
Ms. Burks is also following up on the possibility of some Pre-K/Head Start professional development being conducted during the regular workday. Principals were scheduled to meet with the LEDs and Ms. Brightman for discussion about COR. The Frog Street materials should be out to the schools by the end of this week.
The Alliance’s group grievance, which has 149 signatures to date, is moving forward. A tentative date of November 15 has been set for the Level 1 grievance hearing. A separate email regarding the hearing will go out to those who have signed on to the grievance.
Alliance leaders will continue to keep you updated.