There was no shortage of issues during the first week of the school year. The following are the concerns about which the Alliance staff and officers were most contacted about:
Schools with half-time librarians:
There are 36 schools in the district that do not have a librarian assigned full time to the school. Eighteen librarians cover those 36 schools. Since the district eliminated the librarian assistant position, these 36 school libraries are not staffed half of the time. Additionally, librarians in many schools have been assigned textbook duties (which many library assistants did previously). This takes additional time away from library duties/responsibilities.
The Alliance leadership has pursued and will continue to pursue this concern through conversations with school board members in an effort to get 18 library assistant positions
reinstated to help cover the 36 schools.
Teachers have reported a number of concerns with the new gradebook. Secondary teachers have reported that when entering grades they may have as many as 21 screens to look through. This will make it difficult to meet the district requirement of a minimum of two
grades per student per week. There are also concerns about not being able to input grades after 11:00 PM. The Alliance will be taking this issue to the first Teacher Consultation meeting with the administration scheduled for September 13.
Safety concerns for cafeteria workers:
Some schools have reported safety concerns for cafeteria workers. SAISD cafeteria employees have been assigned to handle trash disposal responsibilities previously handled by custodians.
The employees have to pull the very large bags filled with trash and put them into a bin. The bags are so heavy that it generally takes two employees to pull each one out of the trash can. The bin in which they place the trash bags is about 5 feet by 5 feet and about 4 feet high. The bin then has to be pushed out to the dumpsters. It may take four employees to control this large bin. Once they get the bin to the dumpster, they have to pull the heavy bags out of the bin and get them into the dumpster. There have already been some injuries.
There are also concerns about the cleaning of the steam tables as well as some other additional tasks that have been assigned to cafeteria employees this year.
Alliance staff has alerted the central administration to the concerns and will pursue the issues through Consultation or presentations at school board meetings.
Computer replacement plan:
Teachers have expressed numerous concerns related to the district’s computer replacement plan under which any computer five years of age or older is being removed from campuses, whether the computer is working or not.
The administration is striving for equity and has a goal to make sure software-based interventions and staff productivity tools can be utilized throughout the system. Some teachers have contended that they use their older computers in a variety of ways that are helpful, and they would still like to be able to keep them in addition to the new computers.
There has also been a lag between removal of old computers and delivery of new ones because the district experienced a number of delays from the vendor.
The Alliance leadership will pursue this issue via presentations at school board meetings or Consultation. If this is happening at your worksite, please contact the Alliance at 225-7174.
Pre-K and Head Start
Several issues have surfaced from early childhood teachers – the curriculum, home visits, and the role of the Parent Advocate. While a Pre-K Textbook Selection Committee recommended, and the school board approved, Frog Street as the Pre-K Curriculum, the district administration has bypassed that decision and had told teachers that Frog Street is only to be used as a supplement. The Alliance leadership will be meeting with teachers on this and other early childhood issues and taking the issues directly to a school board meeting.