Thursday December 12, 2013
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In the Payson Roundup "Our View" of January 25, 2011, the editorial speaks to the great progress that PHS made in having failures decline. They discuss a 14% drop but a number between 20 and 25% still failed. That story is here: http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/201...
Today, the editorial takes a harsher view of the failure rate at PHS. "But based on the class-failure rates, it looks like if the administration is pressuring teachers to pass students no matter what — it’s not working. Either that or the failure rate ought to be much higher than 27 percent and we’ve got a brain-crushing problem on our hands." http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/201...
It appears that instead of moving forward the last two years of the regime change, the school is going backwards. The original story from January 25, 2011 is here: http://www.paysonroundup.com/news/201...
Clearly there currently is a "Reign of Terror" in the district where staff is afraid to be identified. In a word, "shameful". Our View states: "So you can lead a teacher to a ruberic — but you can’t make it fair unless you’re willing to level with teachers and parents and stick to clear criteria that aren’t just an excuse to get rid of someone you don’t happen to like." This is the same Our View group that wrote a glowing editorial about the previous Superintendent, yet he is the very one who put this ridiculous "rubric" into play with board approval.
One can draw their own conclusions. I have drawn my conclusion. Without any buy in from students who clearly are disengaged with the school, there will not be any forward progress. No wonder Payson Education Center, headed by a previous discarded Payson School District administrator, is rapidly increasing enrollment. From approximately 25 students several years ago to over 60 students last year. At 4k to 5k per student in state aid, clearly their success is part of PUSD's downfall.
As well, take a look at the November 23, 2010 by the former principal who now has no comment, "The current freshmen, the graduating class of 2014, have already achieved a new level of success compared to previous years. This freshman class, with the highest pass rate level when compared to previous data, is an example of what happens when standards, instruction and
academic support programs combine to provide multiple ways to reach academic goals."
Here is the link:
Staff committed to consistency, common goals
by Kathe Ketchem
Consider this: At that time, subsequent to bad press from ousting the H.S. administration under the pretense of "budget" and clearly misusing the newly changed Reduction In Force law, there was a need to convince the public that Payson High School was now on the right path with these new "golden" practices. Proof of the pudding is in the eating, so they say. Fast forward two years. Failure rates are up, teachers are afraid to speak and there is "no comment".
Let me just say, candid discourse is how a system becomes stronger and problems are solved. When the staff is "afraid" it is a sign of a dysfunctional despotic system. Not good for kids, parents, teachers or the community.
I believe our new superintendent has a golden opportunity to step in here and begin to influence the return of a positive climate and culture at the high school. With a rookie principal, he has the ability to mold and shape a culture of openness where teachers feel valued and safe to express thoughts and opinions without fear of recrimination. This would also be true for the district and most certainly the School Board. Especially with three new members coming aboard (no pun intended)
Additionally, he has an opportunity to establish data points at all the schools that can be followed longitudinally by the public and spur open discourse around areas needing improvement while celebrating success. I recently spoke to an elementary teacher who said that their principal stated she did not care about test scores. While we don't want to place everything on test scores, I'm not entirely sure it's healthy to be cavalier about them. That's how you end up in school improvement.
In any case, my best to him.
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