Archives for April 2010

A dark day in CCS

"A layoff room." By flickr user Ricky.Montalvo.

On Friday, Apr. 23, the administration gave layoff notices to 113 teachers. Based on the staff allocations for next school year, there are more teachers than there are positions. Additionally, the administration projects a loss of 2,500 students for the 2010-2011 school year.

The areas of certification/licensure that are affected include: Visual Arts, English, Integrated Language/Arts, Spanish, Physical Education, Health, Music, Middle Childhood Education, Elementary (K-8 and 1-8), Early Childhood, Kindergarten–Primary, Life Sciences, Entertainment Marketing, Industrial Technology, Electronics and Job Training–Food Management Production.

Based on experience, past practice and history, CEA believes that too many teachers have been laid off for the following reasons:

* The loss of students has been steadily declining, with approximately 800 having left this school year.

* Human Resources hired more than 300 new teachers for this school year.

* More than 100 teachers have given notice that they intend to resign or retire at the end of this school year.

* Each year, about 50 teachers resign over the summer.

* Typically, the district hires no fewer than 100 new teachers each year.

* In past layoffs, teachers were recalled before the next school year started.

We hope that the district is not unnecessarily disrupting teachers’ lives and paying unemployment benefits over the summer, only to recall laid-off teachers when school starts.

CEA is working hard to safeguard the rights of laid-off members. Article 704 of the Master Agreement explains the process by which reductions in personnel are accomplished and delineates the rights of members while in layoff status.

A meeting for affected teachers will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Apr. 26, at the Columbus Downtown HS. Those teachers should be released from their school commitments to attend this meeting.

City program gets Columbus kids ready to learn

A new program will give families help getting their children ready for school. Columbus Kids is a new partnership involving more than 30 community organizations, created to champion the need for kindergarten readiness and school success. It’s the first of its kind in the nation. Our United Way, along with several major funders, aims to increase the early detection of developmental delays and speech, hearing or vision problems among preschoolers within the boundaries of Columbus City Schools. The Ready, Set, Learn initiative helps them get the intervention services they need to be ready to learn.

Among the partners are Columbus City Schools Education Foundation, the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, The Limited Foundation and individual donors.

The program will involve every neighborhood, one at a time, with the goal of involving all Columbus City Schools district preschoolers by 2013. Eligible children are 2½-4 years old and not yet attending kindergarten. They live or attend child care in either Weinland Park or Central City areas. Children in other areas within the Columbus City Schools district may opt in by taking part in a Learning Checkup event in the Weinland Park and Central City areas.

Parents can sign up through their child’s early care and learning program, home-care professional or by calling the hotline at 614-241-3089. Each will receive a $20 gift card each time they complete and turn in their child’s Learning Checkup. Each child also gets a free book.

CCS to apply for federal grant

Ohio was awarded $132 million in School Improvement Grant (SIG) money from the U.S. Department of Education. The award is part of $3.5 billion set aside in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and the federal budget.

“We’re grateful for these federal resources, which will greatly improve the ability of our lowest-performing schools to develop a strategy for improvement that fits their unique circumstances,” said Governor Ted Strickland.

CCS will apply on behalf of seven of its schools for federal money from the SIG grants. Each school can be awarded up to a total of $2 million per year for up to three years. Eligible schools include: Alum Crest HS, Champion MS, Columbus Global Academy, Linden-McKinley STEM Academy, Southmoor MS, Weinland Park ES and West HS.

During the following weeks, each school will develop its own plan and goals through the School Leadership Team in partnership with CCS. Senior FRs and principals will meet on Tuesday, Apr.13, to begin the process. Ohio school districts have until Apr. 30 to submit their applications. The Ohio Department of Education will announce in June which districts’ applications have been approved.