Archives for August 2010

NEA President visits CCS schools

National Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel stopped in Columbus on Wednesday, Aug. 25, as part of his week-long, multi-city, back-to-school tour. The veteran high school math teacher arrived at West HS at 6:20 a.m. on the first day of the new school year to meet and greet the staff.

West HS is one of seven CCS Priority Schools designated by the Ohio Department of Education. The seven schools could receive a total of $20 million in additional federal funding over the next three years as recipients of School Improvement Grants (SIGs). President Van Roekel spoke with teachers and administrators of West’s Innovation Team tasked with using SIG monies to facilitate the transformation of teaching and learning at the school.

NEA President Dennis Van Roekel, OEA President Patricia Frost-Brooks and CEA President Rhonda Johnson traveled from West HS to join Gov. Ted Strickland, Supt. Gene Harris and other dignitaries at South Mifflin STEM Academy to announce the award of a $550,000 service learning grant from the federal government.

Awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the “Bringing Learning to Life” grant partners include NEA, OEA, CEA, CCS and The Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology.

“Teachers will receive professional development to help them create more effective hands-on learning opportunities for students,” stated Van Roekel. “We look forward to seeing the work that comes out of this project; it is our hope that we will be able to replicate it in other places.”

“The grant is vital to the Columbus community,” agreed President Johnson. “It will allow the members of the Columbus Education Association to receive professional development that will help them continue to lead the way in restoring schools to their traditional roles as community hubs.”

After a tour of South Mifflin STEM Academy, Van Roekel, Frost-Brooks and Johnson traveled to Champion MS. The visit to Champion MS illustrated NEA’s Positive Agenda and Priority Schools principles. Teachers recruited to staff this high-needs school are paid an extra $4,000 a year.

 After having lunch with the staff, Van Roekel departed for Austin, Texas.

Welcome back!


CEA President Rhonda Johnson

Welcome back! We at the CEA are preparing for a great school year. However, we are starting on a bittersweet note. Seventeen teachers from Superintendent Harris’ layoff list remain reduced, and we continue to fight for their jobs. However, 96 teachers have been recalled to work (or declined positions), a slight victory for our vigilance. We also hear that the state has received funds that could be applied to teacher salaries, if the governor so chooses.

We have seen the results of last year’s tests. Results were mixed. One big marker, our graduation rate, showed a slight dip. But we know it won’t stay there long. We’ve already made a lot of progress, and this year marks the beginning of a redoubled reform plan. Thanks to a $1.25 million grant from the NEA Foundation, CEA, along with the school district and United Way of Central Ohio, will begin implementing our effort to increase academic achievement in the Briggs and Linden-McKinley feeder patterns. Thirteen schools will be the intense focus of a community-wide effort to help their children and families address obstacles blocking success.

[Read more…]

84 percent of laid-off CEA members have been given recall notices

On Friday, Aug. 13, the administration of the Columbus City Schools confirmed to CEA President Rhonda Johnson that 96 of 113 CEA members that had been given layoff notices in late April have since been issued recall notices. Below is the article that ran in The CEA Voice regarding the layoffs.

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.