Junipero Serra High School
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I believe that administrators have failed the teachers of Serra High. (See my post on SDUSD general counsel Mark Bresee.) Teachers have a right to know exactly where they stand, and not live in fear that maybe their boss thinks they're not doing the right thing. One problem is that there is no real evaluation system for teachers. Evaluations are very subjective and based on minimal observations. Teachers should be observed by professionals from outside the school, and they should be given precise feedback about their performance.
Also, the district should provide teachers with specific rules about fees, and those rules should be district-wide, not just based on which school received a parent complaint.
ADMINISTRATORS HIDE FROM PROBLEMS, AND HAVE NO SYSTEM FOR SOLVING THEM
Administrators and unions and teacher culture don't encourage teachers to engage in open, honest communication with anyone: not parents, not students and certainly not other teachers. They might say they do, but teachers and principals know that district superintendents and other officials, including the board, want them to keep a low profile. They know that the sound that officials love to hear is the sound of silence.
It is not surprising that the teachers at Serra High are clueless as to how to solve problems. They think if they band together they become untouchable; this is part of the delusion of mob psychology. But the board should hear their demands as a cry for help. The board should show some leadership at Serra High School. I feel sorry for the principal. He knows that if he doesn't support the teachers they will turn on him.
I agree with the eight speakers at SDUSD's recent board meeting that the board should do something about Sally Smith's complaints about Serra High School. But the board should not simply silence Smith as the speakers wish; it should discuss the complaints in a public forum.
One of the questions that should be asked is, "Why do these staff members claim to fear they might lose their jobs?" It could be paranoia, or it could be that they are really just angry and don't want to admit it. They want to appear as victims. That's what happened at Castle Park Elementary.
The teachers at Castle Park Elementary became so drunk with power, thanks to the legal tactics of the same attorney Mark Bresee who is giving advice at Serra High School, that they went out of control. Well, they'd been out of control even before Mark Bresee helped them cover up criminal activity.
Teachable Moments: SD Unified considers ways to bring in money
By Marsha Sutton, SDNN
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
...Eight speakers - three staff members, three parents and two students - addressed the board during public comment to ask trustees for assistance in ending what they called the bullying by Serra High School parent Sally Smith of teachers and students.
Teacher Joe Schmidt said Smith has created an “atmosphere of fear” at Serra with “baseless” concerns and complaints. “It is time we take our school back,” he said.
Counselor Susan Skinner called Smith’s complaints frivolous, and physical education teacher Lorene Dabney, in tears, said Smith is “ruining the programs that support students.”
[Maura Larkins' note: Lorene Dabney is likely the Serra High staff person with initials "LD" who recently advised Sally Smith's daughter that it would be appropriate for her to look for another school to attend.]
Senior Lexie Ryan, a member of the School Site Council, said the school suffers from a “hostile environment that Ms. Smith has helped create.” To board members, she said, “You are elected to help the students.”
[Maura Larkins' note: The board is also elected to obey the law.]
Parents said the problems go beyond Smith’s zeal to eliminate illegal parent fees for programs that must be provided at no charge. They described “a culture of fear and intimidation” and said teachers “live in fear” as a result of Smith’s “harassing emails and threats.”
One parent told trustees, “It is your duty to protect us.”
Board members made no comment, although Nakamura thanked the Serra speakers for addressing the board. Serra High School is in Nakamura’s sub-district.
SCHOOL SITE COUNCIL MEMBERS 2009-2010
Mike Jimenez, Principal
Jann Allen- Counselor
Suzie Fore, Math
Mike Morales- Math
Matt Medina- Math
Keri Pisapia, Special Education (PHOTO BELOW)
[Wait a minute. Do we have a bit of nepotism going on here? Is Keri Pisapia related in any way to
John Pisapia, the Athletic Director, who has been very involved in getting rid of Sally Smith? Did Keri Pisapia recuse herself from the vote on Sally Smith?]