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S.L.A.M day 1

By Timothy Boyle on Jun 23, 2011 11:55 AM

After the STEM fellowship program was canceled due to insufficient enrollment, I decided to teach summer school. Here is my first day experience with S.L.A.M. (Summer Learning And More)

Today started off great.

I got to sleep in. I got to walk to work for the first time ever. When I arrived to my summer school site this morning I couldn't be more happy about what I found.

Jackson Elementary School has the most welcoming appearance of any school I've been in. The doors open up into a pristine hallway lined with the flags of the students' nationalities lining the walls. The bulletin boards have current news and actually interesting events listed.

By 9:10 a.m. everything changed.

The principal and acting IRF (instructional reform facilitator) of the summer program welcomed everyone to the building and told the assembled teachers that they had received an email from the District this morning. Like every other time I've heard "we got an email from the District this morning," the news wasn't good.

Due to yet another staffing snafu, nine teachers were to be bumped out of the building and have to pick another school tomorrow morning at 10:30. I was relatively certain I would be called as my summer school seniority is quite low. Sure enough my name came up as number nine.

So, I lose practically all of the two days of orientation and have no idea what school I'll be able to pick tomorrow. It's a big system, budgets are in flux, people are unpredictable, I get it. But I'd really appreciate if the District would start getting more things right in terms of staffing ... like, soon.

See everybody else who got bumped tomorrow at Franklin High.

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Comments (11)

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on June 23, 2011 1:40 pm

That's about right. I was thrilled to get an old friend of the system as a partner for kindergarten, only to find that we have 43 names between us and supplies for 18, including one set of teacher's guides. For a totally scripted program, that is an issue.
Good luck picking !!

Submitted by Anne T (not verified) on June 23, 2011 4:59 pm

Been there done summer school.Last year I was at one that ran for the whole day. I needed the money and summer school was available.

Never again. It was bad enough not having enough supplies for the 26 fourth graders in the room, but the music "teacher" had no control of the kids and I had to sit in music with them 2 preps a week. And consider the fact that half the kids in the room were there for enrichment, not remediation but everyone has to do the same coursework. 13 kids in one classroom for remediation would have been hard enough, but factor into that the bored enrichment kids and the three special ed kids that have TSS workers (but not for summer school).

If I can help it, I will never do this again.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 23, 2011 7:10 pm

Guess Anne T didn't have any supplies because the School District was paying 12 month principals and vice principals "big bucks" for sitting in their empty buildings last summer while their colleagues ran SLAM programs. Guess 440 noticed this "oversight" because today each of the summer high school SLAM sights had a plethora of principals and vice principals tripping over each other. Hope Helen Gym visits each sight and takes a head count at @10AM.... I'm sure the "extras" will not be there too early or late. One may ask... why do we need so many 12 month high school principals and assistant principals if the School District runs programs in @30% of the high schools? Looks like 17 of the 60 high schools have programs this summer. That means lots of administrators collecting "big bucks" for what? Sitting in a colleague's school deciding who should ring the next bell or who's making the next coffee run?

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 24, 2011 7:07 am

Besides the "official" administrators, there are also the Lehigh administrators in training. It is comical but also sad that so much money is being wasted. Administrators should go back to 10 month salaries.

Submitted by imsteena (not verified) on June 24, 2011 6:00 am

During training yesterday, there were more administrators than teachers. That is an awesome feeling when you just got a pink slip due to budget cuts. Thank you SDP.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 24, 2011 4:57 pm

Who are the lehigh administrators. Surely they aren't hiring new admins while laying off current ones.. We had about 7 admins at my site today... It was actually humorous as they overspoke and contradicted each other during the meeting.. Should be a fun summer..

Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on June 24, 2011 4:47 pm

Lehigh Univ. has a program which trains Philadelphia teachers to be administrators. It is free to those who are accepted into the program. This year they spent little time in schools shadowing administrators. They are to "shadow" administrators during summer school. They aren't guaranteed an administrative job but they obviously want to be an AP or principal.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on June 24, 2011 1:35 pm

Just to add Day 2 of SLAM: Several teachers met at the school to plan for summer school, only to be told that enough students were not registered, thus we may not have a class to teach.

Classes were given to teachers with the most seniority in summer school. This is completely unbelievable that the district waited until this time to let us know that summer school enrollment was low.

Did anyone else experience this?

Submitted by Timothy Boyle on June 24, 2011 3:58 pm

 At the reassignment this morning teachers were told that the reason for the reassignment was smaller enrollment than Staffing projections. In the original SLAM confirmation e-mail it was stated that teacher's positions may be eliminated due to enrollment drops. That said, registration was done on the 16th. That gives 440 four days before SLAM orientation to figure it all out. 

Submitted by Jen (not verified) on June 24, 2011 3:10 pm

My school is overenrolled. We have more children than space (e.g. 36 kindergarteners per class, 30 3rd graders per class), supplies not arrived yet, and then teachers were taken away. I love Ackerman's insistence that summer school is research-based as a way to improve student achievement. So, in 18 days, one teacher can make up a year's worth of work in an overcrowded classroom for a struggling student.
Real geniuses are running this district, man.

Submitted by Meg (not verified) on June 24, 2011 4:54 pm

It's even worse - they let every child whose parent did not want them at home enroll as well as those who need it. I looked at the second grade list and found one child with an IEP who should not be here, since we will not be able to meet his in class needs, three of 8 who need the additional time and one who could read the script and teach the class. Once she gets bored - LOOK OUT. She will become a behavior problem, quickly.
Not mine, mind you since I was offered kindergarten, but someone's. The teachers already started asking what happens to those who do not attend. Can anyone answer? Are we as a school district retaining this year? We threaten all the time, but never do..,

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