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34 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined: 05/07/2010
PrintPrint

The SDP Human Resources department has confirmed that they are now instituting a "hiring freeze" on all new hires. This includes teachers who have applied for restoration to service or are returning from parental leave. The reason for this was cited as the huge pool of current employees that now must be considered forced transfers from soon to be Renaissance Schools. This also means that the site selection process is being closed district wide to anyone but these current employees. It would appear that this defeats the whole purpose of site selection, which is to improve the quality of teaching staff at a given school, providing schools and candidates with the best fit. Now, qualified, potential employees who have been through the SDP application process and received letters from the SDP confirming their eligibility, are being shut out of the site selection process. Is this the solution that Arlene Ackerman was looking for?

Anonymous (not verified)

wow, somebody got paid $494,000 a year to screw things up. Amazing Philadelphia. "DEATH for AMERICA"

Anonymous (not verified)

It's "Death to America" not "DEATH for AMERICA."

pixanne (not verified)

I attended BOTH Phila. job fairs & had been looking forward to the possibility of being hired by the district. I can't believe that, after all the lines that I stood in to talk to principals and other school representatives, it sounds like Ackerman is not even going to consider hiring anyone outside the district's current staff anyway! It's bad enough to have to compete with other people in the same boat looking for work, but, to add all of these other teachers, too, is incredibly unfair, especially considering how the district has acted like they are in such dire need of teachers!

Offline
Joined: 05/07/2010

The SDP always puts a great deal of effort into recruitment, but it is amazing that these efforts were not scaled back given the reality that hundreds of district jobs would be lost due to newly formed charters. It is absolutely fair that these teachers at these schools are allowed to keep their jobs with the district. It is the district's handling of the situation that makes it unfair for many reasons.

It is unfair to the new teachers who were misled into thinking they could be hired by the district.
It is unfair to the HR people on the front lines - the ones who aren't paid the big bucks to make irresponsible decisions, who have had to deal with all of the worried and frustrated employees and potential employees who are calling and emailing them daily, wondering if they will have a job next September.
It is unfair to the empowerment schools who were granted the power to site select under the new contract, only to find that they have a limited pool of displaced district employees to choose from.
It is unfair to the taxpayer who fits the bill for unnecessary hiring fairs and recruitment efforts.
Most of all, it is unfair to the students who will be enduring the end result of a hastily carried out, poorly planned restructuring effort all in the name of $$.

For Pete's sake there's not even anything about this on the SDP website. You can still go on there and apply for a job with the district. Just go to the page labeled Office of Recruitment. Business as usual!

Anonymous (not verified)

It is a travesty that is causing tons of shake up in schools as every position that needs to be filled creates another position that needs to be filled somewhere else. This is crazy.

Anonymous (not verified)

I agree that SDP should not have had invited potential new hires to the job fair. It was not fair to anyone in attendance, especially since they assured the teachers that we would be first consideration.

But, I'm growing tired of all this complaining. As a new teacher, you have to pay your dues. I've been in a position w/SDP since November. I endure fighting, verbal abuse, sexual harrassment. Most new teachers don't make it at my school. I have persevered. I deserve a shot at a transfer before any new candidates, as do my colleagues. Not all Philly teachers are horrible; on the contrary. There are exceptional teachers at my empowerment school. We do the best we can under the circumstances. We don't have basic supplies (pencils, paper or even toilet paper in some cases) and we don't have any support; not from the students, the principal, or the public.

PS, for those not in the know, in order for veteran teachers to be eligible for site selection, they must have satisfactory ratings.

Offline
Joined: 05/07/2010

I'm sorry that you are so bothered by people speaking out about a system that is not doing right by our kids. As an SDP parent and a former teacher (with satisfactory ratings) I feel that I have a right to speak out. Maybe you missed my post in this discussion where I said it is absolutely fair that current teachers get priority before people designated as "new hires". The thing that I have a problem with is how this whole process is being carried out. It is almost as if it has been set up for failure and the issue of displaced staff being shuffled around at the last minute is a big part of that. Your point about veteran teachers needing to have satisfactory ratings becomes more complicated when you consider all of the uncertified principals (16?) out there who have conducted invalid performance evaluations. I agree 100% that there are some wonderful teachers in empowerment schools. I also think that people would be surprised to find that there are some wonderful district schools out there that have consistently made AYP in some not so great neighborhoods.

I'm also very sorry that you have "endured" fighting, verbal abuse and sexual harrassment. It is very troubling that you somehow feel that this is a right of passage as a first year teacher. Part of the problem is that somehow, people think that you have to endure these things when in reality you should not! This is why we have unions.

Anonymous (not verified)

Emmiles: "troubling?" get a life! The abuse is a fact that now union is going to change.. I'm not complaining here, just sharing what I know by my own observation and experience: new teachers endure more risky environments than vets. Why? Because we cover "In-School-Suspension" rooms, we cover for absent teachers 1st & 2nd period when the substitute hasn't shown up yet. (The classroom then becomes a magnet for ANY student who wants to show up and cause trouble) I could go on and on. When the kids know that you're new and have no idea what their name is, it becomes open season because they know it's so tough to report them or write them up. Frankly, I've enjoyed my first year as a new teacher at an empowerment school; yet it's not for everybody. The fact is that any new teacher, male or female, better have a thick skin. You WILL endure experiences the likes of which you'd never have imagined. As for the "union" doing something? Like I said, get a life! It's you & the kids; either you prove yourself as firm, fair & fun, or run for your life!

Anonymous (not verified)

Well said!

anonymous (not verified)

Wow! I have news for you. Abuse is NOT something that anyone should accept in ANY workplace and certainly not in a school. What kind of role model for children thinks that sexual or verbal abuse is par for the course? This has nothing to do with needing to be fun, fair and firm or having thick skin. The notion that abuse is something you should expect and accept is a major institutional problem. As for the union, if you and others in your building think that school climate is not properly addressed and that disciplinary referrals are not handled the way they should be, meeting as a group with your union rep would be one way to deal with that. Or you could throw up your hands, do nothing since you seem to be doing just fine!

Offline
Joined: 05/07/2010

I don't think anyone would argue the fact that being a first year teacher in most SDP schools is no picnic. In my first year I can remember thinking that someone should have taught me how to break up a fight. I was cursed at, even bitten but I never let any kid get away with any of it. Admittedly, if I had a less supportive principal, I probably would have been completely lost. Lack of support for discipline problems is rampant in our district... just look at the headlines today in the daily news. If I felt that my kid was being abused or even witnessing abuse on a daily basis there would be h-ll to pay.

It's funny how certain people dismiss the union but god forbid they should have to teach in a non-union school with no job security, less pay and less benefits. The fact is that school climate and discipline problems being swept under the rug could be dealt with if teachers would get together and organize. Guess what? If you as a teacher can't do anything about the abuse, your principal's not helping and you don't think the pft can do anything to help... the "educational management companies" are waiting in line to try their hand at it. If they succeed and more schools get taken over, there will be fewer and fewer union jobs left. The PFT will address school climate problems if you let them. Don't be afraid to GRIEVE!

Anonymous (not verified)

I wholeheartedly disagree. Veterans and novice teachers "endure" the same behaviors from children; the difference is that vets know how to handle that behavior. I've been in empowerment and non-empowerment schools, as a former veteran teacher, and have NEVER been disrespected, verbally abused, or anything of that nature. I don't even work in the school. The children have NO reason to listen to me; however, when I ask them to go to class or anything, they do.

In terms of what you deem "abusive" behavior from students, that is simply unacceptable. What is more unacceptable is that you have seemingly not done anything to report that behavior, the child doing the action has no consequence and will continue to treat others in this fashion. Teaching is not so insular--others will have children who say and do inappropriate things-- and you will have contributed to that hostile environment that you say novice teachers have to endure. That's unfortunate because there are tools, union and school-based, that help teachers and students who have experienced any kind of bullying.

Anonymous (not verified)

Actually covering 1st & 2nd period when a student is out happens to all teachers not just new teachers. I have been in the system for 27 years and I still cover classes, still have the same problems with kids as new teachers becasue as a subject teacher you only now a few. this is just a sign of our times. we need to work all together to educate our students and help them find the right paths and succceed in school.

trying to move (not verified)

I am a teacher who is trying to move to Philly from Wyoming. I specialize in kids with emotional and behavioral disabilities and want nothing more than to wk with inner city kids.
That being said, I agree that violence is never acceptable. I feel empathy for kids nowadays as they don't get what we got as kids, that being structure, boundaries, and no-nonsense rules about right/wrong. However, I have zero tolerance for any abuse or bullying in my room, and I have found that kids respect it...because they know I won't budge.
As for the hiring freeze, yeah I was disappointed because I applied right after it happened. However, I agree that Philly teachers should get first priority at those jobs. Who am I to hope that fellow teachers are jobless just so I can get a job. They have families to feed and a livelihood at stake too.
Yes, I hope to get a job out there...but I would never wish another teacher to not get it for my expense. I am working my butt off to find jobs elsewhere in PA... but teachers are being hit by our lack of money just as much as everyone else! There just aren't as many jobs...

Keith Newman (not verified)

Wyoming:
Welcome to Philadelphia. But your statement, "I have zero tolerance for any abuse or bullying in my room, and I have found that kids respect it...because they know I won't budge," frankly is naive.
Inner city schools vary greatly. A school with 99% free lunch is tremendously more difficult to work in than a school with 90% free lunch. Most schools do not have a bully prevention program. Often the school district punishes the victim, because after they can't take any more, they, frequently, are the ones who bring weapons to school. Many, many principals will not support your discipline policies. Some will even undercut you.
Sadly, many of the children, especially in the 99% schools only recognize bullying as physical force, and "bustin," is not "bullyin." This is partly why our jobs are so difficult and what experts refer to when they say there is cultural incongruity.
I wish you all the luck in the world, but don't think for one second that having strict policies separates you form other Philadelphia teachers, and the fact that you don't budge will be the source of your success.

Wyoming teacher (not verified)

Keith:
Oh I definitely know that all teachers try to take a stand against bullying and that my stand doesn't make me different from other teachers. All teachers I know (including my teaching friends in PA) share my same feelings and thoughts about management. I also wish people would realize their stereotypes about Wyoming schools being so different than city schools are way off base!! We have huge poverty rates and every school I have worked at there has big massive drug problems and violence problems! I know that it will look different in a city school, I am not that "naive", but I also know that every child deserves a chance at success and an advocate to help them get there!
Just because I am from a rural state does not make me naive! We have problems that would make people shrink... there's a reason people don't move to Wyoming... and its not the weather!
But what it all comes down to, is thanks for the advice on inner city schools... I am still trying very hard to get a job and remain optimistic about my classroom strategies. Although now I am looking at Pittsburgh, where they are actually hiring!

Anonymous (not verified)

STAY IN WYOMING!!! I am very thankful to have a job, but I would like to teach in a different school district.

Shelley (not verified)

I think it's really sad that we have so many teachers in this city who are so jaded and cynical. I'm a third-year teacher and, while I agree that teaching in Philadelphia can be difficult, I think it's a shame that so many of us give up so quickly on having positive expectations for our students. Kids DO mess up, and they DO misbehave, often in ways that I would never have thought another human being would act. But the moment we start saying that people need to accept this kind of behavior is the moment we start failing our kids. Yes, it's emotionally taxing to be optimistic. Yes, it often seems like you're fighting a losing battle. Yes, sometimes it's even scary when the 6-foot 8th grade boy starts yelling at you. And no, you can't always rely on anyone else to help you. But just because it happens doesn't mean it's okay. People who say they won't tolerate bad behavior aren't naive--they're effective teachers.

Anonymous (not verified)

So when this 6-foot 8th grader just laughs at you when you tell him to go back to class...what exactly do you do to no "tolerate" this behavior? Just curious...

R. McLaughlin (not verified)

Any news about the hiring freeze? I missed out on a great job at the Benjamin Rush Performing Arts School. By the time the HR processed my paper work the freeze took effect and I lost the job.
:-(

GLD (not verified)

I am wondering too if anyone knows when the hiring freeze is being lifted. I lost a great job at a great school because of the freeze. The day after my interview they froze.

Anonymous (not verified)

Does the freeze also include the new teachers coming in through the Philadelphia Teaching Fellows?

Erika Owens (not verified)

The District is going to honor its contracts with the Teaching Fellows and TFA, but as far as I know those teachers haven't actually been assigned positions yet either. They are just assured a position and, as I understand it, are basically ahead in line of new to the District, fully certified teachers.

tabeJubre (not verified)

i'm new... promise to brief round more regularly!

Anonymous (not verified)

NOYCE scholarship recipients commit to teaching to the school district. Why are they not given a chance to apply? If the commitment is not fulfilled, then the scholarship money has to be returned. How can they teach if there is a freeze?

anonymous (not verified)

I believe the freeze has been lifted. Question - Do the scholarship recipients have a time limit for fulfilling their commitment to teach within the district?

Erika Owens (not verified)

KYW reported last week that the hiring freeze was lifted, but it's still not clear what that means for all the teachers waiting to apply for jobs--from the article, the District expected to fill all its vacancies last week and THEN lift the freeze.

Anonymous (not verified)

Nope, I'm a teacher here and Philly and there is still a hiring freeze.

Anonymous (not verified)

If the school district and the PFT give senior teachers retirement incentives, no freeze, no layoffs. Why aren't they doing anything or saying anything?

Anonymous (not verified)

Principals have become abusive and bully their teachers and staff. They should be eliminated.

Anonymous (not verified)

I agree, many principals have become quite abusive. I have friends teaching at schools all across the city and the stories are the same. This was my first year teaching and my last. Mine, before I left to take a finance position, was verbally abusive, bullied me relentlessly. A few examples: she reprimanded me publicly, entered my room on a daily basis for no reason and pointed out insignificant details, called me into her office as soon as I came to school and questioned me continuously about my room, gave no notice about an observation, used no rubric for her observation, she even attempted to control where I ate lunch. Oh, did I mention she tried to leave the former teacher's student teacher in the room and pay me out of the school budget so that I wouldn't say anything?

Anthony (not verified)

This a might be a great idea and SDP Human Resources department is bringing positive change in the

institution. The teachers are one of the essential part of any educational institution and having qulified

teachers will help the institution to produce quality students. This a good process and also means that the

site selection process is being closed district wide to anyone as current employees as a positive

moivation.Here looking at the above discussion I see it has been positive and negative both factor on this

decision but we have to understand that there are differnet institutions who provide different way of

teaching and I have heard that in autism indiana they

provide sensor friendly facilities and I do not know that here SDP human resources does play important role

or not? Still there are many qualified teachers and who have to focus on providing applied behavior

analysis (ABA) should be the higher priority

Offline
Joined: 09/12/2011

I can't believe there is another hiring freeze. Where are all the teacher jobs? I know there are many schools that are short on teachers and really need to be filled. It is all crazy, there really should not be a hiring freeze....

Lyndsay

n/a
Anonymous (not verified)

Many schools are short on teachers, but there are still hundreds of teachers who are in layoff. Leveling will occur beginning of October. Unfortunately, new hires will be in line behind all of us in still in layoff, and then behind everyone who was previously already on the site selection eligibility lists.

This is not a good time to be jobhunting in education. Good luck!

Jesse Dziedzic (not verified)

What instructional read..

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