BEVERLY – Several teachers and staff approached the local Fort Frye School Board at its meeting on Wednesday evening.
Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Starcher said teachers approached her to speak to the board to share their concerns about the school layout.
Jennifer Young, a fifth-grade teacher, spoke about inequalities in the district and how inequalities affect student education and teacher morale. One of the topics she mentioned was disproportionate classrooms. One example she gave of inequalities was of specialist teachers (fine arts, physical education, art) who vied for a quiet place to teach and had to travel to four different school buildings to teach the fine arts programs. arts.
“So the amount of planning to teach, re-teach, build relationships, discipline, and homework in these varying size classes across the district has an impact on education.” Young said. âThe current setup creates many challenges and inequalities that impact our students. “
She encouraged the board to visit school campuses and âGet a glimpse of what a day in the life of Fort Frye is like. “
Jessica Kennedy, a music teacher, explained that specialist teachers are overwhelmed as they have to teach eight different levels in four different schools. She gave the example of a normal day at Beverly-Center Elementary School.
âThere is music, art and physical education all happening at the same time, and art and music are on stage together, there is no wall between us. These are just binders, “ Kennedy said. So it’s a fifth grade orchestra or fifth or fourth grade recorders being taught at the same time as art is trying to teach an art lesson. It’s not conducive.
Starcher explained that with the separation of the college, specialty teachers had to take over seventh grade classes because high school teachers had scheduling conflicts. She also said the district doesn’t know what to do with the music programs because they want to be able to offer everything on each site. Kennedy said she would still ask the board for the setup even if she didn’t have to support seventh grade music programs.
“I think what they are trying to say, what they have been trying to say for several years, is the durability of the setup that we have, this is what they are struggling with, and the choice of the Seventh grade for fine arts only made matters worse, “ Starcher said.
Starcher told the board that he needed to determine if he wanted to continue using the same setup, and if so, was he willing to spend the money to keep the setup working. She said based on a staff audit, the district is already overstaffed and could spend money to hire new staff or reassign staff to a new building.
Miranda Wilson, school psychologist, shared her concern to be able to help students when needed. She explained that she couldn’t be in all the schools in the district at once and that if she was needed somewhere, she had to give up what she was doing and travel 30 minutes or more to get there.
“I absolutely want to help and do what I can and I don’t feel like I can give my all because I’m not somewhere people can reach me”, Wilson said.
She said she went to each school about four times a month and didn’t think that was enough. She said she just wanted a way to get access to all the students, because “I’m not helping anyone in the car.”
“It’s a statement,” said StÃ©phanie Lang, member of the board of directors.
Board member Lloyd Booth said the board will hopefully come up with a plan to fix the configuration issues.
âI will just say that we really appreciate everything the teachers and all the staff do. “ said Kevin Worthington, another board member.
He said test results in the district show Fort Frye does the best in the county academically, and that’s thanks to the staff and teachers.
James Dobbs can be contacted at [email protected]