A Teacher's Voice

Experiences are key to learning

This summer, my wife and I are taking our first vacation without kids in 23 years. We have been fortunate to have taken our daughters all around the world. They have experienced cities, mountains, oceans, museums, and more. Travel enables people to see the world in new and different ways, and provides background for new learning.

We also exposed them to whatever enriching things we could in the Cleveland area, visiting parks, museums, zoos, going to concerts and plays, music lessons, camps, and much more. Our daughters had every possible advantage and incorporated their varied experiences into their learning in and out of school. 

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 1:56 PM, 08.01.2017

CH-UH BOE should be able to hear directly from all school stakeholders

What are boards of education elected to do? According to adopted policies, their primary purpose is make policies and to hire a superintendent of schools who will enforce them. I would agree with this statement, but would add that they are also elected to ensure that the interests, values and needs of the community they represent are being met in the operation of the schools.

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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 12:08 PM, 06.29.2017

Staffing decisions should prioritize connections and stability

In April, without any public discussion, the CH-UH Board of Education (BOE) decided to privatize the before- and after-school programs. The primary reason was economic.

Before- and after-school care is not seen as the school district’s main mission. One could make the case that as long as families have access to before- and after-school care for their children, the district should not have to shoulder the burden of organizing, supervising, staffing and recruiting for the programs at each of our elementary schools.

I believe that discussion with the public prior to the board taking action could have helped determine if there could have been a better solution or confirm that the proposal was best.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 1:38 PM, 05.31.2017

Opinion: Short-term benefit shouldn't outweigh potential harm of Ohio Senate Bill 85

Bad legislation is still bad, even if it might benefit our school district’s short-term bottom line.

Ohio Senate Bill 85 (SB85) was introduced in late March to expand our state’s already bloated voucher system. School vouchers damage the public interest by allocating tax dollars to support families whose children were already slated to go to private or parochial schools. Supposedly, these children are being saved from the so-called “failing” public schools, but most parents of these children never intended to make use of public schools anyway.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 11:40 AM, 05.02.2017

Teachers union draws on parent input in contract negotiations

Last school year the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union conducted a listening project with various parent groups throughout our community. Our purpose was to find out what parents like about their child’s school as well as what they believe needs to be changed. In March 2016, I reported out some of our findings in the Heights Observer.

In preparing for contract negotiations last spring, the concerns we heard from parents were fresh in our minds. The first union issue brought to the negotiating table was “How can we ensure the success of our partnerships with parents and the community?”

We advocated for a wrap-around services commission dedicated to coordinating supports that outside agencies offer in our schools. From our own knowledge and discussions with parents, we know that there are great things happening in all of our schools. However, sometimes a need exists that is not filled.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 7:11 PM, 03.30.2017