News and Alerts

MEMORANDUM

 

 

Memo To:   Dr. Kriner Cash, Superintendent, BPS
                  Members, Buffalo Board of Education

From:         Philip Rumore, President, BTF

Date:          May 8, 2020

 

Subject:     Destruction of Teacher Morale


You and most City Hall Administrators, obviously, don’t know or care about the tremendous stress that teachers (and parents) are under.

 

Teachers are working all hours to reach out to and teach their students using platforms that are often overloaded (and which many have received little or no training), encountering great difficulty reaching students and parents via internet or phone, having their own children at home – to name a few.

 

Yet, those at City Hall who are not trying to work with 30 – 150 or more students under these circumstances continue to direct the already greatly stressed teachers to add additional layers of stress on them.

  • Not only are teachers being asked to report the undefined “contacts” with students, this week they are being asked, on May 6, 2020, to go back to April 20, 2020 to report on May 8, 2020 said contacts.

Aside from the difficulty in determining if they are/were in contact with a student, there is no definition of “contact”.

Enclosed correspondence from Darren Brown and Principal Lynn Piccirillo – there are many similar ones. We note that Darren Brown thanks teachers for feedback. Please advise us of the names of the teachers who provided said feedback and why said document wasn’t provided to all teachers for input (“A”).

  • Some administrators are writing teachers admonishing them for not meeting their (the administrators) demands for “contacts”.
  • There is no explanation co-teachers who have the same class are to complete said “procedure”.
  • We have been informed that the “system” was not operating on the first day of reporting.
  • Some schools (#082) for example want teachers to provide “contact” information on both Schoology and this program. Some teachers, Special Ed/Speech, are already completing “contacts” on Medicaid forms.
  • For a teacher who has 150-160 students, they would be making over 20 calls/day with parents receiving 5-6 different calls/day.
  • A new Grading policy was implemented without teacher input or a request for teacher concerns.

o Total possible points varies for many of my students so the examples in the document are helpful but do not take into account all representations. For example, what about students who have been suspended or have exempt absences from class? Point totals for these students differ from others and will impact grades to a larger degree accordingly if denominators are locked in place.

o When I mark new assignments after 3/13 as exempt, the denominator for my point totals don’t change, nor do the actual scores of students. Will the denominators change on Saturday after the district does the final lock? Unless I missed it, I don’t see that being addressed in grading policy directions.

o Exempting, modifying, manipulating grades and values to reflect values predetermined by the district to be appropriate – Specifically page 5 states “Please be mindful, however, that while we want our students to be successful as we engage in remote learning, this Quarter 3 grading guidance should not yield increases of more than approximately 30-35%.

o Some language unclear.

o Just one of the confusing sections states “Continue to collect work and provide meaningful, affirmative feedback that students and families are experiencing. Use data from Quarters 1 and 2 to make targeted plans to support students at risk of not meeting grade level standards. Students who have had trouble connecting with the school during this period of extended closure should also be included.” How is this to be done, how do teachers determine the needs of students “who have had trouble connecting”?

 

LESSON PLANS

Enclosed please find just two (2) of what is being asked of teachers (there are more). One is from School #048@39, the other is from School #076. (“D”, “E”).

 

Indeed we have been informed that the principals at #037, #065 and #059 are asking Math and ELA teachers for a 12-minute video of each class!! This is in addition to everything else they are demanding. Since they are the same, we assume this came from City Hall (“B”, “C”).

 

What if a teacher is a “push in” teacher e.g., ENL with many different grades and levels.

 

These are but a small sample of the anger and concerns of teachers who, unlike those who promulgate these edicts, are on the front lines every day working tirelessly to educate their students under extremely difficult circumstances.

 

Almost every correspondence to teachers from City Hall (the District) praises the teachers, honors their work, long hours and commitment. However, to most teachers, in light of the above and previous correspondence to you, they are hypocritical, hollow and sham statements.

 

You, at City Hall, have no clue as to the tireless efforts they are putting forth or you wouldn’t continue to ignore them with edicts that have provided no input before being imposed on them.

 

Apparently, you don’t care. In addition, we have still not received a response to the correspondence sent to the District since March.

 

PR:ls

 

Enclosures: “A”, “B”, “C”,”D”, “E” (Click Here) If the link is not clickable, copy and paste the following into your web browser. http://www.btfny.org/email/2020/docs_5.8.2020.pdf

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