I sent the email below to Durham Public School board members today. If you live in Durham and agree, please follow suit.
Dear School Board members,
I hope you are all well, and I thank you (sincerely) for your service.
Please note these excerpts from Greg Childress’s Herald Sun and Durham News articles regarding DPS’s short supply of substitute teachers (HS_DPS_Subs), and consider the long-term picture, backwards and forwards.
* “There are a lot of substitutes who don’t want to pick up jobs because of behavior problems,” Jarmon said. “There are some schools substitutes just don’t want to work at, and the children know it.”
* “There are some cases where school administrators are on top of it, but a lot of them are not,” Jarmon said. “You can tell the ones who don’t have it together because they’re always short on subs.”
* [L’Homme] also said DPS is going to provide professional development to schools staff to help them “build a strong, consistent core of substitute teachers who know the school and become part of the community.”
* “We’ve got to pitch in,” Forte-Brown said. “I know it’s hard, but if you’re a team player, you have to be down for the kids.”
Please investigate the schools that are ‘always short on subs’. Check out their teacher turnover rates. If the latter are high, contact the Durham Council of PTAs to discuss with them any experiences they have had with those schools. While many DPS schools have wonderful school communities, I have experienced other DPS schools whose cultures have, for years, inhibited inclusive parent and community involvement. Until you address this wound, starting with the leadership and the key players at those schools, you are going to have a hard time getting DPS families to pitch in. Even team players need collaboration on the field.
Melissa Rooney, Ph.D.
DPS Parent (Creekside, EK Powe, Lowe’s Grove Middle, Jordan High, Durham School of the Arts)