Solutions that don’t break the bank, reinvent the wheel or marginalize our teachers are within our grasp. We could have rigorous classes, safe and disciplined schools and treat teachers like valued colleagues rather than easily replaceable cogs, and we could do so tomorrow if we wanted. Disclaimer, this is an opinion and commentary site and should not be confused as a news site, and you should know that quite often people may disagree with the opinions posted herein.
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Saturday, October 17, 2015
Is superintendent Vitti pumping a disproportionate amount of resources into the Grasp Academy? (rough draft)
The Grasp academy is a school just for kids with dyslexia
and its related disabilities. Superintendent Vitti and one of his children have
dyslexia so I think it is fair it say his involvement is personal.
Now let’s look at the numbers.
According to the Times Union there are 250 kids there. If you go to the Grasp Academy web-site there
are sixteen teachers which puts the student teacher ratio at 15.625 to one, which is
good but hardly remarkable.
Though the Academy also has six ESE/VE teachers to assist
the classroom teachers which drops the ration down to 11 and a third to one. Now we
can roll our eyes a little bit.
The Grasp Academy has 2 guidance counselors for 250 kids and
that is incredible. Most schools have a ratio of 550-600 to one, not 125 to
one. Now some of you might be thinking one counselor for middle school and one
for elementary school. Well at my school we have 160 or so kids and one guidance
counselor and our grades go from 6-12 and beyond.
The grasp academy also has its own dedicated art, music and PE
teachers for 250 kids. I asked a friend at an elementary school with six
hundred kids how many of above they had and they told me one of each. 3 for 250
at the Grasp Academy, 3 for 600 at the elementary school.
The school also has nine paraprofessionals and three reading
interventionists which blows other larger schools out of the water and if we include
resource teachers and reading interventionists into the student teacher ration now we are at
little over 8 to one and the temperature of your blood should be starting to go
Now some of you might ask aren’t these disabled kids and don’t
we spend more to educate them so they can have extra resources and smaller class sizes? The state
doesn’t recognize dyslexia as a disability but it’s my bet most of the kids
there are either designated having varying exceptionalities or come with 504
plans which would bring in a little bit more money, a little bit, not a ton, and
certainly not 8-1 or two guidance counselors money.
At my school which is a center school for profoundly
disabled children all of which have high matrix numbers, the state’s funding
formula, there are fourteen classroom teachers, five resource teachers and two
support teachers and as I mentioned just one guidance counselor. That gives us
a classroom average of almost 11 and a half to one which drops to 7.6 to one
when we factor in support and resource teachers. http://www.duvalschools.org/domain/2690
The same type of kids at my school who go to Ed White are in
classes that are 15-17 to one and they have a designated PE teacher.
Now might the Grasp Academy have other sources of money?
Sure it’s possible but nothing was mentioned in a recent Times Union article
and nobody there will return my e-mails.
This is the bottom line, shame on us as a society for
ignoring the plight of so many children with dyslexia for so long and kudos to
the district for finally taking steps to help them but you know who also needs extra
resources? Children who don’t have the same address as the superintendent. Why
are their needs going unmet?