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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Now the district cares about ESE kids?

I personally brought ESE problems to the districts attention this time last year and the districts response was to rewrite IEPs to take away services to save money.

Then last Christmas numerous teachers brought attention to problems at an ESE workshop that the district had, at the time I applauded it as better late than never. I might not have been so charitable had I known the districts responce was going to be to ignore their concerns. 

Fast forward to last Saturday when all the employees in the district received the e-mail below.  

District Employees,
In an effort to increase transparency in our organization with all aspects of Exceptional Student Education (ESE) services we have developed an ESE Solution Center. The Solution Center has been established to create an open and safe line of communication for parents, employees, and the community to report any concerns related to ESE staff, support, or services district-wide from individual classrooms, schools, and the district office.   This is to ensure compliance with IDEA requirements and to improve transparency, accountability, and customer service.  When calling you may choose to remain anonymous or provide contact information.  Every email and call will be addressed.  
All concerns that are routed to the Solution Center will be investigated by staff. All calls and the results of each investigation will be reported to me monthly. I have included the email address and phone number for your reference.  We will promote the information district-wide and to parents and the community.  
ESE Solution Center
—  Telephone number  904-348-7853
Please take advantage of this resource so we can collectively own the improvement process of ESE services.
Nikolai P. Vitti, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

First let me say an e-mail sent on a Saturday says low priority to me but lets give that the benefit of the doubt.

I have heard two reactions to the e-mail and neither were, great the district finally cares and is going to take ESE issues seriously. The first was this was going to be used as a gotcha moment and it could come back to bite teachers.

The second was the district created all these problems mostly by ignoring problems and it's going to take more than an e-mail to prove the district really cares after all the ESE director after a state investigation revealed systemic problems got a promotion.

Do you see another problem here perhaps as big as treating ESE like an unwanted step child? The district has a credibility problem, teachers don't believe in what it is doing. Vitti got a bump when he arrived, people were optimistic that things would change but now less than two years in teachers are more fearful and distrustful than ever.     

If we are to be successful, if we are going to turn this around then it's going to take a lot more than an e-mail sent on a Saturday.

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