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Monday, December 16, 2019

Superintendent Greene says help is on the way for teachers that need reading endorsements though I think she kind of missed the point.

To refresh your memory the state with little direction said many teachers now had to get a new reading endorsement which can be an arduous years long task, if they are going to work with certain students. Several teachers reached out to me and said this was overwhelming and there seemed to be little rhyme or reason to who had to take the classes so I reached out to Greene and the school board with their concerns.

First let me say I appreciate superintendent Greene for getting back to me, it can't always be especially to someone who can be a critic, and it's to her credit that she did.

That being said I think she may have missed the point a little.

This was her note, where she explains what the district has and is doing.

Dear Mr. Guerrieri,

Thank you for sharing feedback from our teachers regarding the reading endorsement requirement as outlined in HB 7055. As a point of clarification based on teacher feedback, HB 7055 requires endorsements for reading teachers instructing all K-12 students in need of Tier III intensive reading interventions. This feedback is valuable as the district prepares for implementation of this requirement effective July 1, 2020.

The Office of Professional Development has communicated the requirements of this ruling to teachers through a variety of communication tools and has provided information to school-based administrators to share with their teachers.  Attached are supporting documents sent to teachers and administrators to use as a guide to make decisions regarding this requirement.  We do recognize that some teachers are just learning about this requirement, and others have just recently been put in a classroom situation that would require the Reading Endorsement.   The addition of face-to-face Q&A sessions regarding the reading endorsement may have alleviated some of the concerns regarding access to courses and the length of time to complete the required coursework.  Our professional development team has worked diligently to open new online classes as the existing classes fill up, and will continue to do so to meet the state deadline.

I am pleased to share that the district continues to be reflective of this demand on teachers who provide instruction to students in need of Tier III reading interventions.  Although teachers of other content areas are welcome to become reading endorsed, it is not a requirement as outlined in HB7055.  Enhancements made to the Winter 2020 Reading Endorsement course of study include a reduced number of assignments, extended time to better understand the navigation of the course, and increased communication regarding enrollment updates.

In addition, the PD department is currently piloting a course rollout combining Reading Competencies 1 and 2; and 3 and 4.  Each combined course is 10 weeks in length. For the 2020-21 school year, the district will offer additional competency combination courses, as described above, for teachers who need to take all or nearly all of the reading endorsement coursework.  We are currently piloting this modified course delivery model at two sites with 106 participants. The district currently employs 17 part-time reading endorsement facilitators. This allows for an increase in offering Face-to-Face and Online courses to maximize access for teachers who need to obtain or maintain high quality status.

Teachers with additional questions or concerns should contact Endorsement Specialist, C. Renee Jackson,, or Professional Development Supervisor, Altina Fenelon-Silva,  They understand this is a priority and are eager to assist teachers. 

Kind regards,

I hope this helps some, and again I appreciate that she wrote back but I think she missed a very important piece and that's teachers are already feeling overwhelmed and this isn't helpong, so I wrote her back and made some suggestions.

 Thank you for getting back to me. I will put this information out there on the blog  Education Matters in case some of the readers are unaware.

I think where this may address several concerns it does not address them all. Another complaint perhaps the biggest was teachers already had to much on their plate and this just added even more causing further stress and frustration.

Let me suggest a TDE day for everyone taking a course each course and an alleviation of  responsibilities during common planning and early release days. If the goal of those two things is to provide extra professional development, surely the classes can fill that function. I just want to remind you the better things are for teachers the better they will be for students.

Thank You again

Friends what some people, especially people not doing the actual work don't seem to get, is we can't continue to bury teachers, marginalize teachers and over work teachers and not expect something to give. The district hiring extra trainers for reading is good, giving teachers the time to do the work is much, much better.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Matt Carlucci called for a JEA grand Jury investigation, there needs to be one about the sales tax referendum too (draft)

Unless you live under a rock you know about the mayors plot to sell JEA, recent revelations however also show that the unqualified JEA CEO Aaron Zahn planned for him and his friends to get rich off the sale. City Councilman Matt Carlucci seemingly one of the few members of the city council members with integrity has called for an investigation. Well friends there needs to be an investigation about what went down with sales tax referendum too.

To read about Matt Carlucci's call for a grand jury investigation click the link.

It was inexplicable that the mayor and CC would fight against a sales tax referendum which would create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, stop or slow flight to the suburbs, attract businesses and fix our ailing schools, which is something everyone agreed need to happen, but there they were, fighting tooth and nail against the city's schools and children and there is a lot to investigate.

There is mayoral adviser Sam Mousa trying to shake down the district and then getting a no bid six figure contract a few days after he retired.

The million dollars to Rory Diamond's charity from Charter school fanatic Gary Chartrand and his
six figures to the mayor, Jason Fischer and tens of thousands to other city council members plus a quarter million to Ju'coby Pittman's charity all raise flags as they sought to undermine the district. 

Maybe nothing criminal went on but there are enough red flags there you would think we were at a military parade in red square.

Then lets not forget the Kids Hope Alliance where they were told to give away 10k micro grants to buy votes.

There is a rot in this city and it's not just with the JEA, it oozes out of city hall as well, with the Kids Hope Alliance, the Landing, Lot J and with the referendum and it would be a mistake just to only look at JEA. Our city has been hijacked by grifters looking out only for themselves and their backers. 

Friday, December 13, 2019

In Duval County it’s the beatings will continue until morale improves.

You know you can dislike the district for a number of different reasons.

Maybe a district staff person came through and complained you didn’t have some artifact on your wall and your principal instead of standing up for you or pointing out all your good work said, yeah, where is it.

Maybe you dislike the district because at some future point you may have to teach reading so now you are told to get 5 60 point reading classes, and you better get them quick and not expect any help or time to do so.

There are lots of reasons why “you” may hate the district but let me tell you mine.

As an ESE teacher I have to write IEPs long reports on my students, they are complicated and take hours to write. Well this year the district brought in a new program and its had glitch after glitch. It’s definitely a step down from what we had which quite frankly wasn’t that great.

Well the district told us earlier this week, that if we have to do an addendum to the IEP, adding something supplemental and what we generally do for all our students not aging out so they can attend the ESY, and the IEP was written on the new program before November, instead of doing an addendum, we had to do a completely new IEP, another glitch has prevented the program from being able to clone itself. This means I have three more IEPs to write and my neighbors have between 5 and 7.

One of my colleagues had finished their IEPs and only had the IEP addendums to do now has to rewrite all their IEPs.   

Reading back I don’t think my words are describing this debacle correctly. They have just added a ton of work to a lot of teachers.

Do they say, so sorry, omg we’ll keep trying to fix this, or anything approaching what a human with empathy would say. Nope, it’s just so sad to bad, get to work easily replaceable cogs.

It gets worse too. The district is spending wheel barrels full of money on this new program, while the state has an IEP program which is more streamlined (less work for teachers) and I am told its free. Wait what, free. Maybe if we used it we wouldn’t be trying to save nickels by under paying subs and bus drivers.  

I get it the state sucks, they really do, but time and time again when the state puts us in a hole it’s the ivory towers instinct to keep digging, and the staff are the ones given the shovels.  

You know under Pratt Dannals and Vitti communication with teachers and attempts to treat them as professionals weren’t priorities and a year and a half into Greene’s reign, I am starting to feel like, new boss same as the old boss. Nobody at the Ivory Tower ever seems to think, well how will this affect the staff or how can we help them.

When will the powers that be realize the better things are for teachers the better they will be for students, and if the district treats people like easily replaceable cogs, those cogs will find another machine, and most likely make more money there as well.

So yeah, what a Merry $%^#ing Christmas the district laid on its ESE teachers.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Don't panic, yet, about reading endorsements in Duval County

Somebody told me ,the beatings will continue until moral improves, and nothing describes our district philosophy better.

The thing is don't panic, yet, anyways.

I sent below to the superintendent and school board about the avalanche of reading endorsements and the consternation, panic and anguish it has caused. Let's see if the district is interested cares about its teachers or not.

A few weeks back a teacher reached out to me and said they were being overwhelmed at their school because of all the reading endorsements they are now required to get. They said their entire staff was being required to get them, and the admin wasn’t giving any time or help. They said this was burning out the staff and making them miserable.
So, I asked on FB and twitter is any other teachers were experiencing the same thing and wow were there. Here are just a few of their answers.
Yes, our whole school was pushed into it. Even the resource teachers like Art & PE... most teachers already have some of the classes though. College of Ed often 1-4 and Alt Cert has 1-2. Ppl just need to send their transcripts to be verified.
I asked them what school they were at, and where they told me, they asked me not to mention it however because of fear of retaliation, but that’s another matter. Here is another.
Hey there. In response to your question. Yes we have to do the reading endorsement classes mostly because as elementary we never know what we will be told to teach from year to year. And no, we aren’t allowed time or support to do them. It’s on our own dime and own time. I asked Tammie from DTU about getting early release time or such to do them and she said no as it wouldn’t be enough time. Plus the classes are filling because there are only so many people who can teach them.
 I asked them, so teachers that don't teach reading have to get it too, in case they teach reading at some point
They replied Yep. Only departmentalized 2nd through fifth. Most elementary teachers are certified k-6 or 1-6 and can be pretty much placed anywhere. I myself have been moved around a lot. Fifth ELA, 3rd ELA, 2nd everything, 1st everything, 3rd math science, 2nd math science. And back and forth.
Here are some more comments I received from teachers each break represents a comment.
.Hi Chris! Yes I am having to take reading endorsement and esol class, must take a class for each endorsement by the end of the year. The amount of work that is expected is Exhausting and unbelievable.! I love teaching, honestly, I do, but i have a limited personal life and family life bc of unrealistic expectations 😣
All on line with two face to face and a ton of work! People are stressed beyond belief! How is that helpful to them teaching children daily? It’s ludicrous!
If we could maybe get more time that would help! Absolutely no course one openings for spring offered for free through Duval available
The law says only tier 3 reading teachers in elem. ed bit because the positions change we were told all have to be endorsed. If you get flagged out of field you are screwed!
Yes. OMG. 5 courses. Free through the district but we are talking 5 60 hour courses. If you were lucky enough to get in. Courses filled quickly. On our own time. 100 pages of reading on some of them. 5 assignments on some. Plus grading and planning. And charters exempt. I assume because they don’t have to be certified. Can’t get an endorsement not certified. Oh and some teachers have to get esol. And we know have to have 40 hours of reading to renew certificates. On top of 20 ESE. Oh and we were told we couldn’t double dip. So the reading endorsement doesn’t count towards the 40 additional just to get recertifications
It’s online. Once you are tagged, you must do two a year. Only we don’t know which kids will tag us. “They” will tell us. Don’t know who is defined by they. No TDE. No suspension of common planning or early release.
this whole reading endorsement requirement is absolutely unfair and the lack of planning (this law was passed 5 years ago) is creating more panic. I hate that the state is taking more time away from my family.
Yes! No time and difficult to get a spot in any of the courses offered.
We are told we have to take two classes a year and that is 60 hours. What time do we have for this? They act as if we have no families or other responsibilities.
Yes! Have to take all 5 courses. And by the time we were told, most filled up. I signed up (along with some friends) for Competency 2 for this April since 1 was completely filled. No support. No one really knows much. No time during early release. We asked about having a class held at school in the evenings once a week and were told it probably won’t happen because they don’t have enough instructors. Also, I emailed and asked if my hundreds of hours for Literacy 101, 201, 301, and many Reading Academy and other type inservice would count. They replied that I should send them my transcript to see if any college classes will count. Which wasn’t even my question! I know my college courses won’t count, as I graduated in 1992.
I’m not even sure if I need the reading endorsement. I teach XXXX, which would be a no, but I’m ALSO teaching XXXX this year. DTU said ill be notified if I do need it, but I haven’t been. I guess I’ll do it just in case so I don’t lose my job.
Somebody from the district also reached out to try and explain what was happening, they to wanted to be anonymous because of that whole retaliation thing, again another issue for another time, I guess.
I saw some of the posts by teachers about the reading endorsements and there seems to be a lot of false information being given. The mandate was hidden in the train bill 7055 that was passed and signed into law in June of 2018. The state just gave guidance this year to districts. There is no way to define which teachers are attached to students for 2020-2021 school year because the school year hasn’t started. Secondary has a code for these students because it would be in intensive reading but elementary does not so the district will have to figure out how to meet the mandate and track who is providing tier 2-3. It only applies to teachers who provide tier 2 and tier 3 interventions for reading. Right now, that depends on each individual school and who the administration has providing these supports. The guidance from the state to districts says a teacher must be working on it to remain in field so that mean two courses a year starting next year. Districts across the state are struggling to accommodate the mandate because of the lack of time and guidance and there frankly aren’t enough trainers who can train all of the teachers.
Please do not use my name on this but I thought you should know so maybe you could pass along more accurate information than what other teachers have been posting. This is clearly a teacher tax and burden that was placed on districts to meet without enough trained staff and time.
Sure, I can pass on the information but um I shouldn’t have to. There has been a huge communication breakdown with staff, and it doesn’t seem like the district had much of a plan more than telling people to get it done.
I want to remind you too that this doesn’t affect me in the least. I am just passing on concerns.
I also get it the state sucks, teachers at voucher schools don’t have to have any certifications, and their guidance has been woeful but that doesn’t excuse the districts poor rollout and lack of communication.
I have some suggestions, send out an email explaining what is going on, then go to the schools and tell them because sometimes we need it explained a couple times and in person.
Then prioritize who should get the reading endorsements and allow them to sign up first.
Finally give all the teachers time and support. A TDE day a quarter, time to do it during common planning or early release. Those things are about training right, well the classes are training so it works.
These teachers are hurting and need help. I hope you recognize that and do all you can to help them, we can’t afford to lose many more.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Yesterday was a $%^#ed up day in education in Florida (adult language below)

Yesterday was a fucked up day in Florida Education. Sorry not sorry to curse but symbols just didn't cut it.

We had Manny Diaz a long time foe of public ed proposing what teachers want and makes sense and we had the school board association and superintendent association, people who should be supporting educators, stabbing them in the back and capitulating to the governor.  Up was down, black was white and people were jumping on the furniture. 

Listen to Manny Diaz,

From Florida Politics,

“You [can] talk about categorical, you [can] talk about putting in the base student allocation. And then, do we say that everybody [must reach] a minimum $47,500 or do you try to equalize the money across the state and have it where you raise all boats and it brings the average salary higher?”

Put it in the base student allocation, raise all boats, preach it brother Diaz.

This is what people have been begging for, this also makes the most sense or anything out out there.

Compare this with the statement from the school board and superintendents association, or you know the people who should know better.

If you are a teacher and just felt a sharp pain in your back, that's a knife wound.

Thank you Governor DeSantis, how high would you like us to jump? 

They have to know teachers hate his proposals, and instead of backing teachers they capitulated, they gave in. 

This was a base betrayal of education in Florida no more no less.

We applaud, we are excited, geeze, they sound like an abused spouse who thinks if they clean the house just a little more than won't get the belt. They are supposed to stand up for their staffs and instead they asked the bully if they could join his team.

That's fucked up.

Monday, December 2, 2019

It is time to Rally in Tally

I think unless there are tens of thousands of people in Tallahassee on 1/13  on public education 's behalf Tallahassee will just dismiss it. I also think even if there are tens of thousands of people in Tallahassee there is a good chance Tallahassee will dismiss it. That being said, its time for Florida's teachers to step up, because if not us then who. 
I sent below to my local paper and a slightly different version to my superintendent and school board (Duval). Wherever you are at, I hope you consider doing the same and sending letters to yours.
On January 13th teachers, school staff, parents, students and people who care about education, plan to Rally in Tally, to express their dissatisfaction for the state governments education policies and its criminal lack of funding. Teacher salaries are ranked 46 nationally, many support staff don’t make a living wage and we would have to add a thousand dollars to the base pupil allotment to get to 2007 levels.
Superintendent Greene and the school board should support this rally by canceling school on the 13th which would allow even more than the hundreds perhaps thousands that already plan to attend to do so.
As a teacher I loathe to miss a day without a sub present and would cancel absences if none were available. This day however is to important to the future of education and the teaching profession for me not to take the day off.
The district still has three weather days it can use to make the day up or it could cancel a few early release sessions instead.  
More than a month away hundreds of local teachers already plan to attend and after the governor’s recent dismissal of teachers that number is bound to rise, which means hundreds of classes will be manned by subs, admins or have to be combined if the day isn’t canceled.  
This day is to important not to have all hands-on deck and I hope the super and board show leadership, not just here in Duval but all across the state by affording as many of its staff as it can the opportunity to attend.   
The very future of public education may be at stake.