Newsletter #1: June 22, 2014

More Teachers Resign

How will Board respond?

At tomorrow’s school board meeting the agenda shows that the WGSD school board will accept the “resignations of staff”.  It appears that seven more teachers have now submitted their resignation letters. Based on the names that have been widely shared and discussed in the community this will be another huge loss for the WGSD. The expected names of these resignations are being withheld until they become official tomorrow night.

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On Monday, June 16th, during the Personnel and Finance committee meeting, Chris Joch, WGSD District Administrator, responded to board member questions about exit interviews for teachers who have resigned. His response indicated that he has not performed any exit interviews since last year’s large wave of resignations. When asked why there was a change Mr. Joch stated, ” I just felt that we needed to change the process”. You can watch the exchange on video HERE. Mr. Joch described a new process where he would invite the employees who have resigned to meet with him. He did not explain how he would be able to achieve that objective now that the school year has ended. He also did not explain how he would report to the elected board members any feedback that is critical of him as District Administrator, or that is critical of the manner in which he chooses to carry out the Board’s objectives. Like a “fox guarding the hen house”, Mr. Joch appears to have taken matters into his own hand. By preventing the WGSD board and community from hearing why more of our best teachers are leaving he has failed to serve us all.

Last year a majority of the school board refused to acknowledge the undesirable working conditions within the WGSD that led to approximately 14 teacher resignations. You can view their exit interviews online. The working conditions in WGSD are widely known due to the results of the staff survey conducted last year at the request of the District Administrator, Chris Joch.
This year we may never know why these teachers have chosen to leave the WGSD because another teacher survey was not conducted and Chris Joch has stopped, or at least changed, the process for exit interviews. Last year teachers who resigned were asked to complete a questionnaire and meet in person with Denise Woodruff in Human Resources. This year Mr. Joch changed the exit interview process without informing the school board, and apparently did not perform any exit interviews for the seven employees who recently resigned (see right).

What can we do?

It is hoped that concerned parents and community members will attend Monday’s meeting to hear how the current school board plans to respond to what is clearly a mass exodus of teachers resigning from the Waterford Graded School District. The meeting starts at 6:30 PM on Monday, June 23rd, in the Evergreen Elementary school cafeteria. Community members are welcome to share their input during “Citizen’s Input” that is slated for 7:15 PM, just prior to the action items.  For those that can not attend, you can help by sending an email with your concerns to the full school board and by “sharing” on Facebook related posts from the WGSDMeetings web site.

Thank you,
Matt Kranich

Note: There were several other resignations accepted earlier this year, many of whom were first year teachers who were hired to replace the large number of teachers who resigned in the spring/summer of last year.

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