There has been much discussion on taking Reading Aides out of Park City School District classrooms. There have been some emails from School Board Members floating around social media. Just in case you care and haven’t seen those, I wanted to make sure everyone had access to better understand the issue:
Here a citizen provides part of an email exchange with school board member Julie Eihausen. According to the citizen, Ms. Eihausen emailed:
1: Our current reading/ESL programs are not working. While we understand and appreciate that aides have become a part of the educational family for students and parents, we cannot continue to invest funding in programs that have been shown to be failing our students.
2: All day Kindergarten was moving forward for the 2016-17 school year with or without any changes to the reading program. These two decisions are not related. Programs are assessed and funds are reallocated on a regular basis. PCSD did not determine how much money was needed to fund all dayK and then go and look for a program to cut, reallocations are a part of our annual budget process.
3: All day Kindergarten has been proven in study after study after study to assist in closing the achievement gap, engaging students by providing them with the opportunity to succeed and creating a much better attitude towards school. When children aren’t always “behind”, they enjoy and excel much more in school. Investment in early childhood education saves thousands if not millions of dollars in intervention costs.
4: While some aide positions are no longer viable, several others are new. The new opportunities provide full-time employment that includes benefits. This is a desire we heard loud and clear from our Classified Employees Association and we are proud to be able to offer stable, desirable employment to more employees.
Thank you for your input and we look forward to all working together as a community to improve education in Park City. Again, we encourage anyone who has questions to please get the facts and not rely on neighborhood postings/blogs/Facebook.
As always, I am willing to sit down and meet with anyone who would like to discuss this further.
The citizen also received a response from school board member Tania Knauer. The response from Ms. Knauer was:
I think the Reading scores show we need to change something. We’ve been doing the same thing for way too long. Not that there aren’t amazing reading teachers and specialist in the district, there are.
I don’t think anything is cast in stone and it will be evolving as we implement it, some things will work and some will need tweaking. The best part about all of this is the discussion and attention it’s getting. It had been plugging along for a very long time virtually unnoticed.
We don’t have all the answers and we probably won’t until we get started. Like DI, there is a great deal that we didn’t know until we got farther into the implementation. It’s really about keeping a pulse on it and making sure we are adjusting course as needed.
I personally believe Ms Knauer and Ms Eihausen make good points. I applaud their willingness to push change. As anyone who has been in corporate america knows… change is hard. Willingness to force change shows gumption.