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Superintendent to Teachers: You're All Fired!
A Rhode Island school superintendent fed up with a failing school in her district plans to take drastic action and is threatening to fire the entire teaching staff there.
Central Falls School Superintendent Frances Gallo asked members of the teacher's union to take on extra work at Central Falls High School, and, when the union balked, she said she would make good on her threat to clean house, The Providence Journal reports. About 100 teachers, administrators and staff members could lose their jobs.
Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist tells the district it must fix the failing school: Central Falls High is at the bottom of the state heap when it comes to graduation rates and test scores, according to the Journal.
Gallo asked teachers to do the following: Add 25 minutes to the school day, provide tutoring before and after school, eat lunch with students once a week, submit to more rigorous evaluations, attend weekly after-school planning sessions with fellow teachers and participate in two weeks of training during the summer break.Gallo blames the union, telling the Journal its leaders "knew full well what would happen" if they rejected the six conditions she set forth for improving the school.
Teachers would not agree to the conditions of her proposed transformation, and now she is invoking what the Journal calls the "turnaround" model for improving the school, which allows her to fire the entire staff. That model also forbids the school district from hiring back more than 50 percent of those who are let go.
"I am saddened and shaken at the core by the enormous ramifications of my responsibilities," Gallo tells the Journal. "The only solace I have is that I know I provided every opportunity possible, in fully public and transparent ways, the means to avoid this."
Union officials tell the Journal they agree that the high school needs to improve. However, they are unwilling to sign off on Gallo's six conditions -- especially without getting paid for them. Union president Jane M. Sessums tells the newspaper the union will fight the impending terminations. She was not ready to share exactly how the union will respond.
The Journal reports that 74 teachers will get a letter telling them to attend a Feb. 22 meeting, where termination notices will be handed out. If the firings do take place, the Journal reports, they will be effective for the 2010-11 school year.
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