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Timberlane to ‘Bag’ Snow Days

January 26, 2014

hookey

No more worries about making up snow days for the Timberlane staff.  The state of New Hampshire has approved a TRSD plan to not make up weather days.  Instead, students will complete ‘online assignments’ — assuming they have access to a computer and internet access.  If not?  More children left behind left further behind.

As a parent whose Timberlane student is supplementing his Timberlane program with online courses from the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, I can assure you that there is a lot more to online learning than downloading a crossword puzzle from a server on the internet.  Online programs are interactive.  The kids and parents have video chats with the instructors.  Parents are part of the process and ensure that the kids are fully engaged.  The Timberlane program includes none of these…

  • Students will be expected to complete assignments independently
  • Teachers will be ‘available’ for four hours during each bag day

Sounds like five additional paid days off for the floundering TRSD staff.  The FAQ (see hookey.pdf) states that 80% of staff and students must participate in this charade for the state to allow the bagging of the snow day.  PLEASE do not allow your children to participate.  By boycotting this sham, we will at least ensure that the kids are in school for five days.

I have a better idea: when it snows, do teacher development online.  Let the kids stay home and have the teachers do their development online.  Make up the snow day with the day previously allocated for development.  Teachers should be able to work online at least as well as students, right?

Of course this will not happen because teaching is not the priority at Timberlane.

This risky program should include safeguards and assurances for students, parents, and taxpayers…

  • An accounting of how many hours per semester a student is in the classroom with his or her assigned instructor
  • A complete preview and complete access to the online programs and assignments
  • Real time access to a daily teaching plan

Teachers are out of the classroom a lot already.  When a teacher leaves the classroom for a meeting or development or personal business, students are often left with uncertified substitutes and assistants.  When the music department vacations in Florida, the less fortunate kids sit in study halls.  At what point do we decide that the teachers do not make much of a difference?  I know my kid’s science teacher did not attend enough classes to pass the class last year.  Dr. Metzler does not feel parents and taxpayers are entitled to this information, “As far as internal issues concerning teachers discipline, improvement or support plans are not public.”  It’s none of our business if teachers are in the classroom or what they are teaching.  (School Board seals minutes of nonpublic session for 99 years)

I’ve asked to preview upcoming work over the preceding weekend.  I have been told this is not possible because teaching plans are fluid.  How can a teacher with no teaching plan for the upcoming week prepare a meaningful online program given less than a day’s notice?  What if the teacher has no computer or internet access?  I’d like to see if I think the contingency plan continues classroom learning and the only way I can do that is to be able to see the detailed plan for the days before and after a ‘bagged’ day and the online lesson that bridges from one to the other.

Here’s a mission statement for you Superintendent Metzler: Teach the Right Things Well 180 Days Each Year.  Give it a try.

For the taxpayers and others who did not get the mailing, I have linked the documents below…

hookey.pdf

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