Local Educators Need to be Heard
Increase opportunities for discussion and direct feedback with the school board and staff about the direction of our schools through the use of town hall style meetings. Create forums to also highlight the positive achievements and successes of our students, schools, and our educators where their efforts and dedication are publicly recognized.
Retaliating Against Teachers for Speaking Out is Unacceptable
Our teachers and associated staff are valuable and valued resources whose inputs on a wide variety of issues our schools face now and in the future must be included in strategically and smartly charting how our schools adapt to the needs of our students and how to best support our community. Beginning with the shutdown of our schools due to COVID in March 2020, we have witnessed an increase in teachers who are fearful of retaliation from peers and the school administration for voicing their concerns, inputs, and opinions that may differ with their colleagues or more vocal community members. At the same time, others were actively and openly lobbying for keeping our schools in remote learning without the same fear for their positions. NHCS’ ETHIX360 reporting system was weaponized and used to silence and reprimand teachers with different opinions. All teachers should feel safe and be supported in their efforts to advocate on behalf of their students and the school board must be receptive to their inputs, concerns, and ideas surrounding current or proposed policies that directly affect them and their students. The school board, teachers and staff, and parents should function as a team in support of our students.
School Staff Lacks Trust in District Personnel
We need the school board and administration to actively seek to build trust and relationships with our schools and their staff, and ensure this trust also resonates from our schools and teachers back to the school board and administration. The school district has created surveys seeking feedback and input, yet many times has disregarded these inputs which in turn fosters a lack of trust among all of our stakeholders.
Providing training opportunities for our teachers that supports them in their interactions with our students would serve to instill confidence and reflect the respect our teachers deserve. Similarly, parents and their students must be provided proactive opportunities to positively engage with their schools and teachers to strengthen the bond between the classroom and the student’s home. Creative two-way communication initiatives must be used to not only identify and address any concerns, but to also recognize the positive achievements of both our teachers and students.
Creating opportunities for students to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas will serve to strengthen their role in taking ownership of their academic progression while also contributing to their growth as they mature into responsible and important members of our adult community. While hearing from a wide range of diverse opinions and thoughts from our students is important, we must recognize that decision making authority ultimately rests with the duly elected members of the school board, as they must be held accountable to their constituents. Creating more opportunities for discussion and debate will be in the best interests for our public schools and in turn our entire community.