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Taconic Hills discusses teacher grievances

Jan 28, 2011 6:16 am
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="481" caption="Taconic Hills Central School, in Copake"][/caption]While other school districts throughout our coverage area have been mulling drastic spending cuts and consolidation moves for the coming year, the Taconic Hills Board of Education heard a rare Faculty Association grievance before its regular meeting in Copake on Wednesday, January 26, which the Register-Star's John Mason describes as having gotten some hoping for a new era of communication in the district. Although things didn't start off all that well with Board Vice-President George Lagonia accusing the union of wasting the taxpayers’ money by filing frivolous grievances, and Faculty Association President Kevin Reis exhorting board members to stand up to what he called the bullying tactics of Superintendent Mark Sposato. After a Global Studies Teacher praised the district’s attorney for facilitating the event, however, things started to settle down somewhat and after much discussion, the grievance, which involved the implementation of the Response to Intervention teaching methodology, was tabled until April. That methodology, used in a majority of schools nationwide, as well as in Taconic Hills' elementary school, is a school process used to determine if a student is responding to classroom instruction and progressing as expected.

In the process, a student who is struggling receives additional instructional support provided by matching instruction to a student’s individual needs through a multi-tier instructional model. Each level provides instruction with increased intensity, such as smaller groups or instructional time focused on specific areas. The questions that arose in the district involved where to find the extra time for such added interventions, and one-on-one teaching, which teachers suggested needed additional hires to match rising class sizes. “This grievance comes up not because of compensation or because of AIS not being followed,” the complaint said. “We don’t believe there has been a [thorough] review of the RtI program by the board. This grievance is asking you to formulate whether you need to do that.” Other talk at the meeting compared the administration's communications with teachers as having a bullying tone, which board members said they'd like to see improved.

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