Sunday, April 22, 2012

Contentious School Board Meeting

Emotions ran a bit hot at the last School Board Meeting on the 19th. The meeting was held at Bitely School to accommodate the large crowd.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune ran an article about the meeting. It can be found at the following link.

There are some inaccuracies, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

200 at the last Board Meeting

Over 200 people attended the last School Board Meeting on  March 29th. Many were protesting Superintendent Johnson and the School Board's decision to remove Principal Collaso from Willard School.

Mrs. Collaso has worked closely with teachers and parents to help raise test scores and win a Title 1 AA Award in 2011.

The next meeting will be on April 19th at 6:30 PM.

The Truth About Garvey

A blogger simply named Garvey Teacher has been writing about the situation we all find ourselves in here at the Garvey School District. The blog is called "The Truth About Garvey." Two of the blog entries are especially pertinent here.

The first is entitled "Collaboration is Dead." It speaks about the Garvey School District Local Educational Agency Plan.

The second is entitled "The Budget Committee."

To read the entire blog, click here.

The Illusion of Collaboration

The Leadership Team

Before Dr. Johnson’s arrival, the teachers at Garvey School District schools decided who they would like to represent them on their school site leadership team. That all changed with the arrival of Superintendent Johnson.

o       Leadership teams were slipped in during the summer.
o       The Leadership Teams are now chosen by administration and are essentially an arm of administration. They do as they are told and at some schools, teams have been chastised for leaking information to other teachers.
o       Teachers have no say as to what topics are to be discussed because they are simply carrying out the agenda of administration.
o       The leadership teams are perfect examples of the appearance of teacher input, but the bottom line is administration gets what they want, one way or another. Administration knows what their end objectives are and if the work the leadership team doesn’t fit the objective, it is thrown out. If it does fit, the team is congratulated for their hard work.

Two examples from Garvey Intermediate. 

1. Garvey teachers spent a couple of Wednesdays working on master schedule ideas at the behest or the school’s leadership team via administration. In the end, these ideas were not used and the parameters were set by administration.

2. Early in the leadership team process, Garvey teachers considered having the leadership team lead Wednesday Collaboration Sessions. The principal said it would be inappropriate for the leadership team to run the collaboration meetings because she runs the leadership team and she would therefore have to lead the Wednesday meetings. The leadership team does not exist without her.

 As hard working as all the teachers serving on leadership teams are, their function is essentially "assistant to the principal." No collaboration here, just working administration's agenda, through chosen teachers.

Parents Go Unheard

Superintendent Johnson and the School Board disregard parental and community input at Board Meetings.

In the Spring of 2011, parents attended several Board Meetings and spoke in favor of continuing the successful Honors Program at Garvey Intermediate. 

Dr. Johnson stated the School board does not get involved in curricular issues. She stated the decision would be made by the site principal, but the principal did not make the decision.

The Honors Program was cut in half at the Superintendent's direction and the School Board's full knowledge and acquiescence. 

Acquiescence is not leadership.

Unjustified Layoffs

The District has a 14.5% reserve, totaling over $6.5 million, but they have cut over 30 teachers. 

These excessive cuts must be stopped.
Despite being in a terrible financial situation at the state level, the District has managed to increase its bottom line to a 14.5% reserve. They have also laid off over 30 teachers. Declining ADA and other factors do not justify this many RIF notices. Peoples lives should not be disrupted unnecessarily. Rescind the RIFs.


Superintendent Johnson and the School Board disregarded the safety of students and employees during the windstorms and a water main break.

o       During the wind storms, two of the Garvey District schools were without power. This also meant no heat. Superintendent Johnson decided to leave these schools open. She said it was “an adventure.” Teachers and students had to navigate dark hallways and bathrooms and rooms with windows that didn’t face the sun were very dark.

o       After the first day, GEA asked the superintendent to cancel classes the following day for safety reasons. It was dangerous getting to and from school without even considering a day at school in the dark. The Alhambra police department recommended that Alhambra schools close and they did. Rosemead also closed their schools, but Garvey remained open. Again, the district made its decision without regard for others. There was power at the District Office.

o       On another day, the water main broke at Rice School. The students were sent home, but teachers had to remain on duty even though there was no running water.