January 29, 2020

EXCERPTED RESPONSES FROM QOL-RENO 2019 ONLINE SURVEY OF WCSD TEACHERS

66% of respondents knew teachers at their school who have been assaulted by students.

→ I have personally been verbal abused with all kinds of nasty language only to find the child back in school the next day at “in-school”     

→ I had a fellow teacher get punched in the eye . Kids were suspended for 3 days.

→ I was assaulted by a parent and district did not press charges, My face was severally battered, and I suffered temporary vision loss!

→ I was hit with a wooden stick; I was bit and punched.

→ Students wield scissors as knives, throw sharpened pencils, tables, equipment, and other school materials. They are running out the doors and into the street, forcing us to do the same. They climb tall fences to escape. They slap, hit, bite, kick, etc.

→ Teacher was hit in the head with a laptop by a third party while trying to keep two students away from each other.

→ Spit on, verbally abused kicked

→ CRL or SpecEd student attacked a sub and a teacher as well as other students.

→ We have an overwhelming number of severe behavior problems, with no district support or help.

→ [I’ve received] scratches and bumps; no significant injuries

→ Some sped kids or kids who have anger issues throw chairs punch kick, etc.

→ A teacher was punched repeatedly in the head. Teachers have been shoved.

→ I have been kicked, punched, and bitten. Several of my colleagues have been punched, kicked, and scratched.

→ I’ve been punched to the ground, had the wind knocked out of me, stabbed with scissors, choked, slapped, bitten, and sexually harassed. Nothing ever happens. They (the administration) just don’t care.

→ I have been kicked by a student while breaking up a fight. I was punched in the face and had to seek OSHA/doctor treatment when I intervened in a fight.

What were administration’s actions after the incident(s)?

→ Too often we are told admin can’t suspend the kid because parents work.

→ After this cruel treatment by the school and district, I quit!

→ Administration’s actions after the physical incidents are supportive of the teacher, but admin. have to follow so many disciplinary steps before any major action can be taken.

→ Removed child from classroom after the incident for part of the day, evacuated other students, had discipline department come in collect data

→ Always a touchy subject until administration gets assaulted by a student.

→ The admin tried to do something about it, but the District said because of the status of the student nothing could be done.

→ This seems like a survey aimed at putting all the blame on school administrators. They have an important role in how a school operates.

→ The problem was not with site admin, but the district admin refused to allow the student to be removed or even physically restrained even though he was a danger to others.

→ No, students are not held accountable for their actions. Students with IEP’s are able to get away with anything (sexual assault, fighting, disrespect) and are not punished due to being on an IEP.

→ Our administration does what it can with the resources our school is given.

→ THIS IS MY BIGGEST CONCERN! This is truly my biggest concern.

→ They were talked to and then returned to class within 5 – 10 minutes

→ I was told to “be more positive”.

→ Site administrator has hands tied due to school district policy for these behaviorally challenged students. The data that needs to be collected takes months for teacher and principal. The behavior specialist will offer ideas but no supports. PARENTS are never accountable. It is a cycle that does not work.

How often do students treat teachers disrespectfully?

→ Students don’t hesitate to destroy classroom order because they can’t fail or receive any disciplinary consequences for their actions.

→ Half the time

→ When a student has been sent to an administrator for disrespect or misbehavior, were the consequences appropriate? What did the administrator do?

→ Administrators are limited in what they can do. Students know there are few, if any, consequences so the behavior rarely stops.

→ Admin says their hands are tied by district policies (fear of being sued).

→ There is usually a discussion, call home and possibly in house or out of school suspension

→ My administrator told me not to send kids to her … that I should call the parents myself. When I did, she disapproved of that.

→ The administrator can only call home, call the police or school resource officer, and do in school suspension due to the new AB 168 law.

→ Usually talks to them sometimes I’ve seen them give candy or let them have a time out with Legos

→ Go to the Wellness Center to “cool down”

→ Rarely are the consequences appropriate. Usually the student is returned to the classroom.

→ The state legislature needs to remove its role in establishing protocol for school discipline.

→ One of our students grabbed another child by the throat and threw him on the ground. The principle gave him a sticker for promising not to do it again.

→ At my school, we say it’s  the lollipop and sticker philosophy. They always come back after being given a time-out and “reward” for being ready to be back in class.

→ It is not the site administration that I am concerned with, it is the district‘s policies on students who are disruptive in the classroom. We have to jump through so many hoops and document for months for any changes to be made.

→ They sometimes don’t do sh&#. You know why? Because the whole system from top down is broken. 

→ There needs to be a better and quicker way to remove students who are destroying the education of students who want to learn.

→ Most administrators are fearful of backlash from parents and the threat of legal implications.

WCSD has claimed increased graduation rates for 3 years. During that same time period, ACT test scores steadily declined. How do you explain the difference between WCSD’s locally-controlled results (graduation rates) and the ACT’s nationally-controlled test results (ACT results)?

→ Increased graduation rates have come at a cost of decreased rigor. As a teacher, the quality of what I do is never assessed. The only thing the district cares about is how many students are passing. If too many students are failing, the teacher comes under heavy criticism, so in order to take the pressure of failures off, standards are lowered.

→ We are passing kids along! They aren’t learning, they are just completing the work. We have intersession classes where a kid can make up a semester’s worth of work. We are failing miserably at setting the standard and holding the kids accountable. We have too many kids in AP and honors courses that shouldn’t be in these classes. They slow down class progress for the kids who truly need to be challenged with their education. Counselors are doing students a disservice by allowing them into these classes. After all an A in standard Biology is better than a D or C in AP Biology.

→ I believe that the school district removes low preforming students from their overall reported statistical rates. I am aware of a charter school that was recently closed by the district that was meeting the needs of such students. Providing them the time to catch up so as to graduate, just not in the “accountability” reportable timeframe. However, it made a difference in these students lives, and now they have had that taken away thanks to the district!

→ Administrators manipulate data

→ We don’t hold students accountable, and teachers can’t “fail” students because it looks bad.

→ Standards are lowered for graduation, and we changed the calendar for credit recovery

→ Students no longer are required to take an exit exam like the high-school proficiency or end of course to show they have acquired the requisite knowledge. It’s easy to increase graduation rates if it is based on credits, and therefore grades, alone.

→ Grading standards have been lowered: kids can get a 50% and pass with a C-.

→ I was pressured to inflate my grades so seniors who should not have passed did.

→ As a teacher, we are expected to “make it happen” even if it means to put critical thinking skills and rigorous curriculum aside for the sake of helping the student “pass the test.”

→ Graduation rates are manipulated to show a high rate. Teachers are pressured to pass kids that have no business passing a class.

→ Graduation rates have been manipulated by the district. Another example of how little the district cares about students, just public opinion.

→ Students can graduate without taking an ACT test.

→ There was a change in diploma definition. Adjusted versus standard.

→ Many parents at home are not supporting their students. Students are continually below grade level.

→ WE are passing students up to the next grade level who can’t even read basic CVC words or do basic math.

→ Graduation rates are just a spin. The rate is increased by not counting students who didn’t do all four years in WCSD, or who didn’t finish, etc. In other words, you are looking at only those students who did everything but didn’t earn all the credits (failed classes they didn’t make up) and/or didn’t pass the high school exams. It is a very limited statistic that really means little.

→ Final class exams are no longer given. It used to be that students had to pass these exams to graduate. We have improved our graduation rate by having no standard to graduate them by, other than arbitrary grades.

→ Pressure from Traci Davis to graduate all students filtering down to site administrators filtering down to the teacher.

→ Our last three superintendents gamed the system by making a fifty percent a passing grade in infinite campus. Teachers have zero control over the grading system.

→ Grades are inflated. When students are failing the teachers aren’t allowed to fail them. At minimum, they get a D even if they do NOTHING! Also, the attendance policy is a joke. Office staff and administration wash the absences even if make up work was never completed.

→ Students no longer have to pass a proficiency test to graduate. We test kids continually but never hold them accountable for their low test scores.

→ I think that for the last 3 years under our previous administration, students were allowed to “graduate” that should not have. I think that overall there is a lack of rigor because it can’t be enforced. Students who perform poorly are not held accountable for their grades. Teachers are told to change Fs to Ds, and Ds to Cs.

→ Local tests and national tests do not correlate nor are they written to help students be successful. National tests are not written in a way that are clearly understood by diverse populations of students.

→ Many students who don’t believe they are college bound tank the test.

→ There has been an implied threat for years to raise graduation rates. Therefore, many teachers take the attitude that it isn’t worth losing a job or getting a poor evaluation by failing students. One high school principal even told our staff, “Students don’t learn anything by failing a class.”

WCSD students continue to achieve at one of the lowest rates in the nation. In your opinion, what or who is causing this, and what is the best way to increase achievement?

→ We need to set higher standards for our students starting at the elementary level. Most accountability for performance does not start until high school. Students who do not meet the standard should be held back. We should not have students in high school who can’t read or do basic math.

→ Lack of parenting or parent support, problem children being allowed to stay in a general education setting and a mass teacher exodus because of these issues and lack of support.

→ Too many central office administrators and too large of a district

→ Lack of parental involvement, lack of accountability for students being responsible for their learning.

→ Lower class sizes and teacher support for discipline issues. Also, more autonomy in making curriculum decisions.

→ I believe the culture in the schools are not conducive to accountability and learning. We have too many administrators that are pushing paper and not enough feet on the ground working with and caring for the kids … always giving the teachers more administrative work and almost zero encouragement…. Is anyone researching what the top 5 states are doing for their success?

→ Teachers are giving far too much busy work (NEPF Evaluation paperwork, Read by Grade 3 paperwork, Restorative Discipline, TNTP Paperwork, etc.) that their lesson plans are suffering. Also, we are losing the ability to work with kids on their interests. We have too many ‘canned’ programs now. We are losing the art of teaching and therefore, our joy of teaching.

→ Low student achievement can be attributed to larger class sizes, less per pupil spending, inequity and inequality across the district and lack of discipline that not only hurts the disruptive student but all the other students trying to learn in that environment. Smaller class sizes, more per pupil spending, equity in equipment and resources, and better school discipline.

→ … it’s hard to be positive when you haven’t had a raise in 7 years … and that 3% Sisolak promised … still haven’t seen it … how come Vegas has?

→ Too much politics

→ The number one problem is the lack of funding. Teachers are not paid enough to keep talent in the profession or to attract new teachers. Then, the legislature needs to quit legislating things they no nothing about. For example, SLOs are a waste of valuable time as is the standardized testing. In addition, the attendance policy is ridiculous as students can miss as much school as they want and be able to make up all work and file an appeal. Teachers spend time keeping track per the legislature to no avail. Finally, the WCSD is top heavy and spends money foolishly. For example, superfluous positions and huge salaries and benefits for ineffective superintendents. I have a first hand account of the amount of fancy food served at their district meeting this last Friday morning. While the person did not attend past the morning session, they were going to be served lunch. While this may seem minor, it is difficult to justify that kind of frivolous spending when we can’t even get a raise. As we hear about all the spending, including the rumor that someone is being paid to write memos to district personnel for our acting superintendent, our morale goes further down, which inadvertently affects our teaching, and in turn, student achievement.

→ Better parenting

→ Lack of parenting and students don’t want to learn they are on their phones they eat Takis in the classroom. They are tardy. Disruptive, rude and they believe they are equal to teachers. Substitutes are completely disrespected.

→ Students are not passing classes but will be given a passing grade. Students will fail 7th and 8th grade but will progress to 9th, why? Teachers will get low marks and can be fired for not passing a high enough percentage of students despite students refusing to do work or turn anything in.

→ WCSD paid for a year long study. It found it would take seven days per week plus two hours of student contact time to teach the bare minimum the district requires teachers to teach. Teachers are literally defeated before they walk through the door. They buried the study, and continue to pile on even more every year. They don’t care that we can’t be successful; they get the shiny, bulked out resume and we get burned out. We are being micromanaged by narcissists. Our admin is so out of touch they feel entitled demanding teachers break the laws of physics, then blame teachers for burning out. You want to increase achievement? Let teachers teach. Fire the micromanaging admin; most of them have less classroom experience than teachers and the same or less amount of college education as teachers. Expel violent children and put them in reform school. When a parent assaults a faculty member, call the real police and press charges. Teachers are good people; we deserve to feel safe at work … just like everybody else.

→ We have become a test driven district vs. what is best for students. Our new ELA program is basically year long test prep. Students need to develop a love of learning at the elementary level and the current curriculum and the fact that we have to use it “with fidelity and not supplement” does not encourage that love of learning.

→ Holding students accountable for their own learning. Too many parents do kids work for them and fewer and fewer students are doing homework. 

What is the biggest issue challenging your school site?

→ It is difficult to choose just one.

→  I personally find the most difficult challenge being pressured to make sure kids pass when they won’t show up to class or do their work.

→ Student violence/misbehavior

→ Overcome poor leadership decisions made by WCSD administrators (at the higher levels).

→ Too large- too many students for the numbers of teachers

→ Behavioral issues and staffing

→ Valuable teacher time spent jumping through hoops to satisfy requirements of legislators to prove we are doing our job (SLO) and working w/ students who are significantly behind academically.

→ Too many students and big class sizes

→ Inconsistency with discipline, curriculum, teacher planning time, expectations and humanitarianism.

→ Student Behavior!

→ Discipline and lack of parent support in the student’s learning.

→ Morale

→ Morale

→ The lack of professional leadership by our principal.

→ Discipline. Disrespect.

→ Teacher morale.

→ It has been better this year, but demands put on teachers is stressful and anxiety-ridden.

→ No matter what we do, it is never enough.

What should the WCSD Board of Trustees do to improve our schools?

→ We need to have leadership that will improve the quality of the education, not just graduation rates. We also need to move away from expecting all kids to go to college and help students who are interested in trades explore those careers. We are trying to fit every student into the same “college” box instead of helping them find a career they will love while making a contribution to our community.

→ Get out.

→ They have failed the community repeatedly and still get re-elected. Not only that but most of them are clueless to the real issues in a classroom. Put a rotating teacher on the board who can bring a perspective to their choices that actually matters to a classroom.

→ The disconnect between the top of the district and the people actually doing the real work of teaching is so far apart that it feels like two separate entities.

→ Get informed about poor leadership in the district. Nepotism and cronyism is pervasive; I have seen it firsthand in departments such as Information Technology, Special Education, and Area Superintendents

→ WCSD Board of Trustees should work harder to protect teachers and students form “time wasters” that don’t directly affect teaching and learning.

→ Be more present. Go sit in a kindergarten or first grade class for a day and watch how much we really have to do in a day.

→ We need a reboot … get rid of them all … they are really good at approving pay increases for the past 3 superintendents that were an embarrassment to our kids.

→ Retire

→ They need to find leaders (superintendents) who believe in public education and are not using the position as a political stepping stone.

→ Quit.

→ Start the school board meetings at 5:00 so the teachers- and all the other working adults- can attend the meetings. Conduct only business at board meetings and save the awards/ love fest for awards ceremonies, graduations, etc.

→ Be in the schools every day! ideally and reality are 2 different things. Trust the teachers and believe what they say is going on because it’s probably worse than that

Doe 6/7 of the School Board having no teaching experience hinder their ability to provide expertise in leading?

→ It is difficult to know how they can lead when they have no personal experience of what is happening at the schools.

→ School Board members and legislators should not be making decisions about my profession if they have no experience or expertise in child development and/or teaching.

→ It should be at least 1/2 teachers and then there should be mandatory field trips to the schools to build relationships and understanding rather than just come in for “observations”.

→ They have never been in the trenches … wtf do they even know?

→ The Board of Trustees definitely have a disconnect with the needs of schools. Policies that they enforce are counter productive.

→ Would a person without training or experience enter a burning building? How could they put out of fire if they don’t know the science behind safe mitigation? Board of Trustees should have a school background to know the issues first-hand.

→ They should each have their individual offices at a school site and meet in the board room for their common meetings.

→ If the individual can provide a role in making the district better, without using their biased viewpoints, they could do a good job.

→ If you have never taught, you have no idea what we do on a day to day basis. It’s not for the weak.

→ If they haven’t walked in my shoes, how can they make decisions???

Do you have any other information about WCSD (administration, staff, schools, students, funding, etc.) that the community should know about?

→ Many teachers are very frustrated. Most who I talk to love teaching and love the kids, but the way our district is run is causing many to leave the profession.

→ Teachers are exiting at an alarming rate. Morale is extremely low and most teachers care so much that they cry when their students suffer. Parents as a whole are terrible, student behavior is severely impacting learning, too much focus on teacher is to hit numbers yet they have so little say in how they get there. Schools are overcrowded and underfunded. The stress is wiping out teachers. Most teachers I know have had to start taking antidepressants.

→ Sadly, I have watched the WCSD go down hill my entire career

→ Furthermore, our high school received a Star for having the high AP enrollment. Students were pressured to take AP classes even though the classes were not appropriate for their skill levels. What was most beneficial for the students was ignored all to make our numbers look good.

→ Thank you so very much for providing us this platform. Best of luck.

 



WHAT’S NEW WITH WCSD’S 49th-IN-THE-NATION RANKED SCHOOLS?
 “I would NEVER send my child to WCSD schools.”
(WCSD substitute teacher)

QOL-Reno interviewed a WCSD substitute teacher about his/her experiences in our high schools. Excerpts follow:

• When the class bell would ring, about 1/3 of students were in my classroom, and the other 20-25 were wandering the school grounds with no consequences.
• Students who weren’t even enrolled in my class would come in and verbally abuse me, and in one instance assaulted me. When I tried to stop this behavior, the students would say, “You can’t stop me.” When I reported the incident to the principal’s office, they did nothing.
• Maybe 5 out of 35 students in class were trying to do their work, and the rest were just playing on their phones during the entire period. There was almost no learning taking place.
• The smell of marijuana in the classroom was pretty constant.
I observed no discipline of any kind on the campuses I was on.
The student behavior at the richer and poorer high schools was equally bad.
I would NEVER send my child to WCSD schools. Parents have no idea what is going on. They should know that their kids are getting exposed to drugs and constant lying. Our high schools are nothing but teenage daycare centers, functioning in mildly organized, dangerous chaos.

JUST THE FACTS

Former Superintendent Traci Davis was fired for-cause by the WCSD School Board July 1, 2019.  Has the School Board learned enough from this ongoing fiasco to hire – and supervise — a superintendent who will fix the mess that is our WCSD school system? 

  • The leading education survey (2019 Editorial Projects in Education) shows Nevada schools, including WCSD, are the 49th worst in the nation based, on 3 criteria:

Academic achievement

75% of our 4th and 8th graders are below grade level in Math and English on the national NAEP test)

Hope for the Future?

Children in WCSD schools children rank as having the LEAST likely chance for a successful future

Poor money management by the Superintendent and School Board

WCSD has run a multi-million dollar budget deficit for the past 11 years, and has more administrators than school districts 10 TIMES its size. 

  • Graduation rates (which WCSD can – and DOES manipulate) are increasing!

Meanwhile, the most important ACT national test (which WCSD can NOT manipulate) – shows that almost 90% of our graduating seniors do not qualify for college level classes … and the scores have declined for three straight years.

Moral Values?

Should your 11-year-old child be taught about anal and group sex in school sex education, but be taught NOTHING about moral values?  5 of the 7 WCSD School Board members think they should.