Rosenthal: Staff reassignment can be good

Published 9:30 am Friday, March 1, 2019

Recently I read an article in the Lexington Herald-Leader with the headline ”Staff could be reassigned at some schools.”

The details of this headline point to seven elementary schools in Fayette County that have been classified by the state as low performing because of low test scores.

Of course, each school will have an audit to determine strengths, weaknesses and needs before anyone makes plans.

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However, once that is done then the schools must determine and follow an action plan.

One part of this plan could include reassigning staff as well as the principal.

Some may ask how the superintendent can take on this responsibility with a site-based council school.

Under a new law, when schools are underperforming, the superintendent takes over the authority of the councils although the council can still function as advisers if asked to do so by the superintendent, which brings to mind when the district reassigned staff throughout the elementary schools in Clark County.

Several years ago the state required four elementary schools to be closed as they could not be updated to meet state standards.

Reducing the number of schools from eight to five also necessitated the reassignment of staff as well as the administrative staff in those schools.

What happened was good for the students and the schools.

All students got to go to a new state-of-the-art school with technological resources.

Mixing the students also put a new perspective on teaching and learning.

The district sent those in one area to a school in another area and the teachers also adjusted to working with teachers they had never met.

Most of the teachers in this county started and ended their careers working in the same school with the same people.

For the last couple of years, I have been working with Eastern Kentucky University and putting teacher candidates into the new schools.

I have found the atmosphere in the schools to be invigorated with new resources, ideas and attitudes.

Similarly, the enthusiasm for teaching and learning has increased with test results that are commendable.

Not one of the kindergarten through fourth-grade schools is in danger of being categorized as needing assistance or low performing.

Some would say to add more teachers to struggling schools to lower class size, and that is always a viable option.

However, giving a school a new look with experienced teachers is still a win-win for students.

If there are good teams of teachers, each with a teaching strength learning should occur.

So, I would think that Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk has a good option for reassigning staff.

However, I would also consider mixing up students and not just building schools to fit growing neighborhoods.

The idea may not sound realistic to some educators.

However, it worked here and continues to amaze me that people have slowly stopped moving to specific neighborhoods for their children to be in particular schools.

They are happy with all elementary public schools.

Isn’t that what we want in every community?

Pat Rosenthal is a former teacher and administrator for Clark County Public Schools.