A Tale of Two Back to School Nights

Excitement and enthusiasm were in the air as teachers in my new high school in a middle class neighborhood prepared their classrooms by decorating their bulletin boards, displaying student work, and straightening desks. Welcome messages abounded, Remind.com messages were sent, and we opened our doors to meet the parents.
I have done these events for 24 years, four times a year at my former school in South Central L.A. But this year’s Back to School Night left me reflecting, and perhaps shedding a tear.
First, my new parents were fantastic. They were friendly, enthusiastic, and supportive of the new ideas I bring to the school. I knew in them I would have allies to incorporate my findings from my Fulbright exchange in Finland earlier this year. Parent after parent nodded their heads and strongly affirmed that break time was important to students, teachers, and workers in general. They were excited to hear about the summer travel programs I had prepared.
As I looked at their warm and s…

LA Academy Community Fights to Save Public Education

100 Teachers, Students, Parents, and Community Members Participate in Informational Picketing on Friday, May 15, 2009

Teachers from all over California are desperately trying to bring attention to what we know will be the devastating impact of teacher layoffs which will result in drastic class size increases. We know, as parents in public schools do, that quality public education cannot survive when students are piled into classrooms at 45 students per teacher.

We are not asking for raises.

We are not asking for concessions.

We want to be able to teach your children, touch their lives, and make a difference in this world.

Public, please don't let the LAUSD school board cut classrooms as their way of balancing the budget. Let them know that teachers in the classroom should be the last prescious resource to go, if anything must go at all.

Look closely at the teachers below. These gentle, dedicated teachers have less than six weeks left to work with the students to which they have devoted themselves to for the last several years.

RIF'ed Teachers at L.A. Academy (back row, left to right: Mr. Zeccola, Mr. Awh, Mr. Arkin, Ms. Conrath, Mr. Tercero. Front row, left to right: Ms. Rivas, Mr. Kelley, Ms. Pier, Ms. Crisostomo).

Not pictured: Ms. Sanlin, Ms. L. Garcia, Dr. D'Lugo, Ms. Kim, Ms. Mannies, Mr. Marshall, Ms, Trejo, and possibly more.


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