After months of failed negotiations with the local school board, teachers in Reynoldburg went on strike on Friday.  The school board responded by keeping the schools open and busing in overly-priced, incompetent substitute staff.  The Dispatch reports that staffing is at half the normal level, resulting in large groups of students being forced into small classrooms with unprepared teachers.  According to some reports, all hell broke loose.

Today, Reynoldsburg Superintendant Tina Thomas-Manning sent out a letter to parents that promised to crack down on the problems experienced last week.  Her solution: blame the students!   Thomas-Manning’s threatening letter is clear: she plans to call the police and/or Children’s Services on kids who fail to show up and follow the new prison-like rules she is promising to implement this week.

Here’s the letter…

Dear Reynoldsburg families

My administrative team and school principals have spent the weekend adjusting our plans to engage students in learning at school while their teachers are on strike. Although it is understandable, the heightened emotional state and corresponding behavior of some of our older students demands that we structure our school days differently to help everyone focus on academics. Students’ cooperation is absolutely essential. Please review these plans and talk them over with your children ahead of time.

High Schools

At the high schools, we will introduce a highly structured environment until students are more comfortable with the situation and regain their composure. We have reassigned some administrative staff to the high schools in order to  facilitate our plans for the next few days.
•       Students will be greeted on the bus or at the door by an administrator or Reynoldsburg staff member who will escort them in groups of approximately 30 to a classroom, where they will spend the day together.
•       Students will be provided assignments to complete – which will count toward their core course grades. Over the next 1-3 days, all students will receive a laptop and online curriculum. The online work will be much more customized to their individual learning needs.
•       Breakfast and lunch will be delivered to students in their classrooms.
•       Restroom and exercise breaks will be provided on a schedule.
•       Students who are insubordinate will be suspended.
•       Shuttles between the two campuses will be suspended for at least Monday and Tuesday. Students may take a bus home from whichever campus they are on. Students who need to know their home bus assignments will be able to get them from administrators on Monday, but it would be helpful if you looked up your student’s route ahead of time:
In an effort to assist us with our plans for safety, Reynoldsburg police will begin actively enforcing truancy laws on Monday. If you as a parent decide to keep your child out of school for any reason, please keep them home. Students who are causing  distractions, especially near any schools, may be taken into custody by police. Police tell us that they will attempt to contact the students’ parents first. If unsuccessful, they plan to take students to Children’s Services until parents can be reached.
Middle/Junior High Schools
Beginning Monday morning, administrative staff will assign students laptops and assist substitute teachers in accessing online curriculum. The software provided will be highly personalized to each student based on their academic needs, so it should seem more relevant and challenging to the students. Students’ work and participation will count toward their grades in core classes. More structure will be introduced where necessary. Students, for example, might not change classes until they are more settled and comfortable.
Elementary schools
Elementary  schools will be the highest priority for new substitute teacher placements until all children can be returned to their regular classrooms. Principals have provided lesson plans for all grade levels and subjects and will focus on ensuring that those plans are being followed. Grades on those assignments will be recorded and turned in to principals. We expect to reintroduce engaging learning activities for students. We are working with some of our long-time partners to bring activities to the schools as soon as this week.
Despite what you may have read or seen on TV, it is important to know that as I toured buildings on Friday, the first day of the teacher’s strike, there were many students who were highly cooperative and supportive to their peers and substitute teachers. They handled this very confusing situation with the pride and respect that we expect.
Please understand that my top consideration is the safely and well-being  of our students. In a structured environment, we expect to be able to help students acclimate to the situation more quickly so that they do not fall behind academically. We look forward to returning to a more normal schedule as soon as possible. This is a difficult time for everyone and a confusing one for some students. Parents play an important role in making sure that students come to school focused and ready to learn. We urge parents to remind their students that the most important thing they can do during this time is to continue to learn.
Tina Thomas-Manning

  • anastasjoy

    How can you “highly personalize” an online curriculum to a student without spending intensive time with each student to learn what his or her needs are?

  • Think.

    “Students who are causing distractions, especially near any schools, may be taken into custody by police. Police tell us that they will attempt to contact the students’ parents first. If unsuccessful, they plan to take students to Children’s Services until parents can be reached.”

    Translation: Don’t you dare allow your kids to cause distractions by standing with their teachers on the picket line.

  • Mark Schrider

    Parents just need to keep their kids at home. These police state tactics on the part of Reynoldsburg school officials will do more harm to students current, and future, ability to learn than letting the kids stay at home playing video games or watching TV. This is right wing-nut policy in action.

  • Failing AlgeBRAH

    I worked at a charter school for 2 years (whoops), and they utilized an online curriculum for two years. The program was called Apex, and they gave the same “personalized education” rundown to the parents. All it was was nothing more than an online textbook in which the kids took quizzes. At times, I had 90 kids crammed into one computer lab, in which the kids just mindlessly went through the “lessons,” took the quizzes, failed, and had to wait until I “unlocked” the quizzes for them to retake.
    I even had a parent that was angry with ME saying that I wasn’t teaching, I was just “some kinda tech guy,” which I suppose I couldn’t refute.
    Technology is great; but technology is a tool. It doesn’t replace great teachers. And I think we all know that Reynoldsburg has plenty of them based on the released OTES scores.

  • Retrofuturistic

    You test them with a software program; then you customize their computer menus so that what they are working on is the stuff they don’t know. A great tool in the hands of a trained teacher, but charter schools? Not so much.

  • Retrofuturistic

    Yeah, the boot is on the stair….
    What’s it going to be like after Kasich is “re-elected”?

  • I’ve had good experiences with Study Island, as a diagnostic and intervention tool. But I think it’s vital that folks know the difference between using it as a tool and using it for an entire curriculum.

    If indeed Reynoldsburg is going to an exclusive online curriculum, as a parent I would be furious that my child is getting screwed out of a great education (if they weren’t furious already)…especially, as you noted, being in the hands of people who likely have no clue how to use it.

  • Frank Adams

    “Students who are insubordinate will be suspended.” However, my money is on the fact that when students were insubordinate to the previous teachers, those students were often returned to the classroom without consequence.

  • Retired Mercer

    Will the “scabs” that are subbing be compensated based on student achievement during this time period?

  • anastasjoy

    That doesn’t sound like something a sub can throw at an overcrowded classroom of kids in a couple of days as a stopgap measure.

  • RLJ

    I would enroll my children in another school system- no matter what it takes or how inconvenient it is to me personally. No one threatens me or my family as a tactic for labor relations. Make no mistake- this is exactly what is being done! Reynoldsburg has a sorry history of administrations not following the normal rules let alone setting up a whole new set where there is no due process.

  • Unknow

    you should let the kids be by there teachers -_- your the one that needs to think missy

  • Shannon

    I think she was agreeing with you. It sounds like they’re trying to discourage students from the strike.

  • Unknow

    the reason I said it it’s because of the translation part no one going to listen to ” dumb f ” messing up our school’s

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