Letters to the Editor
Townsend has reasons for dismissal and seeks closure:
Dear Kremmling Community,
After receiving the statement of reasons for the nonrenewal of my teaching contract by the Board of Education on May 12, 2015, I wrote this correspondence to the members of the Board of Education and the superintendent to dispute those reasons.
1. Your demeanor, manner of interacting with co-workers, and subjects of conversations were not consistently constructive and professional. There was an instance this past year, where the superintendent asked me if I had said something about a co-worker that was inappropriate and I said absolutely not. Nothing else was said to me about this. I received the MILE (Motivating and Inspiring Leaders and Educators) award which is a peer nominated award. I was a member of the Leadership Team committee this past year. I had a professional and positive relationship with my co-workers and the parents of my students the past two years. I was chosen to be a new first grade teacher’s mentor teacher after teaching only one year myself. She and I became very close, professionally, and throughout the year helped each other with students and ideas to better our students’ learning experience. That is the reason why she applied to be my partner teacher when my partner teacher chose to retire…we were prepared and excited to continue that positive relationship as partner teachers in 2nd grade. At least two or three times a week, fellow co-workers would come to me asking my professional opinion about a situation in their classroom or a student and sometimes in dealing with a parent. I always gave professional and positive ideas to them. I believe that in my two years at West Grand, I had become a leader and was looked up to by my fellow co-workers. This was proven when many co-workers, parents and community members supported me throughout this ordeal with positive feedback and backing.
2. You did not consistently follow schedules and curriculum programs that were approved by the District Board and Administrations. I taught the curriculums that were provided to me for the past two years. The reading curriculum is “Treasures” and the math curriculum is “Math in Focus.” At many staff meetings teachers were given permission to supplement these two curriculums as we saw the need to help our students learn the given material. In Treasures, I taught the phonics and the other skills the guide provided. I used the stories that are included in the curriculum. I used the phonic workbook pages as well as the skills workbook pages and supplemented as needed. The staff was never trained in teaching Treasures with fidelity and because of this I did what I needed to do to be an effective and outstanding teacher. Many trainings were done to help my co-workers and myself impart better reading lessons, for example, close readings. I found many close readings to supplement Treasures as well as using the stories in the curriculum to invoke higher thinking skills in my students. I believe I did that well, and my students’ test scores prove that. In using Math in Focus, I did the same thing. I also looked at standards and was given permission by the principal to choose from that curriculum what I needed to cover the standards that are required. The math coach also visited with me on numerous occasions to help and support me in teaching what 2nd graders needed to be successful as they continue in their math career. In fact, one of my professional goals was to take a deep look at Math in Focus and pick and choose what concepts to teach to cover the standards. The principal not only approved that goal, but helped me write it. I had no choice but to follow the daily schedules that were provided for each grade level. The principal, my partner teacher and I met a few times to take a look at the first schedule that was provided and we chose to change it a little bit to give our students more core reading learning time. It worked well and I followed it precisely.
3. The Board’s consideration of the administrative recommendations for nonrenewal based on the preceding factors. This reason saddens me. I cannot believe that after all the support and positive affirmations that were given to the Board by fellow co-workers, parents and community members, the members of the Board did not questions the accusations about me that were put in front of them. Some of the Board members know me personally. I coached their children in volleyball. Some had children that were involved in the Friday Fun days. I truly believe that I was not given the chance to dispute the above reasons before the vote. I respect Mr. Page, but he is one person and as I said before, there are always two sides to every dispute. Again, I am grateful for all the support during this ordeal. I believe that after sharing the reasons for my nonrenewal with all of you that supported me and writing the rebuttal letter to the West Grand Board of Education, I can put this behind me.
Thanks, Kay Townsend