Governing Board Meeting TVEA Spotlight
I am pleased to bring you the TVEA Spotlight for November 2020.
First, TVEA would like to wish outgoing Governing Board Members Darling, Farnbach, and Rutz-Robbins “Happy Trails” and best wishes on future endeavors. Your combined twenty-one (21) years of service as TVUSD Governing Board members is recognized.
As we turn the corner toward the final stretch of Semester 1, it is clear the lingering impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic have understandably impacted employee groups and stakeholders of TVUSD.
Our TVEA cohorts have developed three themes we see as focus areas in working with TVUSD moving forward and in considering any district reopening plan and corresponding schedule:
1) Time: Any reopening plan must be structured to provide not only the time needed for teachers to effectively support students, but for students and families to achieve academic success.
2) Transparency: We need to seek District and TVEA consensus whenever possible and to attain that it is paramount for TVUSD communication with our employees more frequently, and perhaps before messaging to the community. When community communication does occur, it should be transparent about progress toward projections for reopening. Benchmark dates to assess and adjust as necessary should be clear.
3) Infrastructure: TVUSD has started to share intent to provide Livestreaming at the secondary level and add a “Flex” assignment model at the elementary level. While we anticipate discussing these with you in forthcoming negotiations, our members are concerned about Necessary Equipment, Internet Capacity, and Training. The memory of the rollout of the Canvas Learning Management System on day one of instruction in August lingers for many TVEA members.
Finally, TVEA would like to offer perspective on our recently reported feedback from our elementary members in relation to a TK-5 Waiver.
TVEA recently sought member feedback as TVUSD asked for a TVEA position in conjunction with their previously announced targeted reopening date of November 30th fast approaching.
505 elementary teachers and specialists (87% participation) responded to our inquiry. Only 35% of polled members voiced support of a waiver.
TVEA had anticipated being able to share a statement in the TVUSD Reopening of Schools update Friday October 30th, yet since we did not, I will do so at this time:
With approximately only one-third of our elementary members favoring support for a TVUSD TK-5 Waiver, TVEA is unable to submit a position of “Support” at this time. Our members would like nothing more than to be back at school relishing in the teaching and learning cycle in person with their students. Yet, when considering the reescalation of our county into the "Purple Tier" and the advisement of Public Health Officials which comes with it, this does not seem to be the right time to make a charge to send students and teachers into the confined space of classrooms. In addition, as we enter the holiday period and the wind down of the first semester, our teachers are concerned for student and teacher continuity of learning and successfully completing the first semester of instruction.
Our essential TVEA mission is to provide a collective voice for our members. In this case, we did so for our elementary personnel which reflected a supermajority consent.
We were disappointed that TVUSD shared as part of their community message “We are saddened by these results”.
This suggests that there was an expectation of sorts that elementary teachers would comply with the waiver request and in not doing so let the district and community down.
TVEA provided timely feedback as requested. We are disappointed that our teachers were singled out as the reason why TVUSD has not achieved a waiver. We ask that TVUSD clarify this communication and seek to promote more of a “We are All in this Together” spirit in future communications to staff and the community.