Roger Rowe is an amazing school. My daughter wakes up each morning excited to see her teachers, whom she views as an extended family. It is the teachers who are the heart and soul of the school and who provide such a nurturing environment. It is so visible how much time and energy they invest in each child; they want our students to do more than simply learn. They want our students to thrive. While budget cuts may require decreased staffing, the school board’s proposal to fire more than 20 of our beloved and invaluable teachers will negatively impact our children and our community.
The feeling of community and sense of belonging is apparent as soon as one enters the school parking lot. Teachers and staff smile and welcome parents and students as they enter the campus. The children are eager to arrive and look so happy to be within such a welcoming space. From our teachers, they learn academics, but also learn to be part of a larger community. They learn about kindness, respect, understanding and personal growth.
Walking into the library feels like coming home. Ms. Halboth is always there with a smile and often a snack. She is happy to help find a book, assist with homework, or simply offer a safe place for a shy student who might want a respite from the noise and boister of the playground.
When it is time for PE, Coach Green is there to motivate the students. She ensures each student set and achieve goals, whether it be becoming a faster runner or becoming brave enough to try a new event at Field Day. Mrs. Colvin strives to show students how fun and exciting science is. Art, music, computer science, public speaking and drama enrich the whole student. Such offerings make our school a unique place of education.
It is our teachers who make this school extraordinary. We have a culture and climate unlike any other school. Many families move here specifically because of this wonderful school. Removing these teachers harms not only our children and the school, but an important community asset. The strength of the school strongly influences property values.
Our school, like many public institutions in California, is facing a budget crisis. We understand this requires decreased staffing, but our community is very worried about the impact to our children. Over 20 teachers (more than 30% of the faculty) have received notice they may be terminated. They are understandably anxious, yet put on brave faces and continue to teach and nurture our children every day, trying to forget they may soon be unemployed.
Are there not other alternatives other than massive layoffs? Why have non-teaching positions not been evaluated for elimination? The previous superintendent assured us that in managing the budget any reduction in teaching staff would be a last resort. Where is that assurance now?
The leadership of the school, the school board and new superintendent, have remained silent as the community pleads for information. How will the school continue to offer support to students who need reading and math intervention? Who will teach computer science? What curriculum will be used for math? This is a public school, and our elected officials are obligated to represent the community. Why have our questions not been addressed?