As November approaches, the thought of the upcoming levy looms over Clinton-Massie employees’ minds.
Since May, we have experienced a significant reduction in staff that has everyone doing more, with less. As a district we’ve lost a school nurse in our elementary, three middle school language arts teachers, a curriculum director, a custodian, and a middle school music teacher.
Each position leaves behind a significant amount of work that still needs to be done. Those extra tasks have been added to every employee in the district.
Elementary teachers are learning how to address and care for sick children while continuing to teach, middle school teachers are prioritizing instruction into a 48 minute reading and writing block, and administrators have many added duties that pull them away from supporting teachers and students.
Hours are spent brainstorming how we are still going to meet the needs of our students with less manpower.
The thing is, most of us are working hard to prevent these reductions from impacting our students.
So while we have access to less support, fewer opportunities to take field trips (now only three allotted for our entire district), and even fewer resources (books, professional development, curriculum), we continue to push ourselves to grow students, to exceed expectations, and to shield our students from experiencing the reductions in service and resources.
For example, seveth-grade teachers, who previously had 90 minutes to teach both reading and writing daily, now only have 48 minutes to teach both reading and writing daily.
What happened to those minutes? We don’t have the staff to teach two sections at the same time, so now students have 48 minutes for reading and writing and 48 minutes in study hall.
Teachers are desperately trying to make the most of their minutes, though giving up over 40 minutes of daily instruction in ELA is extremely challenging.
Our teachers, custodians, administrators, support staff, bus drivers, maintenance, and food service staff work tirelessly. So many staff come in hours early, stay late, bring home work, and work when their kids go to bed. Not one staff member is demanding extra pay.
Our biggest complaint is how the reductions will affect our students.
I hear about people who vote “no” to try and teach Clinton-Massie leaders a lesson or because of some long-standing grudge against a former teacher. That kind of thinking won’t lead our district to its potential. It surely doesn’t help our students.
Not voting for the levy hurts our kids, our staff, and ultimately our community.
Clinton-Massie is evolving. We’re offering new classes and opportunities for students. I see a strong, student-centered district where our kids dream big and achieve big.
I see a district that’s paving the way for our future problem-solvers and innovators.
Don’t you want to support our kids? What are our children worth?
I get the opportunity to work with students daily. I see their potential, and you can’t put a price on the education they deserve.
Say yes to our kids. Say yes to our teachers, our bus drivers, our food service works, and yes, even our administrators, many who also work 9-11 hours a day.
Our leadership team is innovative and student-centered. I trust them to lead Clinton-Massie. I trust them with my children’s education.
I trust them with my “yes” vote.
(Please note: Just to clarify, this column was written at home, not on school time.)
Jen Molitor is Gifted Intervention Specialist at Clinton-Massie Elementary School and a resident of Clarksville.