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In the coming 2012-2013 Columbia Public School school year, returning students will find many new faces and lose many previous ones, as more than 700 teachers and staff in the CPS district will participate in a program relocating them to different schools and changing teacher work content.
Dana Clippard, assistant superintendent for the CPS Human Resources department, said although the change mainly affects teachers, the program is meant to aid students.
“It was to reorganize the personnel because teachers had to be shifted over to battle high school and then all the junior highs needed to be reconfigured to the middle schools in order to implement the middle school model,” Clippard said. “The benefits really are for the students when you are staffing a school with strong instructional teams, so every student in every building has an optimal learning opportunity.”
This operation however, also gave teachers great influence on how the change would affect them, as they had a large say in what they wished to pursue in their teaching career Clippard said.
“The teachers had a great deal of voice through this process, they were able to indicate their first second and third choices, they were able to choose location and content they taught, and then they were able to make personal comments that they wanted us to consider throughout the process,” Clippard said. “To our knowledge the amount of movement that resulted as part of secondary renovation hasn’t been done in the nation as far as we can identify; 733 individuals took the transition survey, when we filtered out between people who retired and resigned, we ended up with about 690-plus letters, and that includes Douglass [High School] and the career center.”
Of those designated to rotate out, 88 percent received their first or second choice on where they wished to be moved to.
RBHS Principal Mark Maus said this was also a learning process for all of the staff and teachers. He said much thought went into each placement.
“Some of it is need some of it is experience and some of it is, you know. Like Coach Conyers, I hate to see him go; I wish he could stay here the rest of his career, but he wants to go be a head football coach, and Coach Ofodile has a son who’s a freshman, and he’s sure not going to quit,” Maus said, “so some of it is people getting different opportunities. It’s not like Coach Conyers ever didn’t like being here. It’s just he was ready for that next step in his life.”
The program also helped teachers and administration reach consensus on relocating, as teachers could now have a say in a matter greatly affecting the CPS district Maus said,
“We worked as sixth grade through twelfth grade, district wide and had conversations with teachers on where they wanted to go,” Maus said. “I had just under 100 different conversations with different people, so it [was] very time consuming, but also a great opportunity to learn how great the teachers are here in Columbia Public Schools, but also to get everyone in a great fit. [To get teachers] somewhere that they wanted to be.”