Teacher shuffle causes Oxford school board battle

OXFORD – Conflicting opinions about moving teachers between buildings sparked heated debate among board, faculty and community members at an Oxford school board meeting last night which dragged on for nearly five hours.

Shortly after the meeting’s 7 p.m. start, long-time eighth grade social studies teacher and Oxford Teacher’s Association President Jon Rogers addressed the board with his concerns. Just moments after students had left the building on the final day of school, he said, he had been informed that his teaching assignment would change for next year.

“I’ll be shared between the two buildings,” he explained, referring to the Middle and High Schools. According to Rogers, the new arrangement, which he said he believes is “retribution” for speaking out, will not be by choice.

“I love to teach eighth grade,” he said, explaining that while he is certified to teach the sophomore-level Global Studies classes he has been assigned, he has never taught it before. When he has questioned the decision, Rogers said, he has been given “glib and nebulous” answers, which did nothing to clarify or explain why the move was “best for students.”

“You’re not even considering continuity,” he said.

The move will affect not only Rogers, but seventh grade social studies teacher Michelle Barrows as well. Barrows said she has been told by administrators that she may need to pick up one section of eighth grade because of block scheduling at the high school. She also expressed concerns about students who would no longer be able to seek extra help from Rogers after school without going to the high school.

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