Debate Continues Over Teacher Split Between Middle School And High School
Published: October 21st, 2009
By: Melissa Stagnaro

OXFORD – Since September, Jonathan Rogers has been spending half of the school day teaching eighth grade social studies at the Oxford Middle School and the other half instructing high school global studies students.

According to Rogers, who was informed on the last day of the 2008-09 school year that he would be shared between the two buildings, the situation is far from ideal, particularly for students who are struggling with their coursework.

“This absolutely, unequivocally is not good for children,” Rogers told the Oxford School Board on Monday, as he shared his concerns about the arrangement.

The educator said his primary concern is that he is unavailable for students who need additional help in both buildings.

“I’m not there during study hall,” he reported, explaining that his eighth graders have had to seek extra help from other staff members in his absence. The situation is similar in the high school, he said, where his struggling global studies students have gone to sections of AIS in other subjects to get help.

“This is not what’s best for kids,” Rogers said.

At the middle school, the educator is also still assigned as a homeroom teacher, which involves duties he said he is now unable to fulfill. While a student teacher working with him has been able to keep his room open in the afternoons to allow students to access their lockers and seek help, that won’t be the case when she leaves this Friday, he explained. After that date, the room will need to be locked when he leaves for the high school. Other arrangements will also need to be made to distribute report cards and other documents, which are normally handed out in homeroom at the end of the day.

Other logistical issues exist as well, Rogers said, discussing the difficulties in making building and department meetings, as well as PLP, the time designated for professional learning. As a result, he said he feels disassociated from both buildings.

“I don’t feel like I teach anywhere,” he reported.

The arrangement has also caused him to limit participation in the community service project he has done with his eighth graders over the last few years, Rogers said.

Community member Anna Stark said this has already affected the soup kitchen, where his students have volunteered in the past. While last year eight or nine students helped out every Monday night, “this year, we have none,” she said.

“It’s not working,” said Rogers, who has been vocal about his discontent with the arrangement for several months. He has previously broached the topic with administrators and the school board, both in person and in writing. According to the educator, who also serves as president of the Oxford Teacher’s Association, he is still waiting for a written response from the board regarding an earlier letter.

Before approaching the board on this occasion, Rogers said, he “followed the chain of command,” by first speaking with his building principals and Superintendent Randy Squier.

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