One of the most interesting parts of the conversation at this month’s regular workshop was the discussion concerning Warrington Middle School.
I’ve mentored a student once weekly at Warrington, so I have developed a feel for the way things are going at that school this year. It is challenging, but this school has changed DRAMATICALLY since the 2008-2009 school year when I mentored a different student at Warrington.
So after we discussed the merits of continuing a third year of the One Year Turnaround with Turnaround Solutions, at a cost of nearly $400K, the discussion took two interesting turns…
First, discussion of the silent yet real problem that exists at Warrington and several other schools in our district: Getting teachers that want to teach at such locations to pass the General Knowledge (GK) exam so such teachers can be certified. After numerous tries, if a teacher cannot pass this test, they cannot teach, they cannot be hired. And district-wide there are several dozen teachers that are struggling to pass this exam---several at Warrington. You can read about the GK exam here, and see sample test questions….
The other great and interesting conversation that happened concerned teacher pay. The Principal of Warrington, when I asked about teacher retention there, expressed her frustrations. “If we could just pay them more, we could keep more of them” she explained.
Of course I jumped in and attempted to engage a conversation about my STRONG SUPPORT for paying teachers in challenging assignments a higher wage---yet I was shut down from talking about this by the Chair---which was unfortunate. I was simply glad to hear someone that gets it, Mrs. Lipnick, verbalize what I and many others in this district know: Until we pay these teachers more