made a bold statement to the San Bruno Park School District today, demanding that the school board postpone the planned move of sixth graders to the middle school next year because of a breakdown in communication.
In a letter sent anonymously to San Bruno Patch, Parkside’s principal and assistant principal said the delay was necessary because the school district has failed to agree upon a calendar for next school year and no sixth grade teachers have been assigned to the school yet. The school also just lost its only female custodian, which the letter said is a major concern and a broken promise from top district officials.
“When you look at Parkside moving into the future we have new buildings, a new infrastructure to meet the demands of our 21st century students, furniture, and technology,” the letter stated. “What we are sorely lacking is the substance of the program, a calendar, a schedule, and a Sixth grade staff to work with the children of our community.”
The letter appears to signal a lack of trust for the school board and superintendent and is only the latest episode in which school employees have begun to publicly blast the school district for decisions recently made.
Just last week, the principals of all the schools threatened the school board with a work slowdown unless job assignments were clarified for next year.
Schools trustee Jennifer Blanco said she supported the statements made in the letter. If the school district has to delay moving the sixth graders to Parkside because things aren't ready, she said, then that's what needs to happen to avoid any mistakes.
"If we were going to move forward with this right now, there would be too much of a rush," Blanco said. "I don't approve of that. We need to just wait."
Requests for comment have also been made to the other school board members and Superintendent David Hutt.
The 2012 school year was supposed to represent a positive move forward for the school district, with all sixth graders and their teachers being moved to Parkside to make the school a true middle school. last summer to prepare for the move, and more construction is planned.
However, the have caused many to question the direction in which the school district is going.
Today’s letter is an example of the community’s mistrust in San Bruno’s top school decision makers.
The letter further explained why the recent request to postpone moving sixth graders to Parkside was being proposed:
“The lack of a school calendar has significant and deep impact to the ability to schedule, program, and distribute students into classes. A calendar must be input into the student information system known as Powerschool in order to begin the process of programming. The programming process is laborious and time consuming, taking a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks to fully complete, troubleshoot, adjust, and verify. The lack of a calendar at this point in the school year makes it improbable that an accurate and reliable schedule can be produced. A failure in this area simply means students will not have schedules by the time school starts or, if schedules are produced, the accuracy will be questionable at best causing a possible reconstruction of the master schedule during the school year. Further, unlike any year in recent memory, the schedule needs to be rebuilt from the ground up with the addition of Sixth graders. This requires an additional layer of time that is not available due to a lack of calendar.
“The lack of a calendar is a staggering obstacle. The lack of assigned teachers to the Sixth grade at Parkside is another immense obstacle to the building and deployment of a quality program for children. In fact, no program can be established without the teachers. The Parkside administration has been unable to meet with any staff to establish a program of educating the children. The Sixth grade teachers will teach a new portfolio assessment elective and study skills elective. However, there has been no ability to train, deliver expectations, and collaborate with staff. The lack of planning with any member of a Sixth grade team marginalizes the program that has only been on paper thus far. We are unable to actuate without staff.
“Finally, the loss of our female custodian presents another issue for site administration to deal with moving forward. Parkside presents a unique circumstance among our elementary school brethren. Our female students are of an age where they are maturing and undergoing a significant hormonal change. There are multiple times during the school week where we have to send Maria, our female custodian, into the Girl’s Bathroom for a number of cleaning issues due to the changes in our female students. The lack of a female custodian presents difficulties in responding to these types of issues in a timely fashion. It would require two males to do the work of one female. One male would need to stand outside to close the bathroom while the second goes inside to effect clean up, a loss of work time for one of the custodians."