Thanks for reading Fluco Blog! I’m Perrie Johnson, Fork Union’s representative to the Fluvanna County School Board. My goal with Fluco Blog is to let people know what’s going on at School Board meetings beyond the reports available online. Be forewarned, when it comes to discussion, most of the comments I remember turn out to be mine! Here’s the latest…
We talked a lot about money and not much about policy at December’s meeting, so this will be a short post. (Merry Christmas) I brought up two budget priorities for next year that aren’t listed in the online reports, that I hope the Board will consider. I want to concentrate on improving our current class sizes before we look at adding new positions and programs. According to the Va. Dept. Of Education website, Fluvanna’s pupil/teacher ratios are higher (that’s bad) than most of Virginia at the high school level, and they’re even worse at the elementary grades. I think it’s time to bring these ratios down to at least average levels.
I also want to do something to help equalize planning time across all grade levels. Teachers are given some time during the school day to prepare lessons, grade assignments, contact parents, attend meetings, and work on a million other requirements of the job. High school and middle school teachers in Fluvanna have twice as much planning time as elementary teachers. Our elementary students deserve teachers with enough daily planning time to be just as prepared as our middle and high school teachers. (Of course they ARE just as prepared, but at the cost of taking even more time from their evenings and weekends.). One of my budget priorities would be to hire lunch and recess aides for the elementary schools. Teachers would have a little more time for planning (not equal yet) and we would be paying less than teachers’ salaries to watch kids eat and play. Plus, NO instructional time would be lost. This wasn’t my idea, a teacher suggested it, and I’m sure staff could come up with lots of other ways to improve the situation.
With two new Board members starting in January, I’m looking forward to hearing their priorities, too!
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This blog is a personal blog, written and edited by me. the views expressed in this blog are purely my own and do not represent the Fluvanna County School Board, the school superintendent, or anyone else. Comments added by others are not necessarily my opinions and I am not responsible for their content.
7 thoughts on “”
Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!
I always enjoy reading your comments from your latest school board meetings.
I’m hoping the 2 new Board members will bring some refreshing ideas on improving the student learning environment. I personally spoke to them both.
I found the new VA Dept of Education (DOE) website not to be a as friendly to use as in the past.
Paragraph C of Virginia Code section $ 22.1-253.13:2 establishes division-wide ratios and upper limits of 29:1 for Kindergarten (with an aide required for classes of more than 25); 24:1 in grades one, two, and three (with no class being larger than 30 students); 25:1 in grades four through six (with no class being larger than 35 students); and 24:1 in English classes in grades six through 12.
According to the VA DOE website, K-7 teacher to student ratio = 13.06:1 and 8-12 = 12.47:1.
I totally agree that all teachers need more planning time. I know for me grading MBA papers takes me hours by providing all the required student feedback, rubric and APA comments.
I may be gone but my oldest daughter is still there. I look forward to another challenging and rewarding FLUCO school year.
Thank you for keeping us up to date on what is going on in the school system. We appreciate all the time you put in. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Excellent. Thank you for doing such a great job supporting teachers.
You are amazing. Thank you for being interested in what actually happens in our day to day in the classroom. Not having to supervise students during their lunch and recess would be an incredible boon for elementary teachers. That time could be much better spent in our classrooms preparing for lessons and reviewing student work.
Thank you for your commitment to our students. It certainly doesn’t make sense to have teachers supervising lunches for half an hour every day, but this practice is not limited to Fluvanna elementary and middle school teachers. Eight unlucky souls with third block planning have daily lunch duty in the FCHS cafeteria in addition to the other student supervision duties that their colleagues with first, second, and fourth block planning have.
As for class sizes, there are core academic classes of 12 students and classes of 31 right across the hall from each other at FCHS every semester, so the published, school-wide student:teacher ratio AVERAGE is misleading. We make no attempt to honor the intent of the SOQ class size limits as long as the published numbers look good. Come by anytime to take a look, and you will notice a pattern of differences in student demographics between the tiny classes and the big ones.
This is one reason a School Board member should make frequent unannounced visits to all the schools to get the first hand information. Thanks for sharing!
It does not surprise me one bit that a non administrative school system staff member suggested a great solution to a problem. I know we need a good administration but they are NOT the people who most directly acquainted with the day to day activities and relationships that make our system work. I hope the new board will show respect for the non admin staff and seek their input more often. I am sure they are a great, though sadly untapped, resource.