Board member Debbie Brannan has sent an email out to try to do damage control for the school board, in the wake of the firing of Band director Hennig. The full email is after the jump.
Brannan is the board member to send out this email? Very odd, she has never been the public communicator in the past. Douglass is the boss of the board, so I guess he though it would be better to have someone else telling parents to calm down. Also, Brannan is the board member who will be up for election next (along with Adam Miller, but Miller was obviously working hard to keep the band director), if the voters are still angry by next election she will take the hit.
“The School Board hires the Superintendent. The superintendent then hires and evaluates the administrators. The administrators hire and evaluate the teachers.” – D.B.
What a load of buck passing B.S. Anyone with a minimum of knowledge about the school knows that the board is intimately involved in the final decision making about keeping or booting teachers. Do you think Ken Chaffin, young and newly hired to the school administration, was the one to decide that Hennig had to go? No way.
I heard that a big part of the reason super O’Reilly chose to quit was that the board (Douglass) was spending a lot of time telling him how to do his job. This decision by the board to get rid of Hennig might have happened back in January, could it have been the final push that drove O’Reilly out?
“Third, any observations / evaluations / improvement plans have a strictly prescribed process that must be followed. That’s why the union is there – for the teachers’ protection to ensure it is a fair process. “ – D.B.
Yes, there is a process, and the teachers union has a representative to give council to the teachers. They have no power to tell the administration how to do those evaluations, and if the teacher is being screwed over by the school, they can advise the teacher about the legal options they can take. Unfortunately the best legal advice for a young teacher who is being screwed over is “shut up and move on, because you don’t want to go down in the records as a teacher who likes to fight in court”.
If the process of evaluating Hennig was completed and the conclusion was that he had to go, why was there a 50 minute executive board meeting to decide his fate? That tells me there were board members who didn’t think the evaluations were fair, or that they warranted Hennig being booted.
“As we look to the future, Mr. Chaffin will be involving parents and students in the process of determining what Grandview values most in our High School Band program, and finding the best person for that job.” – D.B.
Again pasting the responsibility and blame on Chaffin. I wonder how long he will be staying at the school when he understands how this board is willing to stick the knife in his back?
“Keep Calm and March On” – Debbie Brannan
Don’t worry your pretty little heads about anything. Like soldiers marching in a line, you need to learn to obey orders, and the board has spoken!
(Yes, I know that “Keep Calm and Carry On” was a meme, it came from a poster used in WW2 England. Quoting from the Wiki article:
Design historian Susannah Walker regards the campaign as “a resounding failure”, and reflective of a misjudgment by upper-class civil servants of the mood of the people.
So it is very appropriate for Brannan to refer to that meme, her letter is also a resounding failure!)
(Later) A post-resignation investigation by the TVN found that Chaffin had not given his recommendation to offer a new contract or withdraw an offer at the time the board acted, and super O’Reilly confirmed that there was nothing bad enough in Hennig’s record to cause an immediate firing. This directly contradicts Brannan’s claim that it was the super and the principal who were firing Hennig. She was lying to the parents.
Dear Band Parents,
We do value your input and experiences, and appreciate your involvement in coming to the Board meeting Tuesday night. We understand this is an upsetting situation in many ways. As much as we are able, while still honoring those involved, we do want to address your concerns.
First, the music program is indeed moving forward, growing academically with increased rigor (concert and symphonic bands, adding AP Music Theory course), growing in breadth (plans to have strings continue in to high school next year), is well supported by the parent boosters and community members (new percussion instruments this year), and even physically moving the class to a newly remodeled and larger space. We are committed to increasing excellence in our music program.
Second, new teachers meet several days before school starts and throughout the year in structured meetings with two Lead Mentors who have been through ODE mandated training. In addition, mentors have ongoing one-on-one meetings with new teachers to provide support in instruction and understanding structures/norms of the district/building. In this district, our entire administrative team is also there to support the growth and success of all staff members.
Third, any observations / evaluations / improvement plans have a strictly prescribed process that must be followed. That’s why the union is there – for the teachers’ protection to ensure it is a fair process. Our administrators’ number one priority is what is best for Grandview students – all they do in each of their buildings is done with that end in mind. Many different data points are used in evaluations – yes, input is considered by parents and students, but there is no way a “small group of parents” has as much influence as you are giving them credit for. These are professionals who do not enter these situations lightly. And who would want their job evaluation debated in public? We are respecting Mr. Hennig’s choice to resign.
The School Board hires the Superintendent. In fact, we are in the midst of that extremely important process right now, which is why we’ve had many recent meetings held in Executive Session for the purpose of “personnel.” The superintendent then hires and evaluates the administrators. The administrators hire and evaluate the teachers.
As we look to the future, Mr. Chaffin will be involving parents and students in the process of determining what Grandview values most in our High School Band program, and finding the best person for that job. If your child became excited about music by the love and enthusiasm of Mr. Hennig, what a gift! Encourage them to “Keep Calm and March On”… together, in community, with respect for one another. It is sure to be a wonderful high school experience!