Beth Gravelle: Support 4A, 4B and 4C
As a high school science teacher, the spouse of a fellow teacher and a parent of a preschool age son, I am writing to urge voters to support ballot measures 4A, 4B and 4C.
Ballot measures 4A, 4B and 4C will alleviate pressing needs for space in all grade levels and begin to make up for over a decade of penny-ante pay raises and frozen salaries for staff since the Great Recession. Receiving a wage that reflects the professionalism we bring to the job every day is crucial for my family and all the district staff who make our schools great.
Great teachers in our community are making tough choices about where to live, supplementing their incomes with side jobs and considering whether they can afford to stay in the profession. Poor pay, long hours and rising costs of living are driving talented people out of the education profession in our community and across the state.
Our outgrown facilities’ lack of instructional space is restricting our ability to provide the quality programming in which we take so much pride. For example, my students recently conducted experiments in both of the courses that I teach during the same week — not an exceptional circumstance.
Labs are the best way for students to learn science, but they do require physical space and time-consuming setup and breakdown. My four sections of Earth, Space and Physical Science investigated element samples and chemical reactions to understand the periodic table, and my two sections of physics analyzed objects in motion using computer interfaced motion detectors at five different stations.
Because we have more science teachers than science rooms, I teach in four different classrooms. This meant I used my planning time to set up and break down lab six different times, often during another lab for another science class in that room. I could not use that time for lesson planning, assessment writing, grading, writing letters of recommendation for students applying for college or innovating new curriculum with colleagues.
These types of working conditions have a direct impact on programming, on teachers and on students and will become more common as our district continues to grow. Please vote “yes” on 4A, 4B and 4C, so my profession and our students can have a great future in our community.
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