Today’s video comes from Veronica, a former Denver Public Schools teacher who, like me, was “non-renewed for cause” and thus banned from ever working in the district again. As you’ll learn in the video, Veronica has an impressive résumé. She is a twelve-year veteran who taught in New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland before coming to Colorado. She has a Master’s degree, a principal’s license, and is on her way to achieving National Board Certification. She has taught at almost every elementary grade level, and has a strong understanding of the overall scope and sequence of the elementary school curriculum. Most of all, she’s very passionate. She has taught students of all backgrounds, but she chose to work in Denver after moving to Colorado because it’s where she felt she could do the most good. In addition to helping her students learn and grow, she developed strong relationships with their parents, thereby keeping them engaged with their children’s educations.
Unfortunately, she worked on a team with teachers who were not as committed, and was the victim of harassment as a result. When they took field trips to the pet store, she took her students to the planetarium. When they advised her to set low Student Growth Objectives, she refused. So when she wanted to push for the highest Qualistar rating, they dubbed her “the One-Up Girl” and complained about how her ambitious goals for her students and the ECE program were making them have to work harder than they felt they should. The conflict went on all year. Instead of cracking down on the bad teachers (There they were! The Bad Teachers! This principal would have had all the legal and political cover she could ever want to fire real, live Bad Teachers!), her principal skirted the conflict, made up an excuse, and got rid of Veronica–who hadn’t yet achieved non-probationary status in this district– instead. There were no consequences for this school “leader,” who chose the easy way out instead of the right way. The district looked the other way when parents complained, and when Veronica tried to counter the decision with evidence of the good job she had done.
*A little note about the video:
We were having a tough time finding a place to film, and ultimately settled on the kids’ section at a certain large bookstore chain. As a result, there is a bit of background noise which doesn’t detract from the story, but as a perfectionist, I feel the need to mention. (If it’s truly bothersome to anyone, I’m happy to post a transcript.) Likewise, the video is obviously edited, but I’m not Michael Moore-ing here! My edits were done strictly to preserve a coherent and concise narrative (and occasionally to cut out wailing babies, and book seeking kids). In the future, all videos will be shot in quieter locales 🙂