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Letter: Dr. Jack Barshinger Says Teacher Mischaracterized District 101 Efforts

In a letter to the community, School District 101 Superintendent Jack Barshinger says teacher John Dryden was disciplined because he

Dear Members of the BPS 101 Community:

During a regularly scheduled Batavia Public School District 101 board meeting this evening (Tuesday), the Board of Education approved a Resolution Authorizing a Notice of Remediation to a Batavia High School teacher.

A notice to remedy is a written warning issued by a school board that warns the employee of improper conduct and the possible consequences thereof. Much of the information that was discussed in closed session is confidential and cannot be shared. Please rest assured that during the review of this employee matter, the Board of Education was given all of the facts, which may or may not be the same as information you may have read in the newspaper or on social media websites.

That said, there is some context that I feel would be appropriate to share.

In this case, District teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, psychologists and others worked together for over a year to select a data-gathering instrument that could be used to determine what social or emotional issues our high school students are experiencing, and whether individual students could benefit from new or increased supportive intervention by our staff. These purposes were shared with our parents and our teachers.

The issue before the Board (Tuesday night) was whether one employee has the right to mischaracterize the efforts of our teachers, counselors, social workers and others; and tell our students, in effect, that the adults are not here to help, but that they are trying to get you to “incriminate” yourselves.

Disagreement with District initiatives has happened before and it will happen again. What the BPS101 Board does not, and will not support, is any employee giving students false impressions about the motivations of those who come here every day to try to improve the lives of the students entrusted to our care. At no time was student discipline discussed or contemplated as a response to disclosures made by our students.

I understand that some people feel we could have done a better job explaining our goals and a better job working hand in hand with parents on these sensitive issues, and we will. The Board has asked my administration to take steps in the future to increase parental awareness and transparency when gathering data about sensitive issues such as mental health or substance abuse issues. When a plan of action is developed, we have agreed to share those details with our community.

We understand and appreciate the concern shown by our parents and our staff members for the welfare of our students. In all things we do, the best interests of the students must, and will, always come first.

Sincerely, Dr. Jack Barshinger
Superintendent, School District 101
Cindy Bender May 31, 2013 at 09:54 AM
A survey to find out if a kid needs "help"...How about those district teachers, social workers, guidance counselors, psychologists who "selected a data-gathering instrument" for over a year...get into the classrooms, hallways and lunchrooms and actually talk to their students...that's their real job!
michael f hopkins May 31, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Secondary School Costs Out of Line It’s a money pit. What do we get for all that money? The main thing we get is administration. At a suburban high school, the parents attended an orientation session for freshmen. On the auditorium stage was a phalanx of school employees, not one of them a teacher. Administrators, directors, advisers, psychologists, a dean, five guidance counselors (under a director), administrative assistants…..The director of mathematics was asked if he did any teaching? No, no time. Contrast this with a boy’s school in England a generation back. Same number of students, about 1000. They had forty or so teachers, a headmaster who didn’t teach. He was helped by an assistant who did. They had an office secretary, groundskeeper, several janitors, and part-time ladies for the cafeteria. The place seemed to work well. (This was lifted from a 2009 non-fiction book by British-American writer John Derbyshire.) MIKEE Batavia
Holly Sparks May 31, 2013 at 02:20 PM
This is so out of control. The school looks like a University with all the new amenities they have been adding. When I was there we worked on reading, writing, math, science, social studies. And NO I am not that old. If you had a problem you had the OPTION of talking to your Counselor. No surveys to fill out! Extra activities were nice but secondary. We didn't have all of these administrative people. This is ridiculous. How about they add more teachers and start teaching the kids the important things that they will need when they graduate. We don't need anymore "administrative people". What has happened to this town that had kids that graduated with good grades because the teachers cared and there were more teachers than paper pushers? I bet John Dryden wasn't even close to a million per year in salary and he taught the students and they liked him and most of all they learned from him. Can't say that about Barshinger.
w_petersen June 04, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Nice letter, but it misses the point! You have the right to remain silent if you THINK it might incriminate you. The intentions of the questioner, no matter how noble, are irrelevant.
Nancy Murphy June 14, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Look at how many counselors, psychologists and social workers they have pulling down fat salaries on the USD 101 payroll -- This was likely a ruse to justify their continued existence and fat salaries -- salaries listed here: http://chicagolampoon.blogspot.com/2013/06/batavia-usd-101-educrats-piss-on-us.html

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