Originally posted at 2:38 p.m. March 12, 2014.
It’s been four years and a new superintendent’s tenure since Capistrano Unified teachers walked off the job in protest of contract negotiations. But a recent focus group of teachers reveals that while there’s been better communication with administrators, there’s still a lot of mistrust.
The consultants hired to help the sprawling school district select a new superintendent now that Joseph Farley has announced his retirement conducted a number of focus groups and solicited online questionnaires to various stakeholders.
The goal was to define the current strengths and challenges the district faces, along with the qualities the next superintendent should have.
While the responses from some groups, notably parents, administrators and support staff, take up pages, the teachers’ responses were concise. Challenges the district faces outweighed strengths 14-9.
Among those challenges are a belief that:
- Morale is still tenuous, healing is still ongoing
- The school board is divisive
- It’s “questionable if [the] Board [of Trustees] supports public education"
- A superintendent who brings in people from a past district is not a strength
- Charter schools are a challenge
The consultant, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, will present its findings at a special meeting at 5 p.m. today before the regularly scheduled 7 p.m. school board meeting.
According to a report, teacher input came from a focus group made up of eight teachers. Another 44 – there could be some overlap, the report says – filled out online surveys. The consultant cautioned that the results are not from a scientific sampling.
Among the strengths are:
- Communication between administrators/teachers/support staff and parents
- Employee/Employer Relations Committee-solves issues between negotiations before they become problematic
- High test scores
- Reputation of the district
- Teachers- #1 reason for success of students
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