Archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Vinland teacher causes parent concern

March 12, 2008

A recent incident at Vinland Elementary School led to some parents speaking out at Monday's Baldwin School Board meeting.

Several parents spoke in favor of retaining the teacher that was in question after the recent incident. However, one set of parents talked to the school board in executive session about the issue.

"Parents were supportive of a teacher out at Vinland," Supt. Paul Dorathy said. "That's about all I can say. The only discussion that occurred was in executive session and I can't speak about that."

A trio of Vinland parents spoke a few words during the meeting's public comment section. They were Charles Upton, Julie Lange and Kathy Wismer.

Upton said his daughter has been looking forward to having this particular teacher for several years and she will hopefully have him next year, he said. Lange is afraid if the board censors what was taught by this teacher, then it will snowball into many other things being censored.

"I'm afraid if you censor one thing, you will to start censoring everything," Lange said. "I hope this teacher will continue to teach with the creativity that he has been able to teach. I don't want us to censor one thing."

Wismer presented the board with a letter from several parents hoping that this teacher is retained next year. The letter was signed by the group of parents.

Dorathy declined to elaborate on the issue at hand because it's a personnel issue, but did say the teacher is no longer using or teaching what became controversial.

"There was a concern about classroom materials that were used," Dorathy said. "At this point the classroom teacher has chosen not to use those materials anymore. That's where it stands at this point."

In other news Monday, the board did take action regarding its curriculum and who will be in charge of that duty.

At the February meeting, the board heard a report from the Curriculum Leadership Institute. After reviewing the program and cost associated with it, Dorathy had a suggestion to make to the school board.

"I am recommending that we leave it out," Dorathy said. "So, I am recommending that we say thank you, but no thank you. We need to spend our money on other things."

Blaine Cone, board vice president who handled presidential duties in place of Alison Bauer on Monday, agreed with Dorathy. She said that if the district was ever interested in taking the curriculum duties away from Dorathy, that it should look at the CLI again.

"I tend to agree with your recommendation, because we do have other issues to spend our money on," Cone said. "If we ever look at getting one person to do the job, I think we should look back on this at that time."

At the beginning of the meeting, the school board recognized Kit Harris, Baldwin High School wrestling coach, and his team. Harris was recently named the 2007 Midwest Sectional coach of the year for wrestling by the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Six BHS wrestlers were also recognized for their seasons. All six qualified for the state tournament in February.

After executive session, the board approved the personnel report. The only resignation was Stephanie Douglas as the curriculum secretary. There were three hires. They were Diane Jones (Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center car driver), Stacy Smith (BHS assistant spring play director) and Scott Crenshaw (Baldwin Junior High School science teacher for the 2008-2009 school year).

The next regular school board meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 14 at the District Office.


p_zinzer 10 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the hard-hitting, in-depth reporting on the controversy, Jimmy. You probably could have talked to the parents that had some concern to get an idea of what the controversial classroom material was. I mean, it's just an idea. We subscribe to your newspaper or purchase it at the grocery store in exchange for you sniffing out, sifting, sorting, and presenting the news. It's a really good arrangement and I encourage you to actively participate in the process sometime.


Stacy Napier 10 years, 1 month ago

Hey give him a break, he is a product (like this entire newspaper) of the award winning Lawrence Journal World, HAHA. If you have ever read that paper you would realized that it's stories are on the level of a high school paper. So he really doesn't know any better. I mean what example does he have to look at.

And why would he want to work that hard when, Jeff doesn't do any better. Look at his report of the downtown construction. Shoot I can look at the work and see that the road is closed now. That is not news.

I think maybe they are not allowed to ask any questions when interviewing. They can only write what is told to them voluntarily.


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