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Lorain High School: Teachers won't reapply for jobs (UPDATED, VIDEO)

Lorain Schools CEO David Hardy now wants teachers to participate in plan to improve schools

  • CEO-David-Hardy-hosts-February-town-hall

    FILE -- Lorain City School's CEO David Hardy Jr. speaks to community members during a town hall meeting held at Lorain High School on Thursday night, February 21.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

  • 022119-LORAIN-SCHOOLS-TOWN-HALL-KB02

    FILE -- Lorain City Schools CEO David Hardy Jr. speaks to community members during a town hall meeting held at Lorain High School on Thursday.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE

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The email sent to Lorain High School teachers and staff is attached below. 

LORAIN — Lorain Schools CEO David Hardy is suspending requiring high school staff reapply for their jobs.

In an email sent to high school staff, shared with The Chronicle-Telegram, Hardy states he is suspending the selection process announced at Thursday’s town hall, following consultations with State Superintendent Paola DeMaria.

Good afternoon LHS family,

I left our conversation Friday deeply moved by your statements. Your statements expressed a number of emotions, valid points, and perspectives. I was encouraged by the dialogue. I have also been in consultation with our State Superintendent, Paolo DeMaria. I want to reconsider how best to achieve the excellence that I know is possible at Lorain High School. For that reason, I will suspend the selection process previously announced. I created a very different understanding of what I was intending to accomplish, and I apologize for that. Suspending the process will allow us to collectively and collaboratively identify and implement the changes necessary to ensure our scholars succeed.

I also commend you and your actions that support your words from Friday. To be honest, I anticipated a dip in attendance or other signs of discontent. But your level of commitment to Lorain High School and Lorain City Schools remains steadfast. The past two days have shown me what is possible if we collectively and collaboratively continue to commit to an unparallel willingness to step up in moments of challenge, and prove to our kids what is possible every single day with you by their side.

I will be the first to tell you that I take decisions like this seriously, but I take your words equally as serious. Our scholars deserve the best from all of us, something that can only happen with your voices at the table. My ask of you is that we continue our conversation and come together around solutions to create the Lorain High we all want. One that is full of love and high expectations for scholars, teachers, staff, and leaders alike; one that is focused on our kids and the well being of all; one that raises our collective belief in what is possible; one that is led by a solution-orientation that suspends disbelief; one that allocates our energy on positivity ; one that leads us to a level of collaboration that will bring us to what is truly possible for all of our scholars. I continue to believe that it is fully possible for us to be a "C" school in two years; it is fully possible to reduce behavior incidences throughout the school by leaning in as a team and working with and believing in your school leaders to build a positive culture with you; it is fully possible for all adults to work together to create a collaborative approach to address our current academic challenges; it is fully possible to change the reputation of Lorain City Schools through the successful transformation of Lorain High School. It will take an "expect excellence" and "one for all" mindset and shared expectations to do so. It will take our absolute best--better than any "best" we currently give or can imagine--but we can do it.

So here is my ask of you--come together to create a plan that will meet the expectations above. Create a plan that is driven by your words on Friday. Create a plan that outlines a path forward to transform the lives of our young people for years to come. And then let us take the steps necessary, together, to make this plan happen. Through this level of collaboration, our path forward is clearer and full of promise. I look forward to working with you.

In the best interest of scholars,
David M. Hardy Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
Lorain City Schools

“Suspending the process will allow us to collectively and collaboratively identify and implement the changes necessary to ensure our scholars succeed,” he wrote.

At Thursday’s town hall, Hardy announced the high school would be the first “empowerment” school in the district due to its low state report card score and other internal metrics. That designation marked it for more stringent central office oversight, monthly check-ins and the building administration to conduct a “selection process” to retain staff for next school year.

Hardy’s letter to staff, sent shortly before 1 p.m. Tuesday, commends the input staff had at a meeting Friday, where the district administration gave some outline of the new plan to those affected. Media, school board vice president Tony Dimacchia and a union consultant were barred from the meeting.

“My ask of you is that we continue our conversation and come together around solutions to create the Lorain High we all want,” he wrote. “One that is full of love and high expectations for scholars, teachers, staff, and leaders alike ...”

Lorain Education Association President Jay Pickering said teachers, especially those on limited contracts, were relieved by the announcement.

“I think that this idea that teachers all have to reapply is no longer going to occur this year, which is very important because through that process, there was a risk of certain teachers not having a job next year,” Pickering said.

He added, “I think a lot of credit has to go to the teachers themselves, because until he looked in their faces and heard them talk, I think he hadn’t realized the kind of passionate teachers he was given when he became the CEO here. I think even in his letter he implies he was impressed with them, as he should have been from the beginning.”

He said staff and the union were surprised at Hardy’s rollback. Pickering said the district still has a long way to go, but noted DeMaria, the state superintendent, is monitoring Lorain’s situation.

School Board President Mark Ballard speculated Hardy’s change of heart wasn’t based solely on the input he received from staff.

“The big story is the big boys down in Columbus called him and said, ‘You’ve got to fix this now,’” he said. “They know he’s out of control, as we do. Now he apologizes and said he changed his mind.”

Becaue Lorain is one of three districts under state control under the controversial House Bill 70, state leaders have more say on how Lorain Schools is run.

Hardy did not return a request for comment Tuesday evening.

Ballard said whether it was the pressure from staff, political allies or parents, he appreciated high school teachers wouldn’t have to work with students as state testing looms wondering if their jobs were on the line.

He pointed to an interview Hardy did with WKYC-TV that ran Monday evening, still promoting the new plan — a tune that had changed by midday Tuesday.

“What he did is what he intended to do,” Ballard said. “As old folks used to say, ‘When people show you the way they are, you have to believe them the first time.’ Now I think he was forced to change his mind and forced to fix it, but I think he’s proven what his true intent is. As long as he’s here, we’ll continue to try to work with him, of course, but what he attempted to do is what he really (desired), he just evidently didn’t get clearance to do it before he did it.”

Contact Carissa Woytach at (440) 329-7245 or cwoytach@chroniclet.com.

Read: New Academic Distress Commission Chairman named.

Watch the video (below) of today’s Lorain Schools meeting. 


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