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Some Eastern teachers rehired

June 24, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Responding to an impending state takeover of Eastern Elementary School, Washington County Public Schools officials reposted staff positions at the failing school, and about half of the original teaching staff was rehired to work at the school.

Of the 41 teaching positions filled at Eastern Elementary School for the 2003-2004 school year, 19 former Eastern teachers were rehired, said JoEtta Palkovitz-Brown, the school system's executive director of elementary education.

In addition, 16 teachers from other county schools were hired to work in Eastern classrooms and six - mostly first-year teachers - were hired from outside the school system, she said.

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Palkovitz-Brown said former Eastern teachers who were not rehired at the school have been placed in classrooms at other county schools.

Carol Mowen, spokeswoman for the school system, said of the six new teachers hired, one is a veteran out-of-county teacher with more than 20 years of experience, three are finishing their master's degrees at Frostburg State University but have not yet taught, one teacher just earned her bachelor's degree and did her student teaching in the county and the other teacher just earned her bachelor's degree but didn't do her student teaching in the county.

She said the team that interviewed the teachers consisted of some central office staff; Eastern Parent Teacher Association President Aaron Kelly; Kathy Stiles, who has been hired as the new principal at Eastern; Cheryl Lannon, who was rehired as assistant principal at Eastern; and Peggy Pugh, who was hired as a new assistant principal at Eastern.

Lannon said during the three weeks in May when the interviews were conducted, a substitute teacher filled in for teachers who were being interviewed during the school day.

She said the interview team was seeking teaching candidates who had a background and interest in literacy, who were positive and enthusiastic about teaching and who were interested in being lifelong learners.

She said that prior to the interview process, a lot of teachers told her they felt anxious about preparing rsums and facing job interviews they hadn't had to go through, in some cases, in more than 20 years.

Palkovitz-Brown said when teachers at Eastern learned they would be expected to stay at school an additional half-hour a day to tutor students and for staff development, 16 teachers said they did not want to reapply, but 10 changed their minds and reapplied.

Becky Myers, a full-day kindergarten teacher at Eastern who was rehired, said many teachers like herself who have children thought the extra time might take away from their families. She said that after discussing her options with her children, she decided to stay.

When on a normal schedule, Eastern Elementary students are dismissed at 3:30 p.m. With the extended teacher day, teachers will leave the school at 4:30 p.m. at the earliest, she said.

Palkovitz-Brown said six instructional assistants will remain at the school, three in special education, one in pre-kindergarten, one in parent involvement and one in English as a Second Language.

She said three Title I instructional assistants' jobs were cut for funding reasons.

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