We woke up to two inches of snow yesterday, which quickly melted.
My kids went to Palm Springs High School, one of several high schools in our district. They had a longtime principal who was popular with students and teachers alike. I think the main reason the teachers liked him is he left them alone. He didn’t get in their way of creating curriculum or classroom management.
He retired and a principal was moved from another high school in the district. The new principal immediately made changes. His first move was to tell established AP teachers they would be moved to general ed classes. He was going to appoint new teachers to the AP classes.
He wanted the excellent AP teachers, who had been there for years, to help students who were struggling. The kids in College Prep and AP would do just fine no matter who taught them.
However, he didn’t realize that some courses like AP Calc or AP Chem could not be taught by anyone!
The teachers were furious. They had taught their courses — in some cases — dozens of years. They had developed their curriculum and loved what they were doing.
Parents were asked to go to a meeting with teachers and the superintendent. The teachers wanted our support. It was one of those meetings where parents and teachers voiced their concerns, but we realized the superintendent and principal’s minds were made up. The meeting was a weak attempt to appease us.
Two excellent teachers, the AP Chemistry and AP History teachers, resigned. They decided to retire.
Then the new principal announced reassignment of the Latin teacher to teach English. She had created a four-year Latin program which was used as a model throughout California.
The other high schools in the district didn’t offer Latin, so it would be eliminated at Palm Springs High School. That’s only fair, right?
We had a standing-room only meeting with the school board. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the local paper The Desert Sun about the controversy:
The Latin language isn’t dead, at least not in Palm Springs. Some community members are fighting to keep it that way.
Parents, teachers and current and former students showed up to speak at Tuesday’s Palm Springs Unified board meeting, outraged by the reassignment of Palm Springs High School’s beloved Latin teacher. Svetlana Lazarova has been teaching all levels of Latin for more than two decades, and according to students and parents, Palm Springs High School administration informed Lazarova of her departmental transfer on the very last day of school.
“My greatest concern is how it was handled,” said Anne Hebert, a teacher at Palm Springs High School. “She was told within one hour before the end of the school year that she would be an English teacher.”
Lazarova joined the Latin program at Palm Springs High School in 1993. When she started, there were eight students in her class. Twenty years later, enrollment was up to 200 students across six classes. According to a 2013 interview with the California Teachers Association, she gave up her prep period to accommodate the high demand.
But students say the popularity of her class never prevented her from mentoring students individually. Lazarova’s first year students start with the basics of Latin grammar and vocabulary. By the end of the fourth year, they’re able to navigate the worlds built by Cicero’s prose and Virgil’s poetry.https://www.desertsun.com/story/news/education/2018/06/13/palm-springs-community-unites-protest-reassignment-latin-teacher/698292002/
I’m happy to let you know we won and Lazarova still teaches Latin at Palm Springs High. The new principal was either fired or transferred.
In current news, students in Virginia who earned National Merit Awards weren’t told about them because it might hurt other students. It reminded me of the Latin controversy at PSHS.
What do you think about cutting out courses in high schools like Latin so all schools are the same? Or not informing kids of their National Merit awards?
Even the alligator got topped with snow.