APS professional development day: Grading papers in a coffee shop when mishap sends wrong teachers to training

APS had early release today  for teacher training, and APS teachers – elementary school teachers and middle and high school science teachers — showed up at the Carver campus under the impression that they were going to have professional development in science.

But many were instructed to return to their schools as the training at that site was apparently for high school teachers only.

According to teachers, they received notices this week at school telling them that the training was mandatory, but arrived at Carver to find a hand-lettered sign on the door that the 1 p.m. training was only for high school teachers. An APS official was also on hand, advising baffled teachers to return to their schools as their principals would have alternative plans for their afternoon.

But teachers called me from a coffee shop where they were grading papers late in the afternoon because their principal was not at the school and they did not get any e-mails as to what they were supposed to do this afternoon.

Here’s what I think is a bad sign: When I asked a teacher how such a miscommunication could happen, she said, “To be honest, this is APS and there is constant chaos. You never know what is going on.”

An APS spokeswoman said the mistake affected 60 teachers:

There was a glitch at one of the six sites offering professional development for APS teachers this afternoon. Approximately 60 elementary teachers showed up at Carver for science training when the training actually was for high school teachers. Earlier in the day, schools were notified about the change. Apologies were offered to the teachers who did show up. They were instructed to return to their schools. We will follow up with schools to see which teachers did not return.

103 comments Add your comment

chillywilly

August 25th, 2010
4:06 pm

Maureen,

That teacher is absolutely right when she said “To be honest, this is APS and there is constant chaos. You never know what is going on.”

I blame it all on Beverly Hall’s leadership. She has become a HUGE distraction to the school system and everything that can go wrong, is going wrong. You “ain’t” seen nothing yet. Hold on to your seat.

You need to investigate the Payroll Breach issue where every APS employee’s personal payroll information was emailed to various people in error. Information such as gross pay, detailed deductions including contributions to United Way, insurance info, checking & savings account numbers, amount deposited into checking & savings, accrued leave, etc. Included was Beverly Hall’s payroll info. I understand that the Comptroller & Accounting Manager tried to cover it up. An email was never sent to the employees informing them of this breach and advising them to pay close attention to their bank accounts.

Beverly Hall Must Go!!

Paddy O

August 25th, 2010
4:29 pm

Maureen – I have seen scant coverage of the how State BOE mandates that testing be operated – in other words – how could the cheating have occurred if the State BOE had proper and discrete process. Have you had this process properly explained to you?

Better Things To Do

August 25th, 2010
4:50 pm

Says a lot about the caliber of some APS teachers, when they don’t return to their rooms to keep busy with preparing for actual teaching. I would have expected that kind of answer from a high school student thinking they had gotten a day off. It’s still fairly early in the school year and there are still preparations to be made in one form or another.

trying hard to be patient

August 25th, 2010
4:55 pm

Didn’t APS just start school? 2 1/2 weeks into school and they already have an early release day? That is just crazy!!!!

Doris M

August 25th, 2010
5:05 pm

Is anybody in charge in the APS? I don’t think so!

Teacher

August 25th, 2010
5:07 pm

@ BTTO- Grading papers is not a part of a teacher’s job description? So typical- blame the teachers. They showed up where they should have gone, were sent away, went back to their school where the principal was MIA, and then sat in a coffee shop doing work. What’s your problem with that? If they were lawyers, CPAs, consultants, etc. there would be nothing wrong with doing paperwork at Starbucks. Yet God forbid our teachers get out of the cinderblock prisons to do their paperwork.

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2010
5:08 pm

@Teacher, I agree. I was talking to my co-workers and we said most employees would have gone shopping in the same situation.
Maureen

APS: May be worse than DC Public Schools

August 25th, 2010
5:10 pm

To “Better Things to Do:” if you worked at APS, you wouldn’t return to your room either. Plus, I give these teachers credit for using their time wisely by grading papers after their training was canceled. The whole APS system, from the rampant cheating scandal, to the way that teachers are treated, is broken.

model ourselves after high performers

August 25th, 2010
5:40 pm

Cobb had an early release day today too…just three weeks into the school year…
Since state professional development requirements have been waived for the next five years, I’m not sure why we are taking time from an already shortened school year (175 days in Cobb) for professional development.

Su Yeager

August 25th, 2010
5:50 pm

There was a glitch at one of the six sites offering professional development for APS teachers this afternoon. Approximately 60 elementary teachers showed up at Carver for science training when the training actually was for high school teachers. Earlier in the day, schools were notified about the change. Apologies were offered to the teachers who did show up. They were instructed to return to their schools. We will follow up with schools to see which teachers did not return.

Been there done that...for 33 years

August 25th, 2010
5:50 pm

If I were still in the classroom, I would have LOVED a free afternoon to work in my classroom with no pesky “training” or meeting!! There’s ALWAYS something that needs to be done in an elementary classroom! ( and probably the MS and HS too…my experience is with the little ones)

Tonya T.

August 25th, 2010
5:55 pm

How will you follow up with teachers who went back to the school and no one was there? They need not be penalized for lack of planning on the part of APS I hope…

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2010
5:58 pm

Thanks Su, I have added this information, but I am curious why schools have half-days for teacher training so early in the school year. Apparently, Cobb did as well, but it seems way too soon.
Maureen

Good for Kids

August 25th, 2010
6:01 pm

Yes, blame the teachers. They teach kids this morning, get in their cars, drive to a training site, are told to return to their schools, drive BACK to their schools where they have NO LEADER to give them guidance. By this time it was early afternoon at least. Go have a coffee and live like the rest of the world does. If I had been there I would have bought it for you. Some people just don’t get it.

Good for Kids

August 25th, 2010
6:07 pm

Here is another interesting one, Maureen. Fulton teachers had SEVEN preplanning days this year before school started. I, nor my friends who are teachers, can figure out why. It was not seven last year (was it two?) and four or five seems sufficient. I am happy for them if it was to their benefit…can they take away those days (via furlough) once they are worked? I don’t think they can. But why now? Why in a year when the calendar is cut to 177 (to save costs- salaries, buildings, and transportation) did you pay for teachers to be in buildings on several hot August days? (no buses, so we saved there but otherwise why not put kids in those desks after some prep days). I am just wondering if anyone understands this decision? Fulton also did away with early release days. I think the rationale was that if they are transported to the building and the teachers are there teaching, get every last minute out of the dime already spent.

Good for Kids

August 25th, 2010
6:10 pm

I meant to say, “Neither I, nor my friends…”

APS Teacher

August 25th, 2010
6:14 pm

“60″ my foot. Did you mean 600?

Mike

August 25th, 2010
6:25 pm

Don’t be surprised when those teachers at the coffee shop get tracked down and reprimanded now.

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2010
6:38 pm

@Mike, If there was no plan for them, and they did work at a coffee shop, I would hope APS would leave them alone. I think Atlanta has enough on its plate and it ought not compound its own error by criticizing teachers who went to a coffee shop at 3:30.
Maureen

Typical day in dysfunctionland

August 25th, 2010
7:06 pm

“We will follow up with schools to see which teachers did not return.”

In other words, we were totally incompetent, we wasted teachers’ valuable time, so we will compensate by harassing teachers.

Another example of why Hall has almost no support among teachers.

Thank you for clearing that up Su

End of days

August 25th, 2010
7:09 pm

Cynthia Tucker, in today’s paper, without any wiggle room, called for Hall to resign. These 2012 predictions may be right after all.

Cobb Teacher

August 25th, 2010
7:11 pm

As a Cobb teacher, you should have wanted me at the coffee shop grading papers; instead, I was stuck in a meaningless meeting discussing the “numbers” game when I should have used the time wisely: grading papers, planning curriculum, and collaborating with my peers. Unfortunately, Cobb seems to think that collaboration means creating pretty spreadsheets of numbers. Let me teach and give me time to work with my peers. I have LARGE classes and little time. Respect me. I am highly educated. I want to teach, and I believe I teach well, but with all of this pressure, I probably will be one to be RIffed next spring. At this point, so be it. I know, in my heart, that I am a good teacher.

SWF Seeking Bliss Through Information Not Ignorance

August 25th, 2010
7:39 pm

Oh APS gets all the luck!

catlady

August 25th, 2010
7:45 pm

Where can we see Cynthia Tucker’s article? It does not seem to be available on line.

SWF Seeking Bliss Through Information Not Ignorance

August 25th, 2010
7:48 pm

Shop!? Teachers can’t shop! They don’t make any money!
Trust me, if they were sitting in a coffee shop (and Lord knows that they were working because that was the purpose behind assigning them a laptop to use-here u go, no excuses-work 24/7 now and we are watching..) they ordered water to drink and pilfered all the Splenda they could before leaving

NWGA teacher

August 25th, 2010
7:50 pm

By the time these teachers returned to their schools through afternoon traffic, it would have been time to go home.

SWF Seeking Bliss Through Information Not Ignorance

August 25th, 2010
7:59 pm

Good for kids?
Fulton also did away with early release days. I think the rationale was that if they are transported to the building and the teachers are there teaching, get every last minute out of the dime already spent.

Actually it’s just the opposite of that-it costs too much to transport them for the half days so it’s not about the kids, never about the teachers, but always about the money. It costs to much to transport them to school for only half a day, so ER days are out. (consequently, planning days, don’t involve transporation costs so…)

Get Real

August 25th, 2010
8:04 pm

Middle School teachers were sent to the training as well. Administrators at my school informed the science teachers (by walking up to them and having them sign a sign-in sheet) in person between 12pm and 12:30pm (students were released at 12:45). Most teachers arrived to Carver @ 1:30 and were told the meeting was cancelled.

Get Real

August 25th, 2010
8:04 pm

Middle School teachers were sent to the training as well. Administrators at my school informed the science teachers (by walking up to them and having them sign a sign-in sheet) in person between 12pm and 12:30pm (students were released at 12:45). Most teachers arrived to Carver @ 1:30 and were told the meeting was cancelled.

Get Real

August 25th, 2010
8:04 pm

Middle School teachers were sent to the training as well. Administrators at my school informed the science teachers (by walking up to them and having them sign a sign-in sheet) in person between 12pm and 12:30pm (students were released at 12:45). Most teachers arrived to Carver @ 1:30 and were told the meeting was cancelled.

catlady

August 25th, 2010
8:29 pm

I guess they are still having inservice (even this early) because some friend of the CO needs some “consultant” money. I am betting we will see more of this after the RTTT money arrives and it can be tapped for FOCO (Friends of Central Office).

I did the training today

August 25th, 2010
8:40 pm

I taught until 12:15 then trained 1-4pm and had to drive to another site. I did not like the little time I had to drive from one end of town to another but the training I felt was productive. I am just glad I am home relaxing before tomorrow comes.

SWF Seeking Bliss Through Information Not Ignorance

August 25th, 2010
8:41 pm

I have never attended a professional deveopment day workshop that wasn’t so excruciatingly boring I didn’t want to jab a pencil in my eyeball just to see if it would distract me & help pass the time.

catlady

August 25th, 2010
8:50 pm

SWF, you gave me my laugh of the day! For me, it is not MYSELF I want to stab!

Mike

August 25th, 2010
8:59 pm

@Maureen

let’s hope so! My cynical nature just shows through at times. Personally I think APS should be buying the lattes ;-)

Been there done that....

August 25th, 2010
9:03 pm

My county..in another state…has early days..but they are called 2 hour days and parents must provide transportation and pick up. Weird. We also have NO pre or post planning at all. This has been hard to adjust to. I set up my room and did all of the usual stuff. Most showed up the first day of school abd were done and cleaned up the last day. What I found out….nothing is done after the May testing…NOTHING and most kids do not even come to school and no one takes roll..too weird.

MZ

August 25th, 2010
9:05 pm

FYI-Elementary teachers duty times in APS end at 3:00 PM. Any potential training would have ended AFTER their official work hours.

Strong response needed

August 25th, 2010
9:13 pm

I’m glad Su Yeager shared some insight into the corporate culture of APS. More interested in playing gotcha and retaliation games anytime anyone embarrasses the administrators, rather than using some plain common sense and realizing that asking teachers to drive back across town after administrative incompetence sent them across town is a waste of time, not to mention a morale killer.

I would hope AAE would step up to the plate and demand more respect for the APS teachers than Su Yeager showed for them today.

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2010
9:27 pm

@Catlady, Not sure why it is not online. I can’t access our print archive from home but will post when I get to work tomorrow.
Maureen

d

August 25th, 2010
9:44 pm

A bit off topic, but since APS is doing early releases for teacher training, and I know Gwinnett does it for elementary and middle school parent conferences, why the heck can’t DeKalb do it for their parent conferences, let us go home on time and give us the Jan 4 furlough day back so that we can have a day to prep for second semester?

Too much on Maureen's plate

August 25th, 2010
9:47 pm

I’m sure there is too much on Maureen’s plate for this, but it be nice for someone at the AJC to ask Andy Young, after his comments, if he believes that Cynthia Tucker lacks common sense for calling for Hall to resign.

If you want to have some hope, check out State Rep. Ralph Long and his wife Erica’s response to Andy Young on Political Insider. Truly inspirational.

SWF Seeking Bliss Through Information Not Ignorance

August 25th, 2010
10:44 pm

Dearest catlady,
Meow! I hear ya! ;-)

Harold

August 25th, 2010
10:51 pm

I see from the State Salary and Travel audit that with salary and benefits Su Yaeger makes over $190,000 a year. It looks like she would have something better to do than go after these teachers. Their combined salaries probably don’t come close to hers. Wow! That’s some salary. Do all administrators in APS make those kind of bucks?

SWF Seeking Bliss Through Information Not Ignorance

August 25th, 2010
10:58 pm

Hello & Welcome “Been There Done That” :-)
Hey, that is weird? I could never go with out pre-planning (and I normally tack on a week of my own pre-planning to the school’s pre-planning just to make sure, as if that is ever achievable or possible in teaching “sure”! LOL) that would be a difficult adjustment for me too. I need an air-strip to gague and get ready for take off…and I need a month in a deep compression chamber at the end of the year!!

Atlanta mom

August 25th, 2010
11:06 pm

****sigh**********
What no one is talking about is the lack of education that goes on, on early release days.
At our APS high school, classes will start at 8:15, but all students must have lunch prior to departure at 12:45. Therefore, lunch starts at 11. All classes are shorten, and no teacher teaches on those days. It is a wasted day, from start, to finish

Not True

August 25th, 2010
11:56 pm

I bet Su can not prove what she is saying. The principals did not receive anything of the sort. We were surprised to see the teachers return back to our building frustrated and indicating that the training did not apply to them and the memo specifically said all levels. Yes, APS will getcha! They are so vindictive and uncaring to their employees and will only protect those that are related to or friends with someone in their circle. Otherwise, tag you are it!!!!

CCSD teacher

August 26th, 2010
12:43 am

Dear Atlanta Mom, No we can’t talk about that-Eric Simpson of the CCSD got fired for empathsizing with his student’s parents over that.

Dr. John Trotter

August 26th, 2010
1:08 am

Maureen: I see that you guys have been having fun. I have not been on the blog much since the weekend. But, I wanted to simply say this to you: “Wecome to APS.”

preach not practice

August 26th, 2010
7:42 am

Ms. Downey, ask Su Yeager if they differentiate their professional development training to accommodate different learning styles. I guess they do accommodate the learner who learns through movement by having them drive around town on wild goose chases.

grading papers

August 26th, 2010
7:49 am

I just wonder if those teachers took the papers to grade to these training site so that they could be grading paper while the training session is going on…