Same Old Song and Dance For ISD#701; Not So Fast…..

I’ll preface this by giving a shout out to………

The thankfully now former H.H.S. teacher slinking around the internet like the spineless coward he is; while also pretending to be a current teacher…… You should’ve kept your mouth shut!

How do you like me now?? Be careful what you ask for!!

Ok, carry on…..

This is in reference to the Hibbing High School teacher recently put on leave……..

If teachers are held to the utmost standards… which has been proven, (at the Hibbing High School) and recent past practice is still very fresh in all community members minds.

Teachers and school administrators certainly should be held to a higher standard. This standard has not been the case in years past.

However, I do not believe this is one of those times.

The district and the union did what was right, in those situations through following their set procedures.

The school district along with the union, since that unfortunate time have followed their own set procedures.

At times, these procedures have seemed tedious.

Thankfully, past mistakes have turned into one that now follows a standard of fairness and quality, no matter how onerous the process appeared, it followed a set protocol.

If you think I’m mistaken, please look at any social media platform since this recent “leave of absence” story broke, people are assuming the worst of a very respected teacher.

Why has this happened?

Why hasn’t the set process been followed?

My thought… chalk it up to “the sins of the past.”

I know the teacher who is being accused. I also know him to be a good and decent man.

I know he is exceptional at his job.

Over the past four to five years, the reputation of the school district is it does not “support the bad apples” However, when one of the “good ones” is wrongly accused,  both the union and school district will stand steadfast in support. This must be the case.

 So the question is, where does that leave the students?

Each student gets the web address to the school handbook, on day one of the new school year; along with a sheet that needs to be turned in soon after…. with the parent/s and students both signing.

That handbook clearly states what is excepted and what isn’t.

Claiming ignorance of not going over this should not be an excuse; it took me all of 30 seconds to find this!!

The school district also has policies in place to deal with certain situations that may arise. This being a guideline for what the expectation is of the student.

There’s acceptable behavior and there’s unacceptable behavior.

See #ISD701 policy #527 section J.

Which states……. 

“Students are not allowed to take photos, videos, or audio recordings of staff without their permission.”

If a student records a video of a teacher in his own classroom without consent, where’s the student’s accountability?

In the recent situation were the proper procedures followed?

If so, why and why not?

Furthermore, the student handbook clearly states, “phones must be put away and turned off in the classroom.”  Were these simple rules followed, by the students and the teachers? Again, if not…. why?

If there’s a certain “chain of command” regarding how each and every different circumstance is to be handled, were they followed?  I don’t know, as I’m sure you do not either.

Before everyone jumps to conclusions, let the district follow their guidelines for a change?

As we’ve all witnessed multiple times over the past eight years, seeing one side of the story is often a recipe for coming to the wrong conclusion!! 

Teachers have been faced with having to do more of the parents’ role in addition to the already difficult job of educating the students.

Why are parents today so quick to blame the teacher for the poor behavior of disrespectful children??

I think it is time for parents to look at themselves and the type of parenting being done.

It is imperative that children be held accountable for their actions and mistakes, rather than enabling their bad behavior.

Anonymous ISD#701 Teacher…..

“I’m so saddened & disappointed as it could be any one of us in any place of employment – and where is our voice.

A reputation is now ruined, regardless of being found innocent or guilty; as this student and parents would like.

We (teachers) don’t video kids harassing, hitting, swearing, walking away from us, spitting on us, swearing at us, etc…. as that’s not allowed; and unfortunately, they tell us it’s part of the job.

Where and when do our (teachers) rights begin?

Do We have any?

This should be resolved- diplomatically and according to protocol and school rules.

Dan is a great man. I will stand by him.”

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ISD #701…. Name Recognition Voting!!??

Well, I made it through something that’s completely out of my “comfort zone.”

The first school board candidate forum… which was on 10/9.

Did I answer all the questions to the best of my ability?

I’d have to say no, but I feel I didn’t embarrass myself as much as I thought I would, not to bad for my first time in that kind of format.

I also feel my passion for doing what’s right for children/teachers and the district did come through.

Then my scheduled HPAT interview… 10/16…. talk about out of my comfort zone….wow!!

I wasn’t able to say as much as I’d like during my interview. Let me rephrase that….. What I did talk about was important and pertinent to the school board…. thank you Patty Miller.

Although I touched a little on the title of this post…. it was not enough for me.

So here we are!

Back to the candidate forum, and the meat of this post.

One thing that surprised me was the absence of our current school board chair. Something that I’ve since learned he does on a regular basis.

Why on earth is this man still on the school board??

If an elected official deems himself “to good” (because that’s what it looks like), to come before the public (that elects board members), to answer basic questions….. why does he still get elected??

If you were hiring someone for a J.O.B. and they didn’t show up for the interview; would you hire them anyway??

Well, this community has “hired” the current school board chair year after election year…. then we as a community wonder why our school board has been such an underachieving unit for how many years now??? Our school aged children, both HUE and AFSCME unions, the community as a whole should be demanding more!

COMMON SENSE!!

Just because someone’s name is always on the ballot… DOES NOT mean you check the box next to his name!!

NAME RECOGNITION voting for school board members needs to stop!

Longevity does not equal smart decisions that help our communities school age children, teachers and supporting players, and district…. it builds complacency, a preconceived notion of power and or the illusion of “being untouchable,” all while losing touch with what’s important and doing things that only benefit ones self!!

This mans time has come; and as November 6th nears, you the community need to ask yourselves why??

Why is he still representing the community/children/district on the school board?

Why does he not humble himself before the community, and put himself “out there” with the rest of us?

In my opinion this is the MAIN problem with school board leadership…. when the chair has a sense of entitlement; when the chair thinks he is “to good” to answer even one question…. that’s a problem!!

Am I alone is this line of thinking??

It seems to me a little common sense would go a long, long way… in seeking true and needed change at the school board level… saying nothing about other levels above and beyond the school board.

Another issue I wasn’t able to bring up in my Hpat interview…. why isn’t anyone talking about one huge group that keeps getting ignored…. the AFSCME union. They DO NOT have a new contract either.

The AFSCME union are, the custodians, secretaries, paraprofessionals, grounds crew, technology support, LPN’s, plumbers, electricians, etc.

I get the HUE gets most of the headlines, as one would expect….. but the school district can not run without the AFSCME union members. They are the “people behind the scenes.” They are the HUE’s education partners, and the district acts like their voice does not exist.

One group does not work without the other…. AGAIN…..

COMMON SENSE!!

Yes, I’m Running for a Seat on the Hibbing School Districts School Board.

I’ve been noticeably quiet over the last many months, by design….

Why did I decide to throw my hat in the political fray???

To begin, I’m an upset parent who has seen misstep after misstep by the current and former school board members, with no rectifying solution in site!!

The former superintendent allegedly lied and cheated his way to a raise.  This left the ISD#701 teachers union with NO contract in site. HE PROMISED the teachers “their time would come.” Well, he’s now the former superintendent (good thing), and yet the teachers are still WITHOUT A NEW CONTRACT.

When times were tight, the teachers did what any union and their members do…. tighten things up, and wait until things turn around. With limited financial security of the district, the union members lessened their demands.

The union has compromised, but the school board will not. It’s beyond pathetic the school board doesn’t recognize that the last 400 days without a teachers contract, states that The board by no means values the teachers, and students!

Supposedly, the district is NOT in dire financial straits.  In contrast, there is an 8-12 million dollar surplus. If this is the case, then why isn’t YOUR elected board doing more to deliver our valuable teachers a reasonable contract??

I’m not pretending I know what’s what, but for PetesSake…..… Why is OUR school board refusing to negotiate in good faith with OUR valued teachers?

Furthermore, another issue of utmost importance is mental health assistance for students.

MInnesota has the 4TH worst student to counselor ratio in the United States. This is a travesty. Nationally the average is 481 students to 1 counselor, in Mn. It Is 723 students to 1 counselor.

Minnesota HAS THE 4TH WORST STUDENT/COUNSELOR RATIO in the country!! How embarrassing is that??Some Mn. school districts are dealing with 1,035/1!!!??

I’ve since learned ISD#701 has hired one or two more counselors… but I’m getting vague information. Either way the ratio is still NOT what it should be!!

Some more facts (from the article linked above)…. the American School Counselor Association advocates for 250/1. Far removed from the national average.

In 2016 the Minnesota Legislator worked to address the shortfall.  They approved a 12 million dollar grant program for matching funds, this grant lasts 6 years. Was ISD#701 one of 77 Minnesota districts that applied? If not, do they have any intention of applying in the 6 year timeframe?

Kids Mental Health Issues:

1 in 5 have mental health problems.

43% increase in ADHD.

37% increase in teen depression.

100% increase in suicide rate in kids 10-14 years old.

With the iPads being such a HUGE part of the learning curriculum of this district, the mental health curriculum also needs to be improved……. If a child is struggling with mental illness, how possibly can an iPad help?????

The district has given children “Pandora’s Box” and just left them alone with it!!

That’s wrong on so many levels!!

The district has no foresight in regards to electronic learning.

Medical studies are already indicating the long term detriment of repetitive electronic exposure.

The board demonstrates little to NO knowledge as to how their decisions are damaging our children.

A few examples…. Billy and Johnny talk amongst themselves about drugs during the school day…. they both can look up whatever they want about said drugs once their at home, or anywhere they can connect to WiFi. The same can be said about Suzy and Sally after talking about sex during the school day with their peers. Am I the only one who sees a problem with the districts refusal of implementing more mental health protocols in the 7th – 9th grades and beyond??

In my job as a school bus driver for district ISD#701 via Shubat Transportation, I am witness to the need for expanded mental health care.

Teachers see it first hand. What is the district doing to help the teachers assist their students in getting the help they need??

In reference to this…. 3/22/17 school board meeting.

The three community members who spoke are 100% correct!! Something needs to be done before it’s too late…….. I believe Mr. Finco needs to DO HIS job for a change.

My intent is to bring to the school board the voice of reason and common sense.

I DO NOT have a personal agenda.

I WILL put ALL youth at the fore front of my actions.

In fact, the actions of the current school board members in NO way shape or form represent the needs of the students or teachers!

I’m a firm believer one CAN NOT move forward  without looking to the mistakes of the past.

The goal of the future school board should be to learn from past mistakes, while improving the outlook for the school district.

OUR COMMUNITY’S CHILDREN DESERVE BETTER!!

Another issue I’d like to see done, is job performance evaluations of all ISD#701 administrators, this evaluation should be done by teachers and other staff, these evaluations must be taken into account for future salary increments and continued employment.

Also, the technology department should be given the same evaluations.

With the increase of students with special needs, the class size must be decreased. It is ridiculous that class sizes are close to 30 with at least 2/3 of these students needing more assistance than one teacher can provide…… And if money is short when it’s time to upgrade iPads NO MONIES shall be taken from any school fund that furthers the arts!!

No band fund, no art fund, no drama fund, no knowledge bowl fund… NOTHING!!

If money is short for new iPad purchasing it comes from sports team budgets PERIOD!!

No more taking money from the arts!!

Continuing….. Girls sports need to have the same gym time as boys sports!! In recent years, girls sports have been second to boys.

Also, older school sports kids will practice at later times, while the younger school children in sports will have early practice times.

This is common sense, yet it doesn’t seem to exist in the current scheduling.

I want to change the current trend of the school board.

Personal agendas and close-minded attitudes need to be a thing of the past. The priority MUST BE THE STUDENTS, THE TEACHERS AND THE DISTRICT.

Please DO NOT vote for me….. if you DO NOT want to hear the truth, have people called out for not doing their jobs to the best of their ability, for the salary they receive; or if straight common sense talk makes you uncomfortable

My goal is to have ISD#701 be the POWERHOUSE OF EDUCATION that it once was!!

This sight has been lost for years with the current school board.

The time has come for needed change, OUR children deserve it!!

Thank You!!

-Joe Sacco