However, none of these tools are most essential to student learning. What is most essential is our teachers teaching well, for they bring all these tools together in service to students. But Jeffco teachers are leaving. In droves.
I have two young children in Jeffco schools, so when I hear that we are facing a higher than 50% increase in teacher turnover in the last year, I grieve. When I learn of another beloved teacher exiting our building for a nearby district’s classrooms, I worry. Losing effective, experienced educators is a deep wound, and especially painful when it is caused by an unnecessary culture of disrespect, fear, and conflict. Replacing and training new teachers is a costly, slow endeavor–while my children’s time in the classroom ticks on.
To the teachers who are leaving Jeffco to find respectful leadership, quality collaboration, and sustainable livings elsewhere, you are already missed. When Jeffco is once again the destination district for teachers looking for these things, then we will know we are back on the right track for all students.
However, I want to spend my words today communicating with the teachers and staff who are staying.
You willingly sacrificed by living with pay cuts and pay freezes during the Recession. You are committed to high quality and life-enabling education for all students. You work to challenge and nurture learners in your classrooms, serving children as whole, unique individuals, and tailoring your work to their needs. You spend your own time and money to build vibrant classroom activities and communities.
And now, during a time of controversy and extreme partisan agendas, you maintain your resolution and commitment to providing Jefferson County students with the world class education they deserve.
Each of you is an antibody that speeds our district’s healing. As a parent, community member, voter, and now school board candidate, I will speed that healing too.