Robert E. Lee High School to "Vacate" Teachers

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By Heather VacLav

After failing to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) six out of the past seven years, the Montgomery Public Schools Board of Education voted Thursday to “vacate” Robert E. Lee High School for the fall of 2012.

Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Barbra W. Thompson came up with the idea to restructure the faculty at Lee High School. There are currently 118 certificated staff members at Lee. The restructuring process would not renew 37 non-tenured teachers and move 81 tenured teachers to other schools in the district. Under the No Child Left Behind Act and Alabama school accountability procedures, schools that are in school improvement for four or more years may be restructured without violating the tenure laws.
 
Teachers were told of the upcoming changes Wednesday after school, and according to students, many seemed unhappy and worried about whether or not they may have a job.
 
Superintendent Thompson says the new process allows certificated employees to reapply for their faculty position, but it is not guaranteed. Thompson says teachers will be examined beyond their credentials, she says the hiring team will be looking for a track record of boosting students’ performance and supporting teamwork.
 
The school district is also bringing in 15 new Teach for America teachers to Lee High School in the fall. TFA teachers are trained to meet higher standards and specialize in teaching strategies in line with Thompson’s vision for the 2012-2013 school year.
 
Thompson says other Alabama school systems have seen success with similar restructuring plans. If successful at Lee High School, there is potential for spreading the program to other schools in Montgomery County.
 
The new Robert E. Lee faculty will participate in an intensive staff development over the summer, which is why the school district says the new team is expected to be decided upon by June 2012.