New Hartford School Board Faces Parents, Teachers and Hackers
It was another Tuesday night and another heated school board meeting at New Hartford Central School District. The Board of Education has been meeting weekly to deal with their hybrid learning model that went into effect back in September.
Recently, the district decided to form a new committee to help modify their current plan which teachers say does not leave enough time for planning both online and in-person. A decision on that discussion was expected in October, but has been pushed back 2 weeks.
At last night's board meeting, several parents spoke on the school's Zoom feed criticizing the option of going with the Hybrid 2:2 model, which would have students (split into 2 cohorts) in-person four days a week and off on Fridays. The off-day would give teachers a day to plan the next week. One parent accused teachers of spending too much time on social media and another said they were trying to make it easier for themselves.
One teacher who addressed the board, Carrie Callan, countered that teachers are working harder than ever and stressed the amount of work on nights and weekends that is now required to teach under the current hybrid method.
Parents also questioned board members about an incident that occurred during Zoom instruction at Perry Junior High School in which a parent says her daughter's Zoom account was hacked into and pornography was displayed inside the virtual classroom. Superintendent Robert Nole said that after the school's investigation the matter will be turned over to New Hartford Police.
Overall, most parents who spoke stated that they supported the efforts by teachers and blamed the districts administration for not being prepared and for confusing parents and teachers by continuously "flip flopping" on details regarding the re-opening. Board members responded by accepting responsibility and even stated that the district had "failed" their teachers and students with this hybrid model.
"It's not our teachers' fault that they're in the position they're in," said board member Beth Coombs. She said that it's not the fault of the teachers that the administration and the board has not provided them with enough planning time. "We failed our teachers. We failed our students and we're trying to fix it," she added.