Reader Reply

School Administrator, May 2019

I want to thank AASA for publishing the February 2019 issue of School Administrator, which highlighted the adverse effects of trauma and the impact trauma has on student learning. In particular, I found the article “Understanding Trauma’s Impact on Learning” by Susan F. Cole to be especially enlightening and refreshing. 

As the assistant superintendent in a rural Montana school district, we have been informing our parents, school district staff and community partners of the effects trauma has on the developing child and how this adversely affects student achievement. As a district and community, we are trying to communicate that attendance in school is paramount, and we are working with students and families who have TRAUMATIC HISTORIES.

Cole’s article will be used by our community partners in developing some strategic plans. We will look closely at the author’s explanation of relationships as a vital component when addressing students. I believe, as educators, we sometimes use the approach of building relationships as the means to BREAK DOWN BARRIERS, which we believe successively will increase communication, provide that safety net for students, improve attendance and ultimately impact student achievement. Yet we too often consider this to be the responsibility of the classroom teacher.

Cole’s writing should remind us it is as important to consider the impact of relationship building across all units within a district. We all play an important role in addressing the social and emotional learning of our students. We all must be engaged in building positive relationships in every interaction we have, with all students, every day.  

Craig Mueller
Assistant Superintendent,
Havre Public Schools,
Havre, Mont.

Hired to Retired
Onboarding with the long-range view makes perfect sense. In their article “Hired to Retired” (December 2018), Beth Dalton and Jeanne Spiller share some excellent ways to ensure that new teachers receive orientation and induction to settle into a district’s culture and high expectations as quickly as possible.

This process inevitably leads to more successful new teachers, a more robust team dynamic and teachers who want to be a part of a district for their entire career. These teachers and the orientation/induction program create an atmosphere that retains and attract high-quality professionals.

The purposes outlined by the authors were significant and informative. Without these clearly defined objectives, a program can lack focus and a way to evaluate success. Dalton and Spiller provide a full spectrum of purposes that make the program comprehensive and powerful — a template for those designing a new system.

Over the course of my career, I have seen beginning teachers left to their own survival techniques. I also have seen teachers supported as they are in Kildeer Countryside School District. The former struggle and sometimes fail. The latter often soar as professionals and have a greater impact on the students they serve. They also contribute to the overall culture and professional learning community. 
Scott B. Thompson
Community Consolidated School District 15,
Palatine, Ill.

Missing Millennials
Andrea Anthony’s article “’Missing’ Millennials and the Great Workforce Divide” (December 2018) is jam-packed with knowledge for anyone exploring a career in education. It is important for anyone pondering a career in the field of education to view it as a career, not just a job.

Anthony does a good job explaining the importance of being intentional in the hiring and training of teachers. 

Maryam M. Hill
Assistant Principal,
Riverdale High School, 
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

In Andrea Anthony’s article “‘Missing’ Millennials and the Great Workforce Divide,” I like how she used intensive data analysis to provide concrete, positive and inspiring steps for building a workforce using homegrown talent, incentives and innovative thinking.

Anthony used data to compare teacher absences, exit surveys and common leaves to create strategies for retaining the current talent in her school district. School leaders will gain many tips and knowledge from this article.

Kris Marshall
Human Resources Assistant,
Rutherford County Schools,
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Andrea Anthony contributed quite an interesting article (“’Missing’ Millennials and the Great Workforce Divide,” December 2018).

Yes, as she writes, we millennials want the here and now — instant gratification. I like the idea of appealing to new teachers with a signing bonus and creating mentorships with older teachers. 
Tia Dixon
Community Manager,
Millennium One,
Charlotte, N.C.

Staffing Dual Programs
Thank you to Sarah Hooker for everything she shared in her article “The Dual Enrollment Staffing Puzzle” (November 2018). The timing could not have been any better as we are facing the same challenges in our district.

Suzanne M. Zentner
Assistant Superintendent of Strategy and Business Development,
Gilbert Public Schools,
Gilbert, Ariz.
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