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D51 Superintendent Wanted Reorganization from Day One, Teacher's Union Supports

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - More than 70 employees in School District 51 will have to reapply for their jobs and more than 20 of those positions have been eliminated as part of a major reorganization effort aiming to speed up implementation of the District 51 learning model.

"I would say all of these positions, I think everybody was doing a great job," Dr. Ken Haptonstall, superintendent of District 51, said, "they're working really hard, but some of those positions are not geared to do the things we need to do to move this model forward."

While not down to this specific action, speeding up the process, was what the School Board was looking for.

"I even said to him over the summer," Doug Levinson, the board member representing Fruita, said, "I said, our district can't look the same in 6 months."

Old positions will be replaced with new ones geared for implementation of the learning model, rather than designing it.

"A lot of the conversations and comments I had as a I was interviewing talked about how the District 51 learning model was going to take 9-10 years and there was real concern among our community members, our district staff about taking that long and the impact on kids." Haptonstall said.

Haptonstall believes because of this action, it should take five years or less. One of the major changes means, instructional coaches who teach the teachers their roles in the new model will be taken out of the administration building and moved to the schools themselves.

"We don't need managers who direct from a remote location anymore," Heather O' Brein, president of the Mesa Valley Teacher's Association, said. "We need leaders in building coaching and mentoring principals and teachers and moving the work forward so I think it was time and I think it's a positive move."

O'Brein says most of the teachers she represents support the reorganization.

Most new positions will be filled by April and Haptonstall says, the goal is to bring 8 of the 25 new positional coaches to the middle schools next school year.

Former employees will not be given priority as Haptonstall says, the new learning model has brought in interest from around the country.

As part of the district's deal with the teacher's union, O' Brein says,  those staff members will be given preference for interviews when teaching positions become open after this school year.

 


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