Posted: Apr 10, 2013 8:40 PM by Victoria Fregoso - MTN News
PARK CITY - It was a brisk 15 degrees Wednesday morning but that didn't stop Park City students and parents from supporting a cause they believe in. "We're losing six teachers which is more than half of our high school staff and the loss of these teachers really is.....we're concerned," said Mackenzie Bernhardt, National Honors Society President at Park City School.
According to Park City Schools Superintendent Patrick Audet, the following teachers resigned: 7th to 12th grade special education teacher Erin Bales, kindergarten to 6th grade special education teacher Jessica Bowman, 8th to 12th grade business and computers teacher Doug Anderson and 7th to 12th grade teacher Aaron Snyder. 8th to 12th grade english teacher Matt Rockeman and 5th to 8th grade math teacher Kyla Steppler didn't renew their contracts.
All six of those teachers had plans to return to Park City School next year. One who wishes to remain anonymous says before a school board meeting in March, administration gave them the option to resign or they would face involuntary termination. They were not given a reason when presented with the option.
Parents say it's unfortunate because these six teachers were the most influential faculty members in the building. "Some of these teachers that they've let go have had the ability to reach inside their brains and click on a switch," said Shanna Jacquot, parent of a student at Park City School. "You have kids for the first time in years saying 'I love science,' you know, that's an achievement and they're letting these teachers go."
Just a few minutes into the school day, Superintendent Patrick Audet invited students into a students-only forum. An hour later, students exited the building saying they spoke but weren't being listened to. "They wouldn't answer us. I mean they would, but it would be like 'ok, we understand you' and they would just argue with us, they wouldn't really answer us," said Park City Sophomore Austin Damm.
Following the forum, Superintendent Audet invited the students to return to class. When asked about the circumstances surrounding the resignations, Audet said it was a decision made by the teachers. "We do not put it as an option or anything else," he said.
Despite student efforts, administration says they will not change any decisions. "At the essence of where we're going and the goal of the board when I came upon here is to keep the best teachers here and that's where we'll go," Audet said.
In the student's eyes, it's the best teachers that will be gone at the end of the school year. "Mr. Snyder also started a bullying program against bullying, he's trying to make changes and now he's gone," Kane Thatcher, Park City Junior said.
Superintendent Audet said the administration did learn a valuable lesson from the student's response and will work harder to get student input in the future.