Oswego School Board Hears About Tenure, Common Core

OSWEGO, NY – In his final regular meeting as Interim Superintendent of Schools, Gary Mix talked about concern about some of the recent educational changes that have been implemented by the State Education Department and the importance of tenure.

Mix has served the district since July 1, following the retirement of Superintendent Bill Crist.

Board President Kathleen Allen thanked Mix for his dedication and contributions, saying his service is appreciated by all board members and the district.

The district’s new superintendent takes the reigns next month.

“I’d like to thank the board and everybody associated with the district for the pleasure of working with you in this capacity for the past five months,” Mix said at the end of the meeting. “I am very optimistic. You have great people in Oswego. And, I know great things are going to continue to happen in this district.”

At its meeting this week, the Oswego Board of Education the board unanimously granted tenure to Oswego Middle School Principal Mary Beth Fierro, Oswego High School Reading teacher Heather Sugar and OMS Home and Career Skills teachers Dorothy Crossman and Sarah Rector.

“Granting tenure acknowledges performance, awareness of greater potential, confidence in that he educator will continue to grow to be a very positive role model for our students,” Mix said.

In some districts, the resolution to grant tenure seems to be a “routine” motion, he noted.

“I assure everybody here, that’s not the reason. We are going to be in the process of modifying our tenure recommendation form. I’d like to compliment each of our professionals who are up for tenure; and reinforce the tremendous trust that this recommendation reflects,” he said. “It’s a trust that is shared by parents, your colleagues on the faculty, staff and administration, the board of education and most importantly – our students.”

Granting of tenure provides some additional job security, he admitted, but added it doesn’t signal that things get easier.

“It is a professional challenge to become more knowledgeable, more proficient, to accelerate professional and personal growth in order to positively impact more students and raise the level of expectations within our buildings and our district,” he said.

There is “a lot of justified concern” regarding the implementation of Common Core, “the timing, poor planning and lack of promised resources, Mix pointed out.

“Our teachers and administrators, I want to publicly acknowledge and thank you. Everybody knows you’ve demonstrated incredible commitment to the education and the well being of our students. I know you’ve worked long and challenging hours necessary to become very proficient with modules, to review age appropriate materials, reflect upon content of balanced lessons and to correct mistakes made by vendors. I also know that our educators have used their own money to supplement the lack of materials supplied by the vendors,” he said.

Never before has so much been demanded and expected or more importantly, needed by our educators than what’s happening today, he added.

“I want to offer my sincere recognition and appreciation. The bottom line of this is, it’s not the implementation of the Common Core that’s going to make a difference in our children’s lives. It’s their observations, their interaction and relationships with our teachers and principals that will make a difference.”

He also updated the board on what the district is doing to implement the Common Core.

The math resource committee, consisting of representatives from grades kindergarten to five, is in the process of creating letters for parents. They’ll contain information on upcoming modules and the learning that is going to be occurring.

“We’ve also completed problem sets for parents to use as examples,” he said. “They are also in the process of creating short video clips on the newer strategies.”

Grade-specific development continues to occur.

“We have prepared a brief but broad-based survey that will be sent out to all K-6 teachers to assess everybody’s reaction and comfort,” Mix said.

The district has also contacted BOCES to see if they can schedule a session with parents to explain more about math and ELA

“We recently had a county-wide meeting where several parents attended. We got positive feedback from that,” Mix said. “We are continuing to plan, to assess and to implement.”