Thursday, May 2, 2013

Teacher Terminations, the Ypsilanti Community Schools, and Staff Appreciation

Hiring and Firing

Friday is going to be a hard day in Ypsilanti and Willow Run.

Teachers. . . all those teachers who were pink slipped earlier this spring. . . will get their final papers, which will tell them if they've been hired; not hired but could be hired later if student numbers permit; or not hired ever.

And you might think, "Well that's too bad, but it's prudent of the new district to not hire too many teachers back, because who knows how many students will join the new Ypsilanti Community Schools." Sure, I understand that. It is prudent. Although originally I had heard that 80% of the teachers would be re-hired, more recently I have heard that it will be a much smaller number.

Unfortunately, late breaking news that I have gotten says that the new YCS district did not follow its own process in hiring teachers.

From the Ypsilanti Community Schools Supporters facebook page, I learned that:

An email from Bob Galardi on March 22, 2013 to teachers said:
References - We will be reviewing over 250 applicants. Some applicants have submitted numerous references. Our plan is to contact references personally. We can't call everyone you have listed. With that in mind we will contact three (3) per candidate. We will use select three from the references on your application unless you wish to specify three you'd like us to contact. 
However, numerous teachers are now saying that not a single professional reference of theirs was contacted.

Teachers are also saying that they were not allowed to submit letters of recommendation during the interview process.

What does all this mean? If these claims are substantiated, I would guess that it means the new Ypsilanti Community Schools will find itself in a morass of litigation, and that is not a good way to get started.

Also--apparently tonight--the night before these notices are going out--there was a special meeting on ideas for how to help the teachers through this. Really? The night before, and YCS is just now convening a meeting on how to help the teachers?

In a great irony, Staff Appreciation Week is next week.


Many of you are at schools where the PTO or another group has a plan for staff appreciation. (At Ann Arbor Open, at least one plan involves providing a lot of pies to the staff.) You can participate.

Take this opportunity to write a note to a teacher telling them what you like about their work (or about them as people).
Take this opportunity to write a note to a custodian, front office staff person, principal, or other staff person.

And in Ypsilanti and Willow Run on Friday and next week especially, remember--a kind word will go a long way.


  1. We do love our ironies here in Ypsi.

    As bad as many of us worried this transition would be, I think we still underestimated it. What's happening here is sickening. Anything of value is targeted for destruction, and I think it is accelerating.

    Thanks for the post.

    - YpsiAnon

  2. Mr. Galardi sent out an email at 11:36 P.M. this evening. Although there is no way to know for sure, it appears he felt a need to address the issues raised on the YCS page:

    Dear YCS Teacher, Special Ed Teacher and TC Applicants,

    As I write this we are finalizing the details of the selection process and producing the letters you will be receiving later today. It has been an arduous task but, we will meet the deadline set by the planning team. The people we have been working with have done their very best to handle this process professionally and with concern for each one of you.

    During this week I have received several inquiries about reference checks. A decision was made early in the process that we would not use references for selection. We thought we would check references for candidates that we were going to select. This is typically when references are needed. After further review we determined that reference checks on current employees would not be a productive use of our limited time. Because of the nature of this process we are not selecting unknowns - we know the employees we are selecting. It is almost as if we are transferring employees from one department to another and in that case we would not contact a reference.

    I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for your participation in the selection process. You have handled this professionally. I wish you the best on the next phase of your professional lives.


    Bob Galardi

  3. I agree Ruth - Getting a hand-written note, for me as a teacher, is probably the nicest thing a student can do for me (besides succeeding and growing in class).

    Write a note - it will make school teachers feel like the work is really worth it.