All of Taft High’s teachers have agreed to teach six out of seven periods. Those who already were teaching six periods took a 14% pay cut last year during budget cuts. The cause for this seemingly necessary agreement was to cut costs and to help the district and, through this agreement and other various reasons, TUHS lost 30 teachers, most of whom who had taught here at Taft High for several or more years. Some chose to leave for better opportunities or took early retirements. This new schedule was implemented this year but with no resounding results on the teachers behalf. This agreed schedule made it even more difficult for teachers to communicate with students and parents, including a much slower process of updating grades and assignments. This issue is not new but has become a “high priority.”
To find the solution of this problem, Mary Alice Finn, April Connors, Tanya Mauldin, Lynn (Ted) Pendergrass, Angela Pendergrass, and Steve Parker formed a sub-committee in the fall. A couple meetings in, Tammy Sutherland came in to give a counselor’s perspective. Later on, Marsha Eubank and Russell Emberson joined the committee. All members of this sub-committee were present at the board meeting. Conners, Mauldin, Eubank and Sutherland presented the proposed schedule to the board members with Finn chiming in to clarify any specifics. One of the main points that were touched on the most was providing better support to students: “We think we’re heading in the right direction. As far as giving our students support, I feel like they’re falling through the cracks and I wanna be able to help them out.” Sutherland stated. This new schedule seems to make this goal possible. Conners notably said, “We need time to work with our kids one on one. Kids need to have time to make up tests. I’d say that was one of my bigger struggles and they need time to come in and remediate and you can’t get that in the library. It’s nice that we have those tutors in there, but it’s not the same as seeing their teacher.”
The schedule will be able to give students more opportunities to study and will place more responsibility on them to use their time efficiently and wisely. Regular School days will end at 2:40 p.m. and early outs will be on Thursdays and Tuesdays at 2:05 p.m. Early out days will provide students with a 50-minute window where they can study, get help from teachers, or catch up on some work and mornings will maintain the same time, starting at 7:45 every day.