Del Mar Union hopes to address teachers’ concerns through a strategic planning process

On a night when the Del Mar Union School District celebrated its Teachers and Employees of the Year, comments from the public showed the ongoing concern about the working environment for staff.

In recent months, teachers and parents have called for an independent investigation and discussion of the district’s climate, following the replacement of a popular principal and past teacher surveys made public, painting a ” less than flattering image of leadership” and one where teachers feel they are not being treated with respect. Community members questioned the district’s human resources practices and raised serious concerns about the treatment of its special education students.

“For the board, these concerns are not fleeting, please act on them,” Del Mar Heights professor Ian Phillip said in a public comment. “To my fellow educators, don’t be afraid to talk about the quality of your workplace and your students.”

At the April board meeting, Del Mar California Teachers Association President Kevin Cunha had requested that the issue be addressed in a future agenda and at the May 25 meeting, he said the members were disappointed that it was not put on the docket.

“As president, I did not try to create or increase division or dissension,” Cunha said in his monthly report. “I have done my best to demonstrate our teachers’ gratitude and pride for working in this district while communicating the hard truths that many teachers bring to my attention. I hope these truths will be recognized so that we can move forward and work together to achieve a positive outcome.

At the meeting, DMUSD Board Chair Erica Halpern said an investigation was not on the agenda that evening, but an agenda item. was set for their August meeting on how to incorporate a teacher survey into their upcoming strategic planning work.

“The survey is something that we think makes sense to do, Halpern said, noting that at the August meeting they plan to talk about how best to get quality feedback from everyone. constituencies and measure progress towards goals as they look to the next five years.

During public comments, Carmel Del Mar teacher David Skinner said he appreciates Halpern raising some of the issues from the latest DMCTA investigation. He said teachers had recently finished administering their annual well-being survey to students and he said some of the same questions should be considered for adults in the district, questions such as: “Ai- I get to participate in discussions?”, “Are you happy to be in school?” and “Are you treated fairly?

“We recognize that in order to improve, you need to know where you are,” Skinner said. “We look forward to this discussion in August and hope it’s a sign of improvements to come.”

The DMCTA was able to complete labor negotiations with the district on a new three-year contract agreement, reflecting a 5% salary increase, retroactive to July 2021.

Louisa R. Loomis