The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Everett schools

Loss of great teacher wrong

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I attended the last Everett School Board meeting which had a record number of citizens in attendance. Not one person spoke about the unpopular new start times the board is considering. There were at least 40 people there, including many children, expressing concerns for the Everett School District's decision to involuntarily unassign Matthew Stevenson, a second grade teacher at Mill Creek Elementary.
The single biggest factor in student achievement is the quality of the teacher. Research shows that male primary teachers are very beneficial to children, as are reasonable class sizes. The decision to reduce the teaching staff is under scrutiny. MCE's enrollment is projected to increase slightly, the district is expecting an increase in funding from the state, yet they are reducing teaching staff. Next year class sizes at MCE are going to increase. The concern heightens because of the teacher who was selected for unassignment.
I was touched by the honest young children who were courageous enough to address the school board. These children were living the districts vision, "to lead and shape the future." Why would the district stand behind this decision? Parents and students spoke, sharing Mr. Stevenson's positive impact. He was described as "the heart and soul" of the community, a teacher so motivating that, "students do not want to miss class." We need to support our children and our excellent educators. I am hopeful that the district will reverse this decision which is unnecessary, devastating, and was made without any objective criteria.
Velma Peck

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