SPS revamps admin positions

Published 11:17 pm Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thirteen senior educators will have to apply for new positions replacing their old ones, or seek employment elsewhere, under a shakeup of instructional support roles in Suffolk’s school district.

A new staffing plan developed by Superintendent Deran Whitney will eliminate 13 instructional support roles, replacing them with new positions beginning July 1.

Axed positions include coordinators of elementary, middle and high school education, as well as staff development; and middle and high school lead teachers, according to a message sent to teachers.

Email newsletter signup

New positions will include Director of Elementary Leadership, Director of Secondary Leadership, Coordinator of Accountability, and Supervisor of Alternative Education.

Content area experts, including Supervisor of English, Supervisor of Social Studies, Supervisor of Math and Supervisor of Science, will work with elementary and secondary specialists in each content area.

The new arrangement will also include three math specialists “assigned based on areas of student need, not necessarily by grade level.”

Two final new positions are Professional Development Specialist for Teacher/Administrator Mentoring, and Professional Development Specialist for Instruction.

Affected employees can “apply for any new positions for which they qualify — or to other positions or employers as well,” district spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw stated in an email. “It’s an individual choice.”

The new positions will be open to outside applicants also, Bradshaw added.

While costing no extra money in the upcoming instructional year, the new plan will “significantly strengthen instructional support for classroom teachers and school administrators,” according to the message to teachers.

“The staffing plan will provide core content area experts, stronger teacher/principal mentoring programs and improved focus on alternative education, credit recovery, and on-time graduation.”

While the current system “basically” assigns duties by grade, Bradshaw stated, the new approach focuses more intensely on core subject areas and K-12 “vertical alignment,” rather than an elementary-middle-high division of duties.

“While instructional services staff of course is collaborating to ensure continuity between grade levels, the new structure is designed specifically for the K-12 focus,” she wrote.

Essentially, according to Bradshaw, each duty under the current 13 positions will be split into two specific focuses: professional development, for teacher and administration mentoring; and a second professional development specialist focused on instruction.

The entirely new alternative education role will administer the Turlington Woods alternative program, dropout prevention, credit recovery, high school graduation coaches and a new community service graduation requirement recently endorsed by the School Board.

While Bradshaw said the School Board knew of and endorsed the changes, she referred the News-Herald to a section in the district’s policy document setting out staff personnel management as part of Superintendent Deran Whitney’s official duties.