5 simple ways to help your child's teacher

Published: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 9:33 AM
Updated: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 @ 9:33 AM

VolunteerSpot saves time and makes it easy to coordinate all the people and things that help you make a difference in our communities and schools.  Free and easy signup sheets and volunteer scheduling boost participation and put an end to ‘reply-all’ email chains, spread sheet juggling and paper sign-up sheets!   Take a tour today!

Back to School time is exciting for not just kids, but their parents and teachers too!  Amidst the rush and thrill of going school shopping, meeting the teacher and heading off to that first day, consider how you may be able to help your child’s teacher at the start of the year with these 5 fun ideas:

1.  Raise Your Hand -- Whether it’s once a week as a class reader, or once a semester organizing the holiday class party – raise your hand to volunteer and help out in the classroom!  Take your time restraints and own interests into mind when signing up to volunteer, but make the effort and show your child you are engaged with their learning experience.

2.  Fulfill the Greatest Needs – Before you start a collection for pencils and paper, inventory the classroom and speak with your class teacher about what is most needed when it comes to school supplies for the entire classroom.  Perhaps book donations would better benefit the class, or unique items like a recycling bin.  

3.  Coordinate Parent Volunteers – Save the teacher time (and stress) organizing parent volunteers with free online signup sheets by VolunteerSpot.  No more clipboards and reply-all emails; instead, create an online calendar of volunteer needs, invite parents to sign up from their computer or smart phone and rely on automatic Reminders to help everyone remember their commitment!

4.  Add a Little Flavor – Connect with your teacher and see if help is needed decorating bulletin boards, doors, desks and tables.  You can create cut-outs at home with your own children so they too feel like they have contributed to the class when they see their works of art displayed. *Bonus Tip:  Teachers label everything – offer to help write names on desk tags, folders and cubby labels.

5.  Latte anyone?  A sweet surprise every now and then can make all the difference – a latte in the morning or sweet treat for the teacher’s lunchtime is a quick way to show appreciation and bring a smile to their face.

Teacher told student to 'go back to Mexico,' protesters say

Published: Thursday, November 16, 2017 @ 1:24 AM

School bus (stock photo). AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN file photo
AMERICAN-STATESMAN file photo/Austin American-Statesman
School bus (stock photo). AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN file photo(AMERICAN-STATESMAN file photo/Austin American-Statesman)

4 p.m. CST Wednesday: Several students who walked out of Fulmore Middle School in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday told the Austin American-Statesman they were protesting because a teacher in a Social and Emotional Learning class told a student, who was speaking Spanish at the time, to “go back to Mexico.”

The teacher made the statement about two weeks ago, according to students who were in her classroom at the time, and some Fulmore students felt that administrators did not adequately address what this teacher said.

In a letter to the school’s community, Fulmore Principal Lisa Bush acknowledged that "an adult staff member made an insensitive statement to a student. Comments such as that are not tolerated at any level and appropriate actions were taken."

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Bush’s letter did not specify what was said nor what action was taken.

Multiple students said the school building was damaged during the protest. Students mentioned a window was broken, part of a fence was knocked down and a ceiling tile in a hallway was punched.

At least one school board member commented on the situation. 

“I am confident the superintendent and his team are gathering the facts and responding appropriately,” said school board member Geronimo Rodriguez, who represents South Austin. “I expect a quick response. This is a teachable moment for our diverse community regarding our culture of treating people with dignity and respect.”

ORIGINAL STORY: A group of students walked out of the Fulmore Middle School building as part of a protest Wednesday, according to school officials.

School officials said students are now back in their classrooms.


District investigating after school video mocking slavery goes viral

Published: Saturday, November 11, 2017 @ 1:46 PM


A senior at a high school in Washington state is upset about a video featuring her classmates that she says mocks slavery.

Michelle Boyd told KIRO7 she recorded the video this week at Lindbergh High School. For a school project, students performed a song  during which they changed the lyrics to a well-known nursery rhyme.

"Old MacDonald had a slave," the students sang. "E-I-E-I-O. And with that slave he worked all day. E-I-E-I-O."

Boyd explained why she found the video offensive. "I mean I don't think it was necessary for them to make a mockery out of it. Because people did die in slavery. They were raped and beaten and stuff like that. I don't think that is a joke at all," she said.

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Boyd confronted the students, but she claims they told her that the teacher gave them permission to perform the song.

Boyd showed the video to her mother, Charrita Tatum, who posted it on Facebook.

Tatum said she learned almost immediately she wasn't the only one who found the video offensive.

"Anytime there's a question, it should have just been nipped in the bud," Tatum said. "I do feel like the teacher's judgment call on this was absolutely incorrect."

"It's disturbing," Renton school district spokesman Randy Matheson told KIRO7. "It's inappropriate and it needs answers."

Matheson says with school out for Veterans Day, the teacher will have to answer for this Monday.

"A teacher should certainly know that checking with students to find out if it's OK is not the way you go about making sure something is appropriate in the classroom," Matheson said.

Michelle and her mother say they want the district to talk to the teacher and the students, three of whom are African-American, to make sure this doesn't happen again at Lindbergh or any other school.

A person named John Snarski on Facebook who claimed to write part of the song said the entire thing has been taken out of context and blown out of proportion. He also said he’s black and alleged Boyd was laughing during the performance.

Lawsuit: Teacher taped shut special needs student’s mouth

Published: Friday, November 03, 2017 @ 5:15 PM

Lawsuit Claims Teacher Taped Shut Special Needs Student’s Mouth

A teacher taped shut the mouth of a 26-year-old disabled student who wouldn’t be quiet, part of a series of abuses against the woman, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the woman’s parents.

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The student’s attorney, Jonathan Marko, told reporters Thursday that over the 10 years she attended classes in the Washtenaw Intermediate School District in Michigan, she suffered “medieval-type torture,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

“She had scalding hot coffee spilled on her, leaving permanent scarring. She was locked into a bathroom by herself,” Marko said. “She was slapped in the face so loud in the school yard that the bus driver across the school yard heard it and reported it to her parents. She was bound and gagged, and she had tape put over her mouth.”

The student has cerebral palsy and cognitive disorders, according to the Free Press. She uses a wheelchair and cannot speak.

According to MLive.com, the student attended High Point School. The school is operated by WISD and serves students with disabilities. Named in the suit were a special education teacher, the school’s principal and WISD, MLive.com reported.

Among the abuses the student suffered, the lawsuit claimed that her teacher, Nesa Johnson, covered her mouth in tape, photographed her and sent a text message of the image to the student’s mother.

“Help. She won’t be quiet!!!!” Johnson wrote in the text message, according to the lawsuit.

Filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the lawsuit claimed that the student was “physically unable to remove the tape, has trouble breathing and clearing her throat, and breathes out of her mouth,” MLive.com reported.

"To think this is going on in today’s day and age, at an educational institution ... is abhorrent," Marko said, according to the Free Press.

He said the parents brought concerns about possible abuse to the school multiple times over the years, but each time, “The school assured them that they were taking care of it, that (the parents) were overreacting, that whatever was happening, whatever they saw or that was going on, that it was” the student’s fault, the Free Press reported. Her parents kept her at the school because they didn’t realize the extent of the abuse, according to the newspaper.

WISD spokeswoman Emma Jackson told MLive.com that Johnson no longer works for the school district, but she declined to discuss the specifics of the case.

"The Washtenaw ISD wants to assure the parents of our district that we take the health, safety, and education of all of our students very seriously," Jackson told MLive.com in a statement. "As to the subject of this lawsuit, the family did not report this, or any other complaint to the district until nearly a year after it occurred. During that subsequent year, the student continued attending school, in the same classroom, with the same teacher. When we were first informed of the family's concern, we immediately conducted a complete investigation and took appropriate remedial action."

Jackson told the Free Press that Johnson’s supervisor, Anne Nakon, is no longer employed by WISD either. It was not immediately clear if their departures were related to the allegations set forth in the lawsuit.

Nakon had previously told the Free Press that she was told about the allegations several months ago and that she “shared that I was unaware of any misconduct toward this student or any student.

“I would never condone such a behavior and, had I been made aware of or suspected any mistreatment of a student, would have immediately investigated the situation to protect the student," she said.

School prohibits senior photo of student holding gun

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 2:45 PM

File image of shotgun.
Kevin M/Freeimages
File image of shotgun.(Kevin M/Freeimages)

A high school in Maine has denied a student's senior photo depicting him holding a shotgun.

Wade Gelinas told WCSH Friday that hunting is a tradition in his family, so he wanted his senior photo to capture the sport he loves.

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But officials at Bonny Eagle High School will not allow Gelinas to use the photo in the yearbook.

Principal Lori Napolitano told WCSH the school's code of conduct prohibits weapons of any kind and that such photo requests are always denied.

Gelinas plans on submitting a senior photo without a weapon.