This week is parent conference week for our elementary schools. It’s an opportunity for teachers to discuss student achievement, academic supports, and hold strategic and focused conversations about each child. Throughout this year, teachers had to dispel misinformation, stop rumors, and remind parents we are in fact conducting In-Person Instruction, unlike many Districts in the news that have not re-opened for live instruction. Our teachers were looking forward to having conversations with parents centered on what students are being taught and student progress NOT the politics of distance learning vs in-person instruction.

This opportunity was hijacked yesterday.

At 4:47 PM NMUSD sent out an email that shifted the course of our parent conferences away from the students, to politics. This communication from the Superintendent informed parents that the District is currently considering increasing in-person instruction at our Elementary Schools. Teachers were bombarded with questions and emails about what increased instruction would look like. There were questions about social distancing, lunch, recess, and other activities involving student groups and shared materials. Parents were also concerned about adjustments that they would have to make with their employers related to “drop off” and “pick up” times. Clearly, teachers were caught off guard and were unable to give meaningful responses to parents, as they had only received the same message moments before. Some teachers were informed of the Superintendent’s message during their evening conferences.

NMUSD, you have placed a great amount of stress on your employees. You have robbed them of the opportunity to have student-focused conversations. You have forced our principals to scramble to do damage control knowing a plan has not been developed as of yet. You have forgotten the sacrifices that all of our employees have made in order to teach during some of the scariest and deadliest surges. You did this to save face at the expense of your employees.

Your employees deserve better than this. We deserve an employer who actually creates plans before announcing them to the public. We deserve an employer who looks at all of the logistical and operational details to make our work systematically happen. We deserve an employer who provides us with details prior to making announcements to the public. We deserve an employer who values our rapport with parents and trusts us enough to communicate the PLAN!


Tamara Fairbanks
N-MFT President