Keep Mary Tracey at Veteran's Park
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We are a group of concerned parents advocating that Mary Tracey, our beloved and most experienced teacher at Veteran’s Park Elementary remain at our school. We recently found out that the district plans to transfer Mary out of VP. We implore Dr. Hapken and the district to reconsider this decision. Mary has committed 27 years to Ridgefield Public Schools and 25 ½ to the students at Veteran’s Park. To force her into an involuntary transfer after her steadfast commitment to this district and the VP community is reprehensible. Additionally, it appears to be a breach of the district’s contract with the NEA which states: Article X – Section 10.02: “Prior to effectuating the involuntary transfer of a Teacher, the Superintendent shall offer to consult with the Teacher to elicit his or her views regarding the transfer”… This did not occur! Mary has and continues to be a leader of our school community; her care and compassion is unparalleled. Mary goes above and beyond to ensure every student, special education or not, feels important. She also serves as a role model to many of the teachers.
Veteran’s park has endured significant transitions over the past few years both in special education and administrative leadership. Special education students are those most vulnerable to change and in need of consistency. Mary champions the needs of those students and chronic turnover impacts the amount of uniform specialized instruction and intervention these kids receive. There have been many challenges in the district with regards to special education over the past few years and thankfully steps are being taken to improve special education. This decision however is a step in the wrong direction. In VP alone we have had two different school psychologists in four years, two different speech pathologists (soon to be three), an elementary school supervisor who had to assume the role of teacher for a period, and we are getting a new principal! With all of this change why would the district choose to move Mary, one of the few constants? Mary has consistently overseen the development and implementation of the Individualized Education Plans (IEP) of many students. Additionally, Mary is a consummate professional, for example she has pursued additional training in Orton-Gillingham, the most well-researched intervention for students with dyslexia. This skill set combined with her vast knowledge of VP and her remarkable working relationship with staff and families would be an unnecessary and inexcusable loss.
Mary is truly the essence of VP and her commitment to her students is irreplaceable. Beyond that she is a compassionate and gifted educator who deserves the utmost respect for her time and service to the students of this district. Again, we implore you Dr. Hapken to leave Mary Tracey at VP for the benefit of all!
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