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November 26, 2012

Infinite Campus & The Madison School District

Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity enewsletter (PDF), via a kind Linda Doeseckle email:

As the District contemplates consequences for those teachers who are not using Infinite Campus, MTI has heard from several members about the difficulty in meeting this District expectation. District Assistant Superintendent Joe Gothard sent a letter to all middle and high school teaching staff in late August, mandating that they use the grade book within IC and enter grades at least once weekly. While this poses challenges across the board, it has been especially difficult for specials teachers as they see literally hundreds of students each week.

MTI Executive Director John Matthews and Assistant Director Sara Bringman have spoken with Gothard about how to alleviate this burden for specials teachers. Gothard reports that he has spoken with principals and shared this message: "If specials teachers have large classes, and/or an A/B day (schedule), they would not be held to the standard of weekly input. At a minimum they should be using it for progress and grade reports." Gothard's accommodation should help allay concerns among specials teachers for not following the District's earlier mandate.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at November 26, 2012 9:19 PM
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My initial impression of the infinite Campus requirement and message by Asst Super Gothard, and subsequent intervention by MTI, as the article seems to indicate, is a bit bothersome to me.

The way I read this brief report, Gothard imposed the rule, but didn't take into account the unreasonable burden it would place on special ed teachers, so after intervention by MTI, Gothard modified the rule for those teachers. Did I read this right?

Here is the bit that is bothersome to me. Shouldn't management be required to set rules that are correct and appropriately take into account, in this case, the differing circumstances of special ed teachers than regular teachers? I'm assuming, of course, that the rule as modified is now "more correct" than the initial rule.

MTI should not be required to do management's job, and teachers should not have to go to their union to ensure management makes the correct decisions. Seems to me, that management should actually know their business and know what their staff needs are so that the decisions management makes are the correct ones. This story indicates to me that, at least in this case, there is no mechanism in place within MMSD itself that allows or requires the appropriate level of communication between management and staff so that MMSD both supports the staff that do the work and supports MMSD responsibility to the students and community.

Posted by: Larry Winkler at November 27, 2012 10:48 AM
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