Helena trustees approved sabbaticals for three teachers and mail ballots for the May school election Tuesday night.

The new professionalism committee recommended the approval of a second semester, full-pay sabbatical for Sarah Huber, teacher at Project for Alternative Learning; Robyn Duff, fine arts teacher at Helena High; and Jesse Franzen, Helena Middle School teacher.

Huber will spend the time as an intern at the Green University, based in Pony, to develop middle and high school science and English lessons which tie primitive outdoor skills with writing.

Duff will continue her graduate work at Vermont College of Fine Arts and work with the HHS Art Club to plan and set up a student art show. The goal is to generate funds to support a trip to New York City where students can continue their study at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art.

Franzen’s sabbatical goal is to continue to enhance his own writing abilities in order to better empower his students to become more effective writers. He plans to write a young adult novel about family strife in rural Montana. He will participate in two writing groups which meet monthly and volunteer in a school on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation.

The district will hold a mail ballot for trustee and levy election on May 8.

Trustees decided last month that the advantages of greater security, increased voter turnout, voting efficiency and reduced confusion for those living in East Helena residing in the Helena High School District favored mail ballots.

The board reminded the public about the national search currently under way for a new superintendent. The position closes next week.

Trustees will review applications and select finalists to interview at a meeting scheduled for March 6. The board will conduct interviews the following week and community focus groups will be scheduled to provide the public the opportunity to meet the finalists.

A new superintendent is expected to be named by spring break.

 

Reporter Alana Listoe: 447-4081, alana.listoe@helenair.com or Twitter.com/IR_AlanaListoe


(14) comments

2centsworth
2centsworth

SABBATICALS -- you gotta be flipping kidding me!! Please dont forget to send me a mail-in ballot as I know exactly how I will vote on the next mill levy. Ridiculous.

Tri-pleX
Tri-pleX

With all the deep budget cuts lately does anyone else find it irresponsible of the district to be playing three teachers full salary NOT to teach?

steeline
steeline

Paid "sabbatical"? What assures the School Board they will return and not go to another school system? Just wondering.

CarrollQueer
CarrollQueer

Not only do we, the taxpayers, pay full salary during these sabbaticals, we also pay the cost of the substitute teachers.

blueeyes
blueeyes

I guess I don't get it. These are not paid vacations to the tropics. These people are all working during their sabbaticals to enhance their teaching abilities, which in turn benefits our children, just how is this mismanagement of school funds. These people are not non-tenured teachers, of course they will come back. If you must use your sences, try common sence once in a while, it is amazing. You can suddenly see what your could not see before, hear what you once turned a deaf ear too, and learn what you have been missing. Have a wonderful day!

hiddenmuggle
hiddenmuggle

I know of at least four professors at my state university who are on sabbatical right now, why not be mad about that? Their salary is larger. Hiring assistant professors cost more than hiring substitutes. Why not get mad at the regents for allowing this if you are going to be mad at the school board for the same?

pronghorn
pronghorn

I took a year sabbatical...20,000 RV miles, 40 hrs. of DVD taping, multiple visits to university classes/museums/galleries/historical sites/theatres/literary events/10 states/3 Canadian provinces, plus an extensive writing workshop, interviews with some of America's foremost authors,a year of personal writing, the start of three books, plus the completion of a small library of books, art, audio/visual materials and historic memorabilia to be used in classroom instruction/educational workshops for the District. My "salary" and personal savings paid for the experience. The wear and tear of that year pales in comparison to twelve of the most exhilarating final years of a forty year teachng career. For that wonderful year, I became the eyes and ears for my future students and a soon-to-be support system for my colleagues. To this day, I offer workshops/lectures based upon that sabbatical. I've often believed that colleges and universities could improve this country's educational system if the institutions funded 3-6 months of field research/travel as part of a teaching degree. Hope this helps to explain the benefits of these sabbaticals.

pichia
pichia

[quote]blueeyes said: "I guess I don't get it. These are not paid vacations to the tropics. These people are all working during their sabbaticals to enhance their teaching abilities, which in turn benefits our children, just how is this mismanagement of school funds. These people are not non-tenured teachers, of course they will come back. If you must use your sences, try common sence once in a while, it is amazing. You can suddenly see what your could not see before, hear what you once turned a deaf ear too, and learn what you have been missing. Have a wonderful day!"[/quote]

Because they have three months in the summer to attend education conferences. That is plenty of time. And remember most of us don't get a yearly 3 months off to do whatever. Expecting teachers to attend their conferences during this time is not out of order. They can be payed appropriately for the time spent working over the summer.

And "sence" spelled "sense"

Tri-pleX
Tri-pleX

In higher education like colleges it is common for tenured teachers to take sabaticals to add to the core class as their experiences and research projects may entice and recruit more students. That adds to the attractiveness of the school as a whole.

Local middle and high school is an entireley different story. Students do not have the luxury of 'shopping' for schools. They will attend the school of their district regardless of the education, experiences, or demenior of the teachers. Opposed to full-tie professors, teachers also have their summer months to spend on bettering their education or careers without needing a sub. It is also common practice for these teachers to foot the bill for such activities themselves. According to the story, the District is getting hit three times for these "sabaticals" first the teachers salary is still being paid, second, a substitute's salary is being paid, third the District is also paying for the costs of these "research" projects.

Independent
Independent

Sorry to those of you trying to defend these paid vacations but my kid's education will not be helped at all, the teachers will get automatic raises for further education and as far as teaching extra with the things you learned, your still getting paid for all of it. This is double dipping on the same job, shameless.

steeline
steeline

blueeyes is your hair natural blonde?

gummer
gummer

[quote]steeline said: "Paid "sabbatical"? What assures the School Board they will return and not go to another school system? Just wondering."[/quote]

This is the first I've heard of sabbaticals at the secondary school level. Obviously it's quite common in post-secondary school, though. Two profs I had at UM ultimately did exactly what you suggested--went on sabbatical to some other institution, supposedly planning to come back, but they never did. Ended up taking advantage of the sabbaticals to find other opportunities elsewhere.

1955pirate
1955pirate

Gee pronghorn, sounds like a great RV adventure. I used to travel in my RV but can no longer afford the cost of fuel. Of course, I don't get a full time working salary if I travel around the country going to museums, theatres, historical sights (one of my favorite things to do) and other such fun things.

pronghorn
pronghorn

..."RV adventure"..."paid vacation"..."summers off"..."plenty of time"..."automatic raises"..."double dipping"...wow...how about...that school master gets "free chickens"..."some bread loaves"..."a wood pile"..." a stove and blankets"..." his own one-holer out back"..."dat der feller aint worked-day-in-his-life"

Like old uncle used to say," You get what you pay for."

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.