Letter to the editor: We need to elevate schools and classrooms in Summit County | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: We need to elevate schools and classrooms in Summit County

Shauna Zimmerman

It is clear. Looking at the articles posted under Summit Daily’s Education page, our community yearns for a better public education experience. Higher test scores, unified improvement plan alignment, procedural consistency and student efficacy are common threads of concern. It seems we all agree: we need to elevate schools and classrooms.

Let’s acknowledge that the most obvious way we can improve schools and classrooms is by providing students with teachers who stay. The goals we’re all reaching for cannot be met when our staff turnover rate stays around 20%. There are 21 open positions posted for Summit High School out of 121 constituents listed in our staff directory. Student opportunities, instructional planning, curriculum depth, and logistic organization are impossible to achieve and maintain when we don’t have consistent staffing.

Further, we pride ourselves on being a community: students’ older siblings had the same teachers, students see their teachers at community events, students watch staff enjoying their work and propelling long-term success and initiatives. That point of community pride is at risk when our educators leave for more affordable housing or better wages.

According to a Summit Daily article posted in January, the year 2022 saw an “average home transaction price of $1.33 million.” We can’t possibly expect starting teachers making $50,000 to afford to stay. Even a 26-year veteran teacher with one master’s degree only makes $70,000.

Our community and the school district can use this post-pandemic turning point to create an educational system that truly reaches all of our students. Given current board initiatives and fresh leadership, we are building momentum and are poised to be the best. We can not improve the student experience without dedicated staff who stay.

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