Public Comments for: HB440 - School boards; teachers to ensure planning time and planning periods.
Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, abcnews.go.com). I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Thomas Locality: Richmond City

HB-440. PLEASE VOTE NO AND/OR AMEND ACCORDINGLY, HB-440. As an educator, I support this bill as teachers desperately need their planning time, and to be compensated accordingly. However, the bill 'permits' not 'requires' a compensation agreement for loss of planning time. The school divisions will not act on this effort with the existing language. I'm surprised at colleagues around the Commonwealth blindly citing support of the VEA for this bill without actually reading and understanding that how this bill is currently written will not result in the improvements/changes intended for them. Frankly, our students deserve better from their educators than for them to blindly support a bill someone else told them to support without taking the time to note and respond that, as written, this bill will result in no positive impact.

Last Name: VanDerhoff Locality: Springfield

I am a first grade teacher with Fairfax County Public Schools and a proud member of my union, Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, AFT 2401. I urge you to vote in support of HB 440. As a first grade teacher, I teach whole group lessons in 5 different subjects per day and meet with 5 differentiated small groups. The amount of planning time we have in the day is nowhere near the amount of time needed to prepare for quality instruction, not to mention the other necessary duties of the job. And I am one of the lucky ones who works in a district that provides more planning time than is currently required by law. I am typically working in my classroom past 9pm at least once per week. I'm writing to you at 1:20am because I was working on report cards until 1am and switched computers to write this testimony. Teachers cannot sustain this workload with no time to prepare to do the job. I appreciate Delegate VanValkenburg for sponsoring this bill and hope this body will pass it and also consider extending teacher planning time even further in the future.

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Assocation Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

I am a teacher in FCPS, and I personally support all of this bills. All of these bills are also part of Virginia Education Association's list of bills to support.

Last Name: Rymer Locality: Richmond

Comments Document

My name is Meaghan Rymer and I am a teacher for Richmond Public Schools writing in favor of HB440 . As an educator, planning time is the most valuable time during the school day. I would like to provide some examples. Slide shows (Google Slides or PowerPoint) take, on average, about 3-4 hours to build depending on how many class periods it will be used. Finding or creating activities takes another 3-4 hours. If I have to make copies for my 142 students, this takes about 20 minutes, depending on whether the copier is in use and how many pages I have to copy. A restroom break can take between 5-10 minutes depending on if there are other teachers waiting to use it. Team meetings are usually 45 minutes 3-4 times a week. Sanitizing 26 desks between classes takes about 5 minutes. Then there are lesson plans. Lesson planning comes in phases. The first phase is brainstorming and usually happens during team meetings where we look at date and curriculum to decide on how we will teach that topic. Then, we sit down to write out the plans using a template provided by out school or district. I have attached a blank one for reference. This stage can take several hours. I wrote this out so that you may start to understand why planning time is crucial for teachers to be successful. HB440 would help keep planning time sacred. My only suggestion would be for language to be added that would provide enforcement of this policy. Thank you for your time.

End of Comments