Fremont teachers react to restructuring plan

imageBy Gisela Alvarez

Frustrated teachers and administrators clashed on January 26 during an informational meeting over the plan regarding the restructuring of Fremont High School.

A copy of the draft was handed out during the optional staff meeting. The draft included commitments that teachers, parents and students would have to adhere to, suggestions for a better teaching structure, and a timeline for the progression of the restructuring schedule.

“The plan is what you as a community decides upon,” said Local District Seven Superintendent, Dr. McKenna, after the heated discussion over the draft.

Prior to the district meeting, some staff congregated and discussed their view of the upcoming changes. Some teachers voiced their objection to the plan, calling it “vague” and saying that it does not outline their involvement in the restructuring process if they do reapply. Teachers defended their performance by pointing to the increase in Fremont’s test scores during the past few years. During the meeting, teachers also emphasized that parents and students would have to be informed and deeply involved in order to create a plan that is beneficial for all members of the Fremont community.

Magnet math teacher, Mr. Vaca, said, “It’s not the teacher’s problem, it’s everyone’s problem, and we all have to step up. And if the community voice isn’t heard then outsiders will keep dictating what our future holds.”

Another staff concern involved the panels chosen to interview the reapplying staff. Fremont Principal Mr. Balderas said that he will choose the members of the panels and each one will include members of the surrounding community, parents, students and alumni. However, the panels’ reports and opinions will only be taken into consideration, making the power they hold strictly advisory.

“For the first time we’re going to have some parents say, ‘I want this teacher to teach my child,’” Mr. Balderas said. “We’ve never had that.”

Teachers have created a petition stating that they will not reapply unless their demands and concerns are met. Some staff members have also begun to plan informational meetings in order to inform parents and students of the effects of the restructuring process and their decision to not reapply.

“In general, parents don’t know what’s going on,” Mr. Vaca said. “Our first item is to be able to get the info out to encourage and empower our community to create a vision for Fremont.”

Mr. Balderas said if the majority of Fremont teachers do not reapply, then new teachers may be brought in to replace the open positions from outside teaching programs such as Teach For America. The petitioning teachers argue that they also want change, but in a different manner. Many said that bringing in new teachers to replace those that leave would be rash because teaching programs such as Teach For America would only require the teacher to stay two years, causing constant change in the teaching staff.

“We want to make sure that the teachers stay here because they want to,” said A-track science teacher Mr. Jauregui. “What’s the point of having teachers teaching the students if they don’t want to be here? It’s not going to work out.”

Possible plans for Fremont include dismantling the lowest performing small learning communities and merging them with other SLCs. A uniform policy and gender-based classes are also being considered.

During the district meeting, Pathways counselor Ms. Cesare said in response to the drastic changes, “How can you come in here and have a plan? You don’t have any idea what we have here and you’re destroying what works.”

Mr. Balderas pointed out that Fremont is not the only school to be going through a dramatic change. Fremont’s feeder middle schools, Bethune, Drew, and Edison, will host only 7th and 8th grades next year, while elementary schools will host K-6th grade.

The final decision ultimately belongs to Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent, Mr. Cortines. However, he and Dr. McKenna have declared themselves simply overseers of the process, saying the power lies with Mr. Balderas.

“Imagine if they told us what to do. I’d quit too,” said Mr. Balderas. “But I choose to stay here. I’m not leaving until I am done.”

Gisela Alvarez is a reporter for Fremont High School’s Magnet Chronicles.


  1. There is a big problem in La between black people and the police. I hate discriminate from the bottom of my heart. It does not help anyone. We are all equals. I just hope the best for Oscar Grant and that the court provides justice for this case. Thesis AND Dissertation AND Essay

Speak Your Mind