Parents of a Sunnyvale school have mixed feelings about the school’s progress this year after all teachers were reassigned to different schools last June.
West Valley Elementary School has a new principal, new teachers, front office staff and even custodians following a district effort to remove "tensions" from the school staff.
Students and parents rallied last year to keep the teachers and campus staff, but the Cupertino Union School District made the decision with the teachers’ union to send everyone to different schools.
Now, three months into the school year, some parents are impressed by the dedication of the new staff and the ease of transition to new leadership.
"As far as I’m concerned, I think it’s been going pretty smooth," said Priyanka Jain, who is a parent to current and former West Valley students.
"The teachers seem to be very involved and I think it’s a good change for the kids," she said.
Yet disapproval and hurt feelings still linger amongst some parents, who feel that while the teachers are working hard for the students, all faith in the district has been lost.
"Generally things are still not going well," said parent Tim Smith, via email. Smith and his wife spoke out against the district during a board meeting last year. They say their daughter struggles with anxiety and transitions. The Smiths say the district made the new school year tough for her and other students.
"The new staff has been very supportive and we do not point fingers at them but instead at the district in the poor management of the situation," said Smith.
Parent critiques were mentioned in a school email sent November 3 by Principal Robin Robinson to the entire school community.
"There has been some questioning of classroom practices, grading, curriculum, and in some instances demands for certain practices to the point where the staff is feeling worn and unappreciated," wrote Principal Robinson.
"I ask you to please allow this very talented staff to practice as the professionals they are, work hard for every student in their classes, and not feel like every action and communication is under intense scrutiny."
"Thank you to those of you that have supported the staff through this unique transition and the changes that inevitably occur when a school undergoes what West Valley has experienced," wrote Robinson.
The school district says while the decision to reassign teachers was difficult, this school year has proved already to have been worth it.
"The teachers there now get along really well and you can see that just by going from classroom to classroom," Said Wendy Gudalewicz, Superintendent of Cupertino Unified School District."
"You can see that they collaborate just by what’s up on their walls and how they plan together. It’s a wonderful community."
West Valley principal Robinson says the staff is dedicated to preserving school traditions while building a strong relationship between students, parents and staff.
"I’m very proud of our kids. It’s been a transition for them. They’ve done very well with it," said Principal Robinson.
"And our parents have embraced change. Change is not always easy but they’re embracing it and helping to support teachers because we know that ultimately kids are at the center."