Friday, June 12, 2009

Smith principal: Immersion teachers to stay

Smith Language Academy Principal Ynez Olshausen today sent this email to families of students at the magnet school:

Friday, June 12, 2009 1:45 PM

Dear Smith Academy Parents and Families,

This week the names of 12 Smith Academy language immersion teachers appeared on a non-renewal list published in the Charlotte Observer, apparently in error.

Our Human Resources department has determined that the names were generated because these teachers - and teachers at other CMS schools as well - were on H-1B visas or green cards. CMS will continue visa sponsorship for teachers on the H-1B visa, and they are not being non-renewed. Teachers who already have Green Cards are expected to return as full time teachers in the fall as well.

Our HR staff is getting in contact with our teachers to relieve some anxiety they have been feeling. Unfortunately, the HR staff member who takes such good care of our international teachers, Ms. Coston, was unaware that these teachers had been submitted for non-renewal until today.

The HR staff is so sorry for this, and assured us that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools anticipates their return for the upcoming school year. These teachers will receive contracts. CMS Communications is talking with the Observer and the media.

Thanks to all of you for your support and concern. Knowing that parents and families stand behind them meant so much to our teachers! Please let me know if you have other questions or concerns.

Schönes Wochenende, bon weekend!
Ynez Olshausen


An Observer reporter contacted a CMS spokesperson Friday regarding the error. The spokesperson confirmed that the list released by CMS of non-renewals for Smith Language Academy is incorrect. CMS, the spokesperson said, would release official corrections to the Smith list and for any other schools on Monday.

- Doug Miller

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great! Because we would hate for people here on a work visa to lose their jobs!!! Especially if it meant those that are United States Citizens would not have to!!

Anonymous said...

The purpose of Smith Language Academy is to IMMERSE the students into a language. This means to have native speakers teach all courses in their language to teach the students.

I just recently met a 6 yr. who has participated in the Chinese program and speaks with no accent and can read and write Chinese.

Before making ignorant comments, please fact check and understand the people sending their child to school want their students to be bilingual and need native speakers to teach them.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:30... You beat me to it! The general public can be so ignorant sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:18, these teachers are here because few poorly trained Americans exist to teach these languages and wouldn't when the compensation and hurdles offered by CMS are factored. Few Americans have the work ethic to match the effort these teachers put in everyday at Smith. I guess it doesn't matter to most Americans when their children are so ill-prepared to work around the world and use fluency in another language by third grade. These teachers are supported by American parents who realize their children's future is not tied to the perennial textile mill mentality. Maybe that's why our student body is one of the most diverse in Charlotte and commute from all over the county to take advantage of this unique world recognized K-8 program. Please visit us like so many educators around the world do to find a program so successful with its graduates. Otherwise, enjoy the past.

Anonymous said...

textile mentality huh... and students commute from all over the county to go to Smith for this wonderful program. I have nothing personally against immersion, I do have something against some parents who want specialized education for their children and cost the rest of us for special teachers, transportation and take away from every other childs right to have decent teachers and a decent education. I know, I know, so many troubled kids cause problems. Well, so many kids not causing problems still not getting a decent education because CMS can't seem to provide it and now teachers are losing jobs while the overpaid superintendent and his cronies sit back and watch. You want your kid immersed, send them to a private school and pay for it yourself.

Anonymous said...

So happy this is the case! This schools program is amazing and wonderful.

Anonymous said...

The Greek Orthodox Church and the Jewish community don't depend on taxpayers to raise bilingual children. I believe other cultures within our community offer language support for the young.

Anonymous said...

there are plenty of well-trained US teachers who speak with native fluency. The fact that someone speaks a particular language does not mean they can teach the language -- if so, then every one of us could teach English -- but we don't because most of us have no idea how to identify a dangling participle. I, for one, applaud the immersion programs and think that all of us need to learn additional languages, but I don't approve of keeping these particular teachers when we have plenty of US citizens capable of teaching those classes.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:51

Because lord knows there are sooo many American German, Chinese, and Japanese teachers in the Charlotte area that are unemployed. If you can find a native US citizen who is qualified to teach one of these languages, living in Charlotte, and unemployed, please encourage them to apply to CMS. I don't think you'll find too many takers. I think its foolish to assume that there are a large number of local candidates being blocked from a job by international faculty. Given CMS's reputation for bureaucracy, I would guess that they did their due diligence and hired people qualified to teach. Maybe you should reach out to some Smith parents to see if they feel their kids are learning their languages inadequately?

Anonymous said...

I think the Smith Language Academy is a wonderful program. It's the school itself that's a bit of a disappointment - very run down, like so many of the schools here in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

" You want your kid immersed, send them to a private school and pay for it yourself." The reason this statement is ignorant is that if these kids didn't go to Smith, they would go somewhere else in CMS. Smith doesn't cost any more, per pupil, than any other school in the system. Therefore, eliminating Smith only increases the burden on other schools. I don't know if you're familiar with the comp for work-visa employees, but my bet is Smith is probably a good financial deal for CMS.

Anonymous said...

"The Greek Orthodox Church and the Jewish community don't depend on taxpayers to raise bilingual children." - but if their kids are in public school, they're still depending on the taxpayers. Eliminating language immersion doesn't improve CMS financially at all, because they still have to educate those kids. Smith doesn't cost the taxpayers a dime.

Anonymous said...

These teachers cost us taxpayers a ton of money because they are brought in by a for-profit organization called VIF, out of Raleigh. CMS pays VIF a head-hunting fee and bonuses to bring these folks to Charlotte. On top of that, these teachers get paid about 150% what an average, American teacher gets. The VIF guys are making a fortune with this deal. Somebody within CMS must be making money as well. Why haven't they cut any of these teachers and substituted them with a more cost-effective option such as U.S. born teachers? Don't tell me there are not enough U.S. born teachers to fill these positions because that is just crap. There are plenty of qualified U.S. born teachers to do the job.

C. Kramer said...

While I am very proud to work at the Smith Language Academy, I am not proud to be an employee of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. As a CMS teacher and member of the community, I am appalled that you published a list of fired teachers in the newspaper. Doing so added insult to injury for the 850 people included in the list.

Twelve Smith teachers were included erroneously in the list because they have foreign visas. How many other teachers are being fired because of a computer glitch? How many other teacher’s contracts were not renewed because Human Resources decided to cut jobs that fit an arbitrary set of criteria?

The public has been lead to believe that the job cuts were made based on teacher performance and budget constraints. The administration’s performance is below standard and they make up to ten times the amount of some teachers, so why are some of them not losing their jobs?

The way these cuts were handled is comparable to teachers publishing a list of failing students in the newspaper before they receive their report cards.

Anonymous said...

The above post regarding salaries sounds pretty informed, so I pulled the data and started crunching average salaries. Turns out the above post is completely wrong. Average immersion teacher salary at Smith is 41,728. Average teacher salary at Selwyn Elementary - 49,970
Carmel Middle - 47,647
Albemarle - 44,975
Barringer - 46,419
David Cox Road Elementary - 49,076
Range for CMS teachers is 34K to 75K
So that pretty much dispenses with the 150% claim.

Anonymous said...

The post about the VIF teachers is completely false. I am a VIF teacher and make $10,000 less than I would in my home country. Not only VIF teachers are native speakers but they are also extremely qualified. They have years of experience and are very passionate about what they do. VIF does not hire native speakers. VIF hires highly qualified teachers.

Anonymous said...

This VIF is quite a deal. Those teachers were guaranteed their positions WAY up front, not only positions, but actual placement in the school and level they were at as of June. U.S., longer term teachers were layed off instead. Again, CMS makes money on this, and the teachers DO get paid about 2 steps above where they would if US employeed, though they won't admit it, the salary database shows that.

Anonymous said...

If this VIF teacher is making $10,000.00 LESS than in the home country - GO BACK TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY! This is an individual choiuce VIF teachers make to come here, and they travel, and on and on and on

Anonymous said...

It took 18 posts before someone types "go home" in all caps. Nice. This is why we can't compete globally.

The goal of the public education system is not to employ the highest number of U.S. teachers possible. It's to educate our kids, and Smith has shown that they are doing more with less. If you don't think CMS isn't run well, don't take it out on the language immersion programs.

to the VIF teacher: PLEASE STAY HERE!

Anonymous said...

I have put two of my children through Smith Language Academy and couldn't be happier. My oldest child is fluent in Spanish and is giving back to the community by using her language skills in ways I won't bother to go into. Our society needs language fluency whether we agree with it or not and this program helps prepare our youth for the future in a global economy. In the long run this strengthens our economy and our nation as a whole.

doshimaitri said...

It is fact that knowledge of other languages greatly enhances learners’ understanding of languages in general and enables people to use their native language more effectively. language immersion learners have stronger vocabulary skills in English, a better understanding of the language, and improved literacy in general - enhance these skills and again, it will make you much more employable

Web Design Company said...

Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck! Web Design Company

Hotpoint WMUD962P said...

This Blog is going places, the people, the layout, amazing to see such dedication and focus.