From Principal Sanger: Staffing cut

Dear Bryant Families,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you to convey the sad news I received Monday from the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning at Seattle Public Schools, and I ask in advance for your patience and support. At Bryant we have experienced lower enrollment than projected, which has led the district to reduce our teaching staff by 1 position.

Annually, at the beginning of the school year, Seattle Public Schools undergoes a staffing adjustment process to monitor enrollment at every school and to adjust staffing levels relative to actual student enrollment. Staffing adjustment decisions are made to match student needs with limited staff resources. In this process, adjustments are made in staff levels at schools to reflect the number of students actually enrolled in a program, grade and school, as opposed to forecasted/ projected enrollments. While enrollment projections are usually accurate at the district level, a wide range of factors can influence the final number of students enrolled at a grade, program and school level.

Once receiving student enrollment counts for each school, the district then reevaluates staffing across schools, making adjustments up and down based on each school’s enrollment. Please know that effort was taken to assess all factors for staffing adjustment decisions at all schools. Staffing adjustment recommendations are developed by a team composed of members from Budget, Human Resources, Enrollment Planning, School Operations, Capital Planning, Special Education, Advanced Learning and English Language Learning departments, who use current enrollment numbers in determining staffing adjustments.

Additionally, Enrollment Planning also takes into account other factors in staffing allocations, including projected changes, expected attrition, historical trends in enrollment for each school as well as unique factors affecting each schools’ enrollment. Each school is carefully reviewed for any factors which could impact the classroom.

Because Jessica James has the lowest seniority of teachers on staff, she will be displaced from Bryant. She will retain her contract status with Seattle Public Schools and will be given a position at a different building. Jessica’s last day at Bryant will be Friday, October 16th. This adjustment means that Mr. Matthias will return to 2nd grade that following Monday and be the classroom teacher in Room 306 for the remainder of the school year. As many of you heard during curriculum night, Mr. Matthias had recently stepped into the role of Intervention and Extension Coordinator. Although his departure certainly makes that work more challenging, our staff is excited about that model and committed to addressing the needs of all students. We are having internal discussions about how we might best reconfigure current staffing and repurpose our paid tutors in order to address these supports.

I know this can be a difficult experience for students, and we will do everything we can to support the students in Ms. James’s classroom as they make the transition to their new teacher. Mr. Matthias, Ms. James, Ms. Pearson and I have scheduled a meeting with these families to discuss this transition.

Thank you again for your continued support of our staff and instructional program here at Bryant. We will keep you posted about any new developments as they occur.

Dan Sanger
Bryant Elementary