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Elementary, middle school teachers looking for modified hours

Teachers at Pahrump Valley High School are able to alternate their school schedule at the end of each semester to allow them to conclude grading and finalize report cards. A group of teachers at a local elementary are questioning why they can’t do the same.

Elementary teachers from Manse Elementary, organized by Shirley Jackson and Deanna Floyd, campaigned for elementary and middle schools to have the same option the high school faculty does, at the Nye County School District Board of Trustees meeting June 21.

The high school teachers still work full contracted hours during those days, but only half of those hours are spent with students. The other half is dedicated to the grading and completing of report cards.

Citing that elementary schools don’t have final exams, they felt the assessment and grading that goes into the end of a semester warrants the ability to adjust the schedule in the last week of each semester.

“We have been responsible for entering 10 character grades for each student,” Jackson said, reading from a prepared statement. “Given our average class size of 30 students, we have an additional 300 grades to enter.”

The teachers explained that they are aware the responsibilities and workload of teachers differ according to the grade levels and subjects taught,” Jackson said. “We don’t believe this is the forum to compare each and every duty of a high school teacher to those of an elementary or middle school teacher.

“Suffice to say that we all have a heavy workload at the end of each semester, and we all deserve quality time in the work day to complete it with our students,” Jackson said.

Jackson explained that the group of teachers reached out to the Nye County Classroom Teachers Association to support their petition by negotiating with the school district and the teachers’ union shot down the idea.

“The response of our union was that no one at the elementary level is required to put in the extra time,” Jackson said. “The union has also told us that it is our choice to work the extra hours.”

With the lack of support, the group of teachers affirmed they chose to work with younger children, though the workload requires them to work hours not in their regular schedule. They stated they would continue to do so because of the importance to the students.

“Because of our commitment to the children of Nye County, we elementary teachers are willing to make the choice to work these extra hours and we will continue to do so,” Jackson said. “Granting us these half days will not inhibit the education of the students, but it will greatly reduce the stress level of the teachers, therefore increasing their morale.

“We are looking to you to do what is right for all teachers.”

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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