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Published: Wednesday, 9/26/2007

Parents irked by staff shifts at Harvard Elementary

Parents from Harvard Elementary - one of the top-rated schools in Toledo Public Schools - lambasted a district program they say has hindered the learning environment in a second-grade classroom.

Five parents told the board of education that their children's class has its third teacher of the year because of the district's Urban Leadership Development Program.

"This second-grade classroom should not have a revolving door on it," said Nicole Geithmann, Harvard parent-teacher organization president.

At issue is the program that trains mostly teachers to become principals through a funded master's program at the University of Toledo. During the program, participants are pulled out of the classroom to do administrative work.

Upon completion, the participants are required to continue working with the system for five years.

At Harvard, the classroom's substitute teacher became eligible for a permanent position, and a second substitute was assigned, Superintendent John Foley said.

Mr. Foley met with about 30 Harvard parents Monday night.

"There will be a resolution to this," Mr. Foley said after last night's regular board meeting.

The nearly six-year-year-old program is meant to help the district identify, develop, and mentor principals and other administrators.

There are currently 19 teachers or entry-level administrators enrolled in the program.

Also last night, the board of education spent more than an hour in executive session, in part, to discuss a set of goals that will help guide Mr. Foley in his leadership of the district.

Board members Robert Torres and Darlene Fisher voted against going behind closed doors.

They had asked board President Steven Steel to hold the public comment portion of the meeting before the executive session, rather than making speakers wait until the end of what became a three-hour meeting.

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