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Tensions mar turnaround effort in Central Falls

October 13, 2010

Central Falls High School administrators say they are concerned about high rates of teacher absenteeism at Central Falls High School. Four teachers have gone on indefinite medical leave since the start of the school year and at least three teachers have resigned. Roughly a dozen teachers left over the summer.

Central Falls Teachers’ Union President Jane Sessums says teachers are concerned about lax discipline the high school. She attributes the teacher attrition to low morale.

“When you lose that many people in such a short amount of time I think it says a lot about the feeling at the high school,” Sessums says. “Unforuntately I don’t think the morale at the high school is very good right now.”

Central Falls is in the middle of a high-profile high school redesign after the school was singled out by state officials for a history of low test scores and low graduation rates.

The ensuing conflict between teachers and school administrators nearly caused the firing of the entire school faculty.

Although most teachers chose to return this fall, district officials say some teachers have resigned abruptly over the last month, leaving school leaders scrambling to find replacements.

“It they didn’t want to roll up their sleeves and be part of the solution, I’m glad they’re not standing in the way,” says Central Falls Superintendent Fran Gallo. “But I don’t know what you tell a student when a teacher is there on Friday and gone on Monday. I don’t know how students internalize that.”

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