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Posted on Fri, May 31, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti teachers upset about hiring process experience lag in receiving scoring materials

By Danielle Arndt


Ypsilanti foreign language teachers Barbara Martin, left, and Frances Heires seek solitude May 4 in the grass under the trees behind Ypsilanti High School, after opening their letters from the new district and learning they were guaranteed jobs.

Daniel Brenner | file photo

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Teachers in the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts have experienced delays in receiving their scores and rubrics used in the rehiring process.

Many teachers from both school systems who were upset about how staff was selected and which educators were not hired back, have asked to review their application materials.

School dismisses for the summer in just one week, and 87 educators from the consolidating Ypsilanti-Willow Run districts will be out of a job and forced to pack up their classrooms permanently.

These teachers who received "no" or "maybe" letters from the unified Ypsilanti Community Schools district, which launches on July 1, say they are left to wonder: "Why?" and "What did I do wrong?"

After an interview process that included classroom observations, YCS officials issued letters to 171 of 258 internal applicants offering them a position in the unified district. Teachers who did not receive an offer were told they could request a copy of their interview materials to review their scores and see why they weren't selected.

But due to the number of requests school officials have received, teachers have experienced a lag in receiving their rubrics.

YCS and Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel said officials were not expecting so many teachers to request their rehiring information.

"The 'no's we could understand and were prepared for. But we're not just getting requests for the 'no's, but also the 'yes's and 'maybe's," he said.

There were a combined 55 teachers from Ypsilanti and Willow Run who were notified they would not be hired back as a result of not meeting the standards set by the YCS board. Thirty-two teachers were told they did meet the district's hiring criteria, but because of enrollment uncertainty and budgetary restrictions, they will be placed on a callback list for positions that might become available.

Menzel said to date, YCS has received about 90 requests from teachers wanting to see their scoring rubric. The teams of three volunteer, retired administrators and teachers who were recruited to conduct the teacher interviews have been responsible for fulfilling these requests, but Menzel said these are the same teams of people who need to be conducting interviews and extending offers to paraprofessionals and office secretaries right now.

"We were pulling people off those tasks. And it was taking an extraordinary amount of time to — for every person who requests their information — find the files, take out the materials, remove the staples, copy it, scan it and send it out," he said.

The requests for information now will be fulfilled "in batches," Menzel said, explaining that once per week a new group of requests will be sent out. He said teachers only should have to wait up to 10 days to receive their interview materials.


YCS and WISD Superintendent Scott Menzel

Paraprofessionals are being interviewed this week; school secretaries will be next and there are more than 100 paraprofessional applications. The custodial staff at Ypsilanti and Willow Run also still have to be interviewed.

"At this point before the launch, the full-time work of everyone involved in the unification needs to be moving on to additional tasks," Menzel said, stressing there are about 30 days before the YCS district is born.

School officials also must finalize the staff's fall teaching assignments to determine where they will work and whether any more positions are needed.

Earlier this month, YCS leaders discussed the possibility of an appeal process for teachers who were not rehired to contest their non-employment status with the new district. However, Menzel said based on the advice of the district's legal counsel, they will not be pursuing this. He said officials will continue to work with teachers who feel like their scores don't represent their best work and what they are capable of bringing to the new district.

He also said for any additional positions that will have to be posted, YCS administrators will be "very intentional" about recruiting those teachers who were not initially asked back to apply for the newly open spots.

Ypsilanti Education Association President Krista Boyer said teachers at Ypsilanti Public Schools are "all friends and all a team" and have been working together to try to figure out "why teachers with essentially the same track record and years of experience" were not all hired back. She said many teachers were surprised by those educators who received "no"s and "maybe"s.

"I think the reasons people are asking (for their interview materials) is they're curious. ... Teachers want to compare notes and see what was marked differently," Boyer said, adding the teachers understood not everyone was going to be retained in the consolidation and that there is a "human element" to any hiring process. "But the scoring system was and is kind of unclear to us. ... Many people don't know why they got the scores they got."

Teachers were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 in various categories, including experience. Boyer said some teachers with 15 and 30 years of experience received 3s, while some fairly new teachers with significantly fewer years of experience were given 4s and 5s.

"There is no way to see how they came to the number...," Boyer said. "Teachers have a lot of questions about the process and ... are just trying to understand. ... It's disheartening; people don't know what they did wrong. It would have helped to have something that said: 'We needed to see this, we needed to see that in order to make (the score) a 4 or a 5.'"

Boyer was one of the 32 teachers who received a "maybe" letter. Parents started a Facebook page and petition over the weekend asking people to support retaining Boyer. The group is called "Parents Want Mrs. Boyer Rehired" and as of Tuesday evening, the group had 64 "likes."

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 3:07 a.m.

Uh, has anyone seen the test scores that come out of these schools? Walked through these schools during class, particularly WR? It's a shame. Give these kids what they deserve....the very best, something different from what they have.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 11:44 p.m.

Hopefully every candidate who has asked for their information, who did not receive a request for an extension from the new disrict knows that they may sue as a violation of FOIA.

Basic Bob

Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 5:11 a.m.

Stay classy.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

Oh....and if the ISD has change their interpretation on FOIA, these teachers may resubmit their request with the acronym FOIA at the top of the request.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

Sorry about the last post, the computer crashed. There should be no shock that teachers were and should be hired based on performance not experience. Just because a teacher has experience does not make them a good teacher. This type of thinking does not work unless you just want to retain people out of loyalty. Imagine owning a business who's employees did not bring a profit to the business but were retained because they were loyal to the business, makes not since. I think that what is best for kids is retaining and hiring people based on performance. I am to critical of the process but that argument is not valid especially since the new state law now says that layoffs, retention/recall, and evaluations are solely based on evaluations not experience.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 11:56 p.m.

That isn't the point. The district decided experience was a good thing and awarded points on it. Those that tallied points just misunderstood what experience meant. Some thought experience meant that they had taught for 10 months. Others thought that experience meant 30 years. This would be humorous except that people list their jobs over this error. And, though Scott knows errors were made, he refuses to fix them. If this error happened in something so obvious, I can't imagine what happened in matters that were more subjective.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

With all of the technology available, they should have been able to use some type of computerize system. I know for a fact that their are software programs that can be used for evaluations. Whats up with the paper, pencil and rubrics. The other question I have is were all of the teacher interviews and observations video taped/recorded ? It seems like the teachers especially the ones that were given no letters would want to watch there interview and observation to see for themselves in real time where they failed on the scoring system that they were evaluated by.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

What if some of the teachers who were extended offers, but plan to decline them and look elsewhere, submit requests for their interview records? Then perhaps a comparison could be made amongst those who choose to.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

According to the teachers anyone can request their file.

Charley Sullivan

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

So, you evaluate people, and use the scores to make real decisions about their lives, and you don't expect people to want to see the evaluations? Are you SURE you're an educator? Every kid wants to get their test or quiz back. This completely should have been anticipated.


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 5:22 a.m.

Basic Bob, If they so choose, that is their choice. It was THEIR JOB not yours so why don't you keep your opinion to yourself on how they decide to handle information received in their rubric evaluations.

Basic Bob

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

why, so they can publish it on the blogosphere and file class-action lawsuits


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

Scott Menzel has turned out to be a terrible superintendent for WISD. Incompetent, arrogant, and clueless.


Sat, Jun 1, 2013 : 5:20 a.m.

The un-elected school board --First wrong move. Menzel hiring himself and two other Superintendents for a new school district of 2500+ estimated students....second WRONG MOVE. The process on how teachers were hired for the school district...third WRONG MOVE. Not having a clear process to give instructors who received "maybe" or "no" letter their rubrics....fourth wrong move. I could go on but at least Dedrick Martin decided to move on himself, somewhere else. First RIGHT move but Menzel had nothing to do with it.

Basic Bob

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

he might be better at his real job. this one is temporary and part-time. by nature of the number of positions to fill, it was delegated to people with normal human frailties.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 1:31 p.m.

What a joke this has turned out to be. Other teachers in different districts are all wondering why they handled the hiring this way.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

How crude and emblematic of terrible leadership. Of course everyone fired wants to know why and wants to see the evaluation materials. How could they not anticipate that and be prepared - terrible leadership and management.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

"... for every person who requests their information — find the files, take out the materials, remove the staples, copy it, scan it and send it out" This is a symptom of why schools are failing. They are still using paper records in 2013. The world has changed, and schools still operate like it is 1850.

ypsi to go

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

Paraprofessionals were interviewed this week.

Danielle Arndt

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

ypsi to go, you are correct. I reversed the two in the story. I've fixed this. Sorry for the error.

Nick Danger

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

I am ashamed to have been part of this process. A twenty minute interview,20 minute observation and a flawed rubric is not a fair and just way to determine the quality of a teachers ability to educate children


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

It's unfortunate that they go through this process but they have no other recourse without being subjected legal repercussions from those that are being terminated. It's totally unfair and really comes down to who they want regardless how you performed but who you get along with.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Which end were you on? Such a bummer to go through that.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

How hard is it to understand, back in the 90's when the public sector jobs were cutting back many large companies needed to reduce the workforce for restructuring or reorganizing, 1000's of excellent employees were given termination notices without legitimate or what seemed factual information regarding employees overall performance. Unfortunately many will see that it was political and more to do with favoritism than real work performance, if your ideology wavers from what is considered the norm from those that are giving the reviews its goodbye for you. Kinda like what the IRS in this administration has been doing to those that oppose or have not followed this presidents mandates. Welcome to the real world.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 10:56 a.m.

its my understanding that it mattered more about where (new tech specifically) you taught than how well you 'interviewed'. I would say that protecting new tech teachers was probably not the best move for the new system or its students. Its clear at this point that the hiring process was poorly handled which is in line with the various other decisions made so far - an AD who was previously fired, 3 superintendents...this is an example of why "local control" is not necessarily beneficial to the students. This is becoming an example of why moving to an all charter system has been the choice in other places.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

"This is becoming an example of why moving to an all charter system has been the choice in other places." Uh, right. Because for-profit corporations are always transparent and accountable to the public, and never put profits first.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 10:28 a.m.

I have never heard of any hiring process wherein the applicants who were not selected are entitled to review their interview scores or the hiring decision matrix! It is extremely rare for non-selected applicants to receive so much as a "Thanks, but no thanks" blind email from the prospective employer. Most Resume submittals and interview results result in no feedback what so ever. At least these teachers received a clear "No" to assist with their future plans.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

In addition to what Sandy stated many of these teachers have current effective and highly effective evaluations on file.

Sandy Castle

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 4:19 p.m.

I would agree if this were a stranger applying for a new job, but that wasn't the case. The applicant pool was limited to current teachers. They have a right to know why they were not retained/re-hired. Some of them are considered highly effective teachers by students and parents, and since they were not on any discipline process it should be assumed that the school district thought they were good teachers as well.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

Government employees have legal right to request their files its called FOIA.


Fri, May 31, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

The process was flawed so the playing field kept changing. You can ask how you could improve after an interview.

Tamara Craft Larson

Fri, May 31, 2013 : 10:27 a.m.

The whole interview process was horrible! I am in my son's school everyday. I saw how the interviews went. There were times, when the people giving the interviews never showed up. A few times they called to tell the office, sometimes no calls. It was very unprofessional if you ask me. All the people who did the interviews, should be ashamed. I have said this before, but they robbed these children of some amazing teachers. All because they couldn't get their act together. Sad.