I understand that the School Committee is not charged with responsibility for personnel decisions within schools, but as the parent of a student in the adult transitions program (known as PAVE) at the high school, I want you to know that the recent staffing cuts made in art and drama directly affect PAVE students in ways that are truly unfortunate.
As you can imagine, as students with disabilities grow beyond the age of 18, the opportunities for inclusion with their typical peers shrink rapidly. Many academic classes are no longer the best learning environments for the skills they need, so offerings in art, drama and physical education are often the best places for them to continue to build friendships and hone their social skills. While I do not know of all of the positions cut (despite requests, more specific information has not been forthcoming from the school district) I know that two of them are teachers who have specifically reached out to include and enrich the skills of PAVE students.
With the limited information I have, I can say that even these preliminary cuts have disproportionately hurt the PAVE program in ways that our fantastic PAVE teachers cannot easily remedy. We'll be losing not only an inclusive drama program, but also the after-school art program and the coordinator of our local art show at the Library and art fair that allows all of GDRSD's art students to show their work alongside some of the best professional artists and artisans in the area.
These employees don't have the benefit of a union, so it is up to parents to get the message out that these young (and inexpensive) staff have earned our respect and gratitude, even as our school district shows them the door.