A group of Del City teachers has formally told district administration they do not have enough time to prepare lesson plans and grade papers, which forces them to work outside their normal hours in violation of their contract.
About twelve teachers at Highland Park Elementary submitted the grievance last week, according to Lori Burris, president of the Mid-Del Association of Classroom Teachers, the local teacher’s union.
The group claims current work conditions violate the contract negotiated by the district and the Mid-Del ACT, which requires elementary classroom teachers be scheduled 45 minutes a day of preparation time, or 225 minutes each week.
“This is every day, every weekend,” Burris said.
The group is currently discussing the issue with school administration, according to Burris, however, she said the issue of overworking teachers spans beyond Highland Park and Mid-Del Schools.
“We have a teacher shortage everywhere, it’s not just here,” Burris said. “But no one seems to be asking, ‘Why are they leaving, and what can we do to help them and support them so they don’t leave?’”
Seven Mid-Del teachers have made plans to leave the district in the past month, Burris said, for reasons including overwork and lack of staff support.
Mid-Del Superintendent Dr. Rick Cobb told News 9 the district has responded to informal meetings with teachers by reducing requirements for Canvas, the district’s digital learning platform, and the number of work meetings.
The district has also hired 18 permanent substitute teachers, he said.
“We value our instructional professionals; we value our leaders in the district. We want to try to keep them to where they can do the job in a way that they conscientiously want to do the job,” Cobb said.
Cobb said the district is forming a Teacher Time Taskforce to study methods to better manage teacher workloads.
“Everybody wants to walk into a work situation whether you’re a teacher, or doing anything else professionally, and feel like, ‘I can be successful in what I do.’ And we have an obligation to make that better,” Cobb said.