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In this set of email correspondence (see the first set here), John Napolitani, President of the Asbury Park Education Association (APEA), and Sheron Jones-Ward, Human Resources Coordinator at Asbury Park Public Schools, share their concerns about the lack of substitute teachers in the district which, Napolitani writes, has led to class sizes as large as 36 students. (Social-distancing, anyone?) While many other district are experiencing substitute shortages, Asbury Park appears to be coping by violating state mandates on class size, placing special education teachers inappropriately, and not giving teachers their contractually-mandated preparation periods. Napolitani calls it a “debacle.”
In each case Jones-Ward responds the same day, relaying her own frustration with the dearth of substitutes. In Email #2 she cc’s Acting Superintendent Rashawn Adams. When Napolitani answers (Email #3) he also copies various other administrators, plus the union’s lawyer. The last one, Email #4, is to members of the APEA informing them that, while Adams has said he’s not to be contacted until all concerns go through “the chain of command,” that chain is complete and it’s time for APEA members to go directly to Adams. Napolitani concludes, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, “there is a strong possibility he is not aware this since he’s been busy running the district.”
Email #1, Friday, Oct. 1st, Napolitani to Jones-Ward
Good Morning Sheron,
I hope everything is well. At what point will the district be getting substitutes? I have not seen one yet in the upper elementary. At one point we utilized our own substitutes and the secretaries did the call in. This was extremely successful in the past but now it’s a disaster. They are splitting classes up and placing them in classrooms that are already jammed with students.
Email #2, Friday, Oct. 1st, Jones-Ward to Napolitani
Your concerns match ours and have been forwarded to the district’s contracted Substitute Teacher provider-Kelly Education Services.
Sheron K. Jones-Ward
Email #3, Oct. 8th, Napolitani to Jones-Ward
Good Morning Sheron,
Pursuant to the below email in regard to Kelly Services, have you received any response from the company in regard to the issues every building is experiencing now? We had a Representative Council meeting yesterday and the issues include but are not limited to:
- Splitting classes amongst teachers to spread a class out – this causes major issues because one class had 36 children in it.
- This goes way above what is allowed in a class on top of absolutely no social distancing.
- Pulling special ed teachers out of a class which brings the class out of compliance.
- Not utilizing staff properly that could technically assist in the coverage.Teachers not getting their contractual prep. Yes they get paid but they could care less about that because they need the time to prepare.
I totally understand this goes above you, but the staff need a fix to this fast. We have given several ways to correct this over the past few years since this debacle started. It’s truly unfair to the staff when they prep for a class and then when the day starts, they have 10 additional children in a class, not enough desks, not enough chairs, no supplies, etc. I implore the district to look for an alternative immediately, It has been falling on deaf ears so I am hoping we can get this rectified. Since I am out today, I’m sure my grade level is feeling the pinch as well having my class split.
Email #4, Oct. 9th, Napolitani to Teacher Union Members
I just want to keep the staff informed that the APEA is staying on top of the lack of substitutes in the district, as you can see from the below email. The Acting Superintendent wanted everyone to go through the chain of command, which is to go directly through their principal and not go to him. The only time you go through the Acting superintendent is if you have gone through the chain of command and nothing has happened.
Well, it’s now October and we have seen very little if any subs. Contractually you must have a prep, lunch and in some cases, a travel prep to get from one building to another. The Acting Superintendent was very adamant when he stated that you should exhaust all measures in the building first before going to him.
Since I can not get anywhere with this matter, if you have not received a sub, and you have not been getting the contractual prep, please contact the Acting Superintendent directly so that he is aware of the situation. Since the principals are aware of the situation, and we followed the chain of command as instructed by the Acting Super, please move to the next step and let him know what’s going on. There is a strong possibility he is not aware this since he’s been busy running the district.