Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

October 19, 2006

McGee says “no but…”

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News:

FRISCO – The elementary school art teacher entangled in a fight with the Frisco school district turned down the district’s settlement offer Thursday morning.

Sydney McGee’s lawyer said he submitted a counter-proposal to the district, but he declined to discuss the proposal.

Maybe we’ll get to see it all come out in court after all. Naaah, the district would settle before it made it that far, just like McKinney did.

2 Comments »

  1. Lawyer: Art teacher ‘exceeds expectations’

    BY KEVIN BOWEN
    (Created: Friday, October 13, 2006 4:44 PM CDT)
    | Text Size | Print Version | E-mail This Story

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    Fisher Elementary School art teacher Sydney McGee achieved the highest possible rating on three of five annual performance evaluations given to her by Frisco ISD over the past five years, according to a document submitted to the school district by her attorney.

    The document, allegedly showing her performance evaluation scores, is the latest salvo involving a suspended art teacher embroiled in a controversy that might concern nude art.

    McGee, currently placed on administrative leave with pay indefinitely, has said the dispute started after a parent’s complaint that a child was exposed to nude artwork during an April 2006 field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art for fifth-grade students. In press releases, the district has stated that McGee’s situation arises from performance issues.

    According to the document, prepared by McGee’s attorney Rogge Dunn, McGee received grades of “exceeds expectations” in her first three evaluations as a Frisco ISD art teacher.

    According to her attorney’s document, McGee scored a 37 on a scale of 45 during her first year (2001-02), which reached a grade of “exceeds expectations.”

    In her second year, she received a grade of 42 out of 50 for the 2002-03 school year, and 40 out of 50 for the 2003-04 school year, her attorney’s document stated, with each score reaching an “exceeds expectations” ranking.

    In her fourth year, the document reports she received a mark of 38 out of 50, which achieved a ranking of “proficient.” The “proficient” level was assigned to scores from 24 to 39.

    In her review for the 2005-06 school year, taken in May, about three weeks after the April field trip, her score dropped to 30, the document said. That score gave her another “proficient” ranking.

    McGee has stated that she originally received a “below expectations” mark on one item of that review, sparking the creation of a “growth plan” to measure improved performance. That mark was later upgraded to proficient.

    Jo Murphy was the school’s principal at the time of McGee’s hire. According to e-mails found in McGee’s personnel file, Nancy Lawson took over as principal in the fall 2004, the school year that saw McGee’s first rating lower than “exceeds expectations.”

    The document was procured as part of a public information request to the district. The performance evaluations themselves were not available to the media through the district. An FISD spokesperson had no immediate dispute with the figures when contacted Thursday evening.

    Dunn confirmed that the document came from his office. The letter indicates that he was provided the information Monday after filing a public information request.

    “The proof is in the pudding,” he said.

    The file also contains a five-point May 18 memorandum from Lawson to McGee, which outlined points of concern with McGee’s performance.

    The memo was prepared one day after her performance evaluation, about three weeks after the April 26 museum field trip, and about two months after McGee’s contract was renewed for the 2006-07 school year.

    In a June 1 e-mail, McGee replied point-by-point to Lawson’s memo.

    The third point of the memo addresses the trip to the art museum. It states that students were exposed to nude statues and other nude art representations. It said time was not used wisely on the trip, that Lawson had expressed concerns about a “lack of effective planning.” It states that Lawson received parental and teacher complaints about the trip.

    McGee states that she asked but did not receive tips on planning her first field trip while at Fisher. She states that the visit to the museum’s European Collection and The Contemporary Collections were “an appropriate way to correlate our studies [sic].”

    McGee’s response describes one parent’s complaint as “seeing a granite abstract nude in the sculpture garden.”

    The first point addressed a lack of student artwork displayed on the walls of the school and the lack of an “Art Hall of Fame” on campus.

    In reply, McGee discussed a plan previously under discussion that would come into being in fall 2006.

    The second point alleges “procedural violations,” including cell phone use in class, wearing flip-flops, failing to walk among students during duty times, and failure to attend two staff meetings, and leaving the building before school let out.

    McGee’s response stated that she had permission from Lawson to have a cell phone in class because of a family health situation. She stated she only used it once in class, taking a call from a neighbor about a pipe burst that flooded her home.

    She disputes that her shoes were flip-flops. She states that she briefly left one meeting and missed another because of multi-campus art functions, and states that she has not left before 3:30 p.m.

    The fourth point states that McGee had not submitted accurate lesson plans and expressed concerns about “free draw” in her class. McGee says the issue arose from a change in the computer system and process.

    The fifth point states that Lawson received parental expressions of concern about student artwork. McGee says she was not made aware of the concerns and not given a chance to address them.
    Is proficient a bad evaluation? I do not think that documentation is enough proof. Is there more?

    Comment by John — October 19, 2006 @ 5:47 pm

  2. whatever happened to Sydney?

    Comment by Delfin Bonode — October 10, 2007 @ 7:44 am


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