GCS Covert Manipulation

Dear Editor,

Deja vu of Guilford County Schools (GCS) attempt to shutdown Gateway Education Center.

GCS has developed a standard mode of operation, which is to give parents and staff short notice on major issues and tell them the Board of Education is in agreement/approved the initiative.  Staff and parents are then intimidated to toe the line.

Gateway Learning Center staff and parents were the first to experience this type of manipulation. The board had no public meeting and parents were not engaged in any manner.  Parents were devastated; the school was a lifeline for their severely disabled children. Good news, parents stood up and Gateway is still serving students.

GCS now seems to be on a new mission, transitioning schools from block to traditional scheduling using the same method.  I received a call from a Northeast Guilford High staff member on March 8 and was shocked.

Northeast High would be transitioning from block to a traditional schedule, official decision, informed school board supported the transition.  Staff member reviewed Feb. 24 board meeting where supposedly board discussed/approved transition to traditional schedule.  There was no discussion on the issue.  As the Northeast High board representative, GCS leadership has a duty to inform me of major changes/events in the schools I represent.  Staff, parents and students are upset with lack of transparency and no discussion about the pros and cons of moving to a traditional schedule. Is traditional a good fit for Northeast High?  This is a major move; staff training, lesson plans and the impact to students’ education trajectories need to be discussed.

I have been told a significant number of staff and students are upset and want a voice.  Staff I have talked with have voiced a fear of reprisal for voicing concerns and issues related to the transition to traditional schedule.

Parents were suppressed because they were led to believe there was nothing they could do; it was board approved.  Parents that did call were hesitant, they didn’t want their students impacted because they spoke up!

GCS should welcome input from all stakeholders and not view them as adversaries!

Block to traditional schedule will be discussed at the board retreat March 26 at 9 a.m.

Linda Welborn

District 4 Guilford County Board of Education Member