My heart is breaking for a town I called home for almost 10 years. I started out in Mabton and for nine years was a teacher, coach and advisor at the high school. I called my students my kids and participated in numerous community events. I am here to tell you that I am by far not the only teacher that would tell you this.
I am concerned about a couple of things that have been said and wanted to speak to them.
1. Mabton schools are NOT guinea pig cages, although I had one in my classroom. I never met a teacher that was only there to get a job somewhere else. You quickly fall in love with the school, students and community and every one of the teachers that have left speak of their time at Mabton with warm thoughts. Whatever people's reasons for leaving it isn 't to get a better job somewhere else, that just isn't possible.
2. Communication is bad? I couldn't begin to count how many parent/student surveys I did in the nine years I taught there. We had town hall meetings, parent education nights, back to school BBQs, as well as numerous parent meetings just to discuss what was going on. When over 70 percent of your parents show up at parent-teacher conferences, communication will occur, yes even at the high school level we had 70 percent participation!
3. The school board won't listen? You have to be at the school board meetings to know what is going on...or to know and understand the rules and regulations of how they run. I know this to be a fact as our teacher's union wanted to speak to the school board and had to go through the SAME procedure that is being asked of the parents.
And as for the threatened recall...you are walking down a dangerous road if you think that anyone else can do that job as well as they are. Manuel Guzman has been at the helm and has led the district in many difficult situations always with respect and loyalty to Mabton schools. Every one of the board members I have had the joy of working with either as a parent of one of my students or as a board member that I was asking permission from to do a student activity. In every case they were concerned about the safety and education of the students and wanted information, never shunning the information!
Whatever the outcome in Mabton, I just wanted my students, parents, friends and colleagues to know that although I am not in Mabton, I left my heart there and my thoughts and prayers are with all of you. There will be a future in Mabton, I am just hoping that healing can be done and that Mabton can rebuild from this and be the school/community that I remember it to be; strong, committed and a place I called home.
/s/ Johanna Cochran-Davis, Kennewick