Anonymous Letter Campaign

Teaching in JCPS Left Me Drained and Empty

Dear JCPS,

I wanted to start by saying thank you for being my first teaching position and starting my career five years ago.  Over my five years of teaching in the district I have had the opportunity to work with some phenomenal teachers, students, and parents.  I was fortunate to call XXXXXX High School my home for the last five years.  Daily I worked with students and teachers that worked under adverse conditions to earn their education.  Teachers that worked long hours, students that often stayed after school, and a building that worked to create a caring environment for our students.  We have some of the hardest working teachers in the district.  I was fortunate to work under XXXXXXX during my time at XXXXXX and work with some exceptional teachers and mentors.  I would more than likely still be at XXXXXXX and a resident of Louisville, but over the last two years the education and work environment of JCPS has left me drained and empty.

It was not the students or hard work that left me empty, but the policies and decisions being made that affected my job every day.  We have implemented poorly developed strategies and processes because they touch on the buzz words for good education.  Many of the students in our district are working hard to earn their high school diploma, but we have many students that see through the facade for what JCPS really is doing.  We implemented Standards Based grading with no plan because this was going to make students work harder.  In reality it was your teachers that worked harder to provide multiple attempts for students that knew that they could no longer fail your course.  We implemented PBIS without training the teachers or staff thoroughly because the suspension rate needed to change.  As a result of this poorly implemented program the students have gained control in many of your schools and classrooms.  As a result a few students affect the education of the entire population because there are no longer consequences for their actions.  We continue to test students with CASCADE, when the assessments are not being given with fidelity or are in the best interest of the students.

In addition to poorly planned processes, the district has consolidated and promoted administrators and support staff that put their own best interests in front of the students.  Several programs designed to help the students at XXXXXX High School have been indefinitely placed on hold or scrapped completely because of poor district leadership.  We have had to jump through hoops to implement research based reading intervention programs during which time it is the students that suffer.  We have had to cancel the development of satellite computer centers for our kids, when the computers have already been donated.TypewriterDJHeader

At the end of five years with JCPS, I made the decision to leave my home.  I left because I could no longer go into this job every day because I felt that we were no longer providing an effective education for our students.  I still love teaching and I have sent this letter and continue to support the teachers at XXXXXX High School and their initiatives from the other side of the world.  I implore the district to change the direction in which it is heading.  The students cannot be helped by poorly implemented decisions and keeping the public in the dark.  We need as educators the support of the parents and our communities.  We need administrators that are invested in the success of each school.  We need to work together to look at the students and data available and make educated decisions with the teachers, parents, and community members working together.


Concerned Teacher

Anonymous Letter Campaign

Why I Just Resigned from JCPS

Dear JCPS,

When the idea for writing letters was first brought up, I thought I had so many things to write about it, how could it possibly be written down in one letter. As I sat down to write it however, I realized it all boils down to a few major issues. Forgive me for being a bit scatterbrained in my writing, it’s hard to be cohesive when you are grief stricken with anger. I recently resigned from teaching, and it was only for my mental health and for my family. I am so angry I had to leave my kids mid year but it was for my kid and my health, and it hurts that it came to that because of mismanagement in this district.

  1. JCPS does not listen, or ask for viewpoints on the ground. The number of times I have had decisions made for me as a teacher, are too many too count. I recently resigned because I was tired of being ordered around, despite having a Master’s degree and 10 years of experience. Sure, you send out a survey, but does anyone actually listen to what we have to say?
  2. When I tell people that I recently resigned, people outside of the district like to blame the middle school kids, or the board, or testing, or busing, or all of the other things they hear from the news, their kids, or just assume for local political talks. What they leave out is that it is NEVER the kids that are the problem. Any real teacher will tell you that kids are pretty predictable. When they are overworked on boring tests, told they are behind despite doing their best, and given homework to do that they have no idea how to do, of course they are going to act up in class.
  3. Be willing to make the news for the good stuff, and set precedent. Nowhere else in the country is having kids who are not ready for the first grade repeat kindergarten. We know when we pass kids along this makes kids start a gap that gradually gets wider. Why not make kindergarten a 2 year plan if needed.
  4. Realize that you are playing a game of telephone with new initiatives. If I attend a conference on PBIS led by the book writers, and then come back and lead a district week long institute, which gets watered down into a 3 hour pd at a school level, and then a 1 hour makeup at a faculty meeting, the meaning has been lost. When a new teacher comes to the building and never get the training, all that gets passed down is, “Don’t suspend kids, don’t let kids miss class, and talk to them more.” What often gets left out is that a positive school culture requires kids to like school, that wraparound services are necessary, that teachers need time to give frequent feedback, and smaller class sizes are necessary to help kids not have as much peer conflict get in the way of their education. You can’t partially do things, and expect them to work in large district.
  5. Realize that the ONLY reason some of the schools are being successful is in SPITE of the district getting in the way. My first year of teaching was in the Jefferson County Virtual School (Now Phoenix School). We were set up to fail, with over half of the staff being brand new, and no materials for the first couple of weeks. We succeeded in part because we had small ratios, and in large part because we were determined. Imagine how successful you could be if you got out of the way?
  6. It used to be that teachers were expected to resign once married or had kids. When I had my child, it felt like that was still the expectation. Once having her, I could no longer stay at school until 6, and go home and do more. I started working until 4:30, and then working after I put her to bed. I started going to school at 6am so I could still get everything done, which meant waking up at 4 after having gone to bed at 11. You cannot have teachers working this hard, only to then be told that we are doing it wrong. I gladly worked hard when I believed in what I was doing, when my kids were thankful, when lessons could be fun, and I could be flexible with how I taught. When I stopped being able to do speeches for 2 weeks, take a walk outside when my kids needed it, and have the kids teach class sometimes so I could catch up (while offering feedback to them), my hands were tied.
    1. Look at who wins the Excel award, or school accolades, or other awards; young teachers who are lauded for spending all of their waking hours and money on school. I am so tired of the teacher as a martyr narrative. I was a professional, treated like a child by my superiors, with pats on the head for my successes.
  7. On the over testing Common Core standards are END OF THE YEAR STANDARDS.
    Why was I expected to get my kids to proficiency immediately? I could have gotten my kids to succeed if I was given the support that I needed, and left alone to get the job done.

    1. You cannot tell me what to do, and how to do it, and then get agitated that I don’t get the results that you want.
  8. Why are we expecting all teachers to teach the same, and all students to perform the same? I HATED teaching using some of the methods that were considered best practice, and it showed in my teaching because my heart was not in it. Does that make me a bad teacher according to the new evaluation methods it does.

I don’t know what to say. This letter is awful, and my writing is awful, and my attitude is awful. I don’t know what to say that would magically make you start listening or take our concerns seriously. I was a damn good teacher with good instincts, care for kids, intelligence, fantastic work ethic and an excellent role model for how education can bring you out of bad situations.

This district ruined me as a person, and I am going to take a while to recover to see if I can do something else to contribute to our community’s children. I am scared for our children, and I am mad that a whole generation of kids have missed out on an education because too many of you are treating the board like a business, instead of seeing the kids as individual children who need support.

Anonymous Letter Campaign

Bullying is a Serious Problem in JCPS

Dear JCPS,TypewriterDJHeader

My name is R and my son attended XXXXXX Middle for his 6th and 7th grade years in the XXXX program.   6th grade was fine but 7th grade was absolutely the worst.  When I discovered that my son was being bullied, I immediately contacted the school in which the assistant 7th grade principal attempted to resolve the issue. The bullying continued for my son and a friend of his. After a few reports, the asst principal had attitude with me and tried to say that all other incidents were irrelevant and I should let them go.   At that point I went to the principal, Mrs XXXXX, who at first made me feel like she was going to resolve the issues.   Needless to say, issues continued daily with these bullies and Mrs XXXXX would do was remove the child from the gym class for a day.  I escalated above Mrs XXXXX and began including Mrs XXXXX on all emails and Donna Hargens in hopes that someone would see what was going on and jump in.    At that time, Mrs XXXXX requested that the JCPS bullying specialist team meet with my son and others at the school and get to the bottom of it

The team met with my son and in the end, they offered to transfer my son, the victim of 5 bullies, to a “special” school. As the lady said, for kids like him.   As a parent, this ticked me off even more as my child was the victim and JCPS was quick to try to shove him to a new school and shove me and my voice under the rug.   I refused to accept a transfer to the “special” school.   

My son continued to be scared to go to school, go to Mrs XXXXX personally to report issues and still, nothing was being done.  It got to the point to where I was emailing everyone above on a daily basis and demanded security in the gym class.   Both Mrs XXXXX and Mrs XXXXXX continued to tell me lies on what they were doing to try to shut me up when it would quickly come out that they didn’t do what they said they would do.   

I requested they allow my son to complete school from home with me picking up his work and Mrs XXXXX approved. The next week, Mrs XXXXX said they couldn’t approve that and that Mrs XXXXX was in the wrong for saying she would.  Funny because I had the email that XXXXX approved it herself.   I had my son do kprep testing in Mrs XXXXX office and I would pick him up when completed, for his safety.   When I met with Mrs XXXXX and Mrs XXXXX about my son missing the rest of the year if they couldn’t allow him to work from an office, they both immediately threatened me with a truancy.  So not only was my child bullied by the students but him and I were bullied by the principal and asst superintendent.  I ended up taking my son to his counselor and she wrote a letter advising that for his safety, he was to finish the school year, last week, from home .   They both knew that if my child was in school that last week, he would have gotten seriously hurt by these punks.

I escalated above Mrs XXXXXX and her email to her boss indicated that she can’t seem to do anything to please me and asked her boss to contact me.  This was around the beginning of June.  Today is December 2nd and I have yet to hear from her boss.  

I applied for a transfer immediately for this year to only be denied.  So I was left with homeschooling my child for this year.   Amazing how a child can be bullied by 5 students and JCPS refuses to allow the kid to move to another school.   It’s like they all wanted my child to get hurt.   

Because XXXXXX and JCPS refused to do anything, I met with the school officer who then met with my child to review what happened.  The officer contacted me and said he was filing a police report on the 5 students and filing charges for harassment, menacing and terroristic threatening to the 2nd degree.   

My son and I have been through hell and I cried every day because of what my son was going through and knowing that the principal told him over and over that she was there to protect him when all she did was put him out there to get hurt more.   My son lives in fear every where he goes, thanks to you.  He deals with anxiety now, thanks to you.  

I shouldn’t of had to file charges against the students and put my son through this nightmare all over again because Mrs XXXXX, Mrs XXXXX, the bullying specialist team, Donna Hargens and JCPS sat back and shoved us under the rug.  You should know that even the judge in our court cases asked why the hell JCPS didn’t handle this situation.  

Shame on all of you. Let’s put you or your children in a room and bully you daily for 8 months over and over again.  See how you feel about it.  Thank you for showing me that JCPS SUPPORTS BULLYING.   You have opened my eyes to how you fail to handle everything.  

Following the story about Noe’s lawsuit, we received this additional letter:

I am so glad I didn’t accept the transfer to Noe and kept him home schooled for the year.  If my son had gotten bullied again, I see it wouldn’t have been any different there than at XXXXXXX.  And it shows that JCPS policies in handling a bullying situation aren’t there.   This has to be stopped.  JCPS is showing that they care more about the bullies than the victims.  I’m glad that mother had a lawsuit and I’m glad I filed charges last year on the 5 bullies.  With my cases, the judges have seen that those boys have issues and they are getting the help they need.  Sad thing is, none of their parents cared enough to see they were troubled.   It took me filing the charges.  

It sickens me every day when I see a facebook feed of another issue in another JCPS school.

How do we get the board to see they aren’t allowing their schools to handle these issues properly?   Their bullying specialist team is a joke.  Not sure why they even have one as you saw in my email that they didn’t want to do anything at XXXXX but to remove my son.

I’m still extremely bothered by how we were treated by admin staff and lack of response from Hargens and her folks.  I’m still waiting for Mrs XXXXX boss to contact me from her email in June escalating to him.   What does that show you?

I have another story about when my son received a death threat in 5th grade.  That principal, Dr XXXX was going to allow the child back in school after writing he would kill my son and a girl friend of his.   I had to escalate up to XXXXX who was director of student relations at the time and he expelled the child that day.

Let me know if you need any more information.  I want to help put a stop to this.  I shouldn’t have to pay to homeschool my child because of them.  I thought about filing a suit months ago against JCPS and make them pay to put my son in a private school but never did.  My daughter is in 5th grade and I’ve already said, if we can’t get into the XXXXX for both of my kids, then I’m moving to NOT be in JCPS school district.  

Thank you,



(The identifying information has been removed from this post. However, Dear JCPS has this information and board members are welcome and encouraged to contact their Dear JCPS Liaison to investigate these matters further in order to pursue resolution.)

Anonymous Letter Campaign

Referrals Vs. Data

Dear Board of JCPS,

Listening to the Board meeting on Mon. Dec. 14, I have only 1 topic I wish to discuss. The ‘data’ mentioned is not an example of what goes on in the schools. I have worked at 3 schools over the past 20+ yrs. and have written many referrals. They all concern behaviors that were included in the Student Code of Behavior. But, only half were actually completed by the Assistant Principal. Sometimes, the student said I and the students that observed the behavior were ‘lying’ on him and since he did not admit to the offense, the referral was torn up. Another frequently used reason to not complete the referral process was that I was told “next time the student repeats this behavior, write a referral and we’ll do something”. It may have been a fight, smoking a cigarette in the classroom, stealing another student’s belongings, using vulgar or threatening vocabulary, or many other behaviors.I and many of my fellow teachers starting not even writing referrals. The students knew that most of the time, their parents weren’t even called. “No big deal” They would say.

So, when the issue of “DATA” was discussed, I rolled my eyes and said to myself:

“Data can be used to show whatever you want it to show.”

Yours truly,

A teacher who has a great team that backs her up. and tries to stay away from The JCPS offices and my school’s Principal, Assistant-Prin., Counselors etc.

Anonymous Letter Campaign

Letter from Student

Dear JCPS,

My name’s XXXXX and I am a senior at XXXXXXXX high school. Recently, I was assaulted by another student over a bus seat. And I know jcps doesn’t necessarily control the busing, but the student is getting by with it. The assault happened on the bus and there’s a video that XXXXXX’s busing lady has seen. The girl was suspended, but this morning I was told that I have to move out of my seat when she comes back and give it to her. The only reason I sit in this seat is because of the heater that’s right next to it. I have a physical brain disorder called chiari malformation. And other medical problems and I get cold more easily than others. We don’t have assigned seats, it’s not like i was in HER seat. I’ve been sitting there all year, and she tried to take it from me one day and I refused to move. I just feel that it isn’t fair that she gets to assault me, take the seat that I’ve sat in EVERY morning since the first day of school, and get by with all this. No one is taking me seriously. I have other issues with JCPS too. But this one is putting me in danger and no one is taking me seriously.


Thank you,

Anonymous Letter Campaign

Letter from Teacher

Dear JCPS,

This is my 7th year teaching, and it might be my last.

I have taught at both an alternative school and at one of the top-performing schools in the state.  I always work with the most challenging kids, and I love them.  I love their spirited energy, their directness, their good days and their bad days.  I feel called to them, and I care about them.

In spite of my best efforts, there are always a handful of students I cannot reach.  After trying every technique in my tool box, they remain unmotivated and disruptive.  Some of them are outright hostile.

With the district’s new approach to student misbehavior, I find myself teaching in an increasingly unproductive environment where a small number of students routinely disobey rules, are openly disrespectful to staff, and continue to disrupt class on a daily basis.  There are virtually no consequences for their behavior.   

Recently, I had a student tell me to get the fuck out of his face.  According to the district’s new behavior policy (Positive Behavioral Intervention & Support), I should have had a positive conversation with this student about WHY he wants me to get the fuck out of his face.  This way I can understand the motivation behind his behavior and better address his needs.  Because I had a class to teach and couldn’t take time out to host a therapy session, I called security.  He was removed for the remainder of the class period, but there was no other consequence.

On a daily basis, I am verbally assaulted for one reason or another.  Asking a student to put a cell phone away, move seats, or stop talking often results in backlash.  I do my best to handle the situation in a non-emotional, business-like manner.  I try to keep the atmosphere focused on learning but most days it feels impossible.

Every single day in my building, there are egregious acts of student misconduct going unchecked.  Teachers are losing hope that things will ever get better, and we are tired.  We are expected to be therapists, social workers, substitute parents, punching bags, and outlets for student rage and verbal abuse.  Teaching is only a small percentage of what we do anymore.

In an effort to reach the bottom 5% of students, we are sacrificing the education of an entire generation of students.  There needs to be a place for students to go who can’t (or won’t) exist in a traditional classroom without ruining the learning environment.  Not only are we allowing them to continue a path of self-destruction, but we are robbing other students of their right to a proper education.

Parents need to talk to their children, spend time in school buildings, and realize what is really going on.  Those in positions of power need to stop imposing social experiments on schools, teachers and students.  Teachers need to speak publicly about what is happening.  If something doesn’t change soon, there won’t be anybody left who wants to teach our youth.  Nobody can endure what we are being asked to endure indefinitely.  

Thank you