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Board members welcome to visit Liberty High School

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Posted: Saturday, September 17, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:49 am, Sat Sep 17, 2011.

As a principal in the Lodi Unified School District, I want to thank our board members for making the time and effort to visit school sites in order to gain a better understanding of the variety of programs offered to students. Board members, including Mr. Abdallah, have been to Liberty High School to get to know our program and staff. I believe this is a benefit to our school and district.

When the board is considering a policy or other action impacting Liberty, I want to be assured they are knowledgeable about our program. The best way for this to happen is to visit the school. Mr. Abdallah has been very visible at Liberty. He has always acted in a professional and encouraging manner.

Our new board members were elected because this community wants those who are making decisions about our children's education to be hands-on and familiar with what is actually happening in our schools. I appreciate Mr. Abdallah's visits to the sites. They assure me his leadership is not blinded by hearsay, but driven by a desire to understand based on a genuine concern to do what's right for our district, students and employees.

I believe I can speak on behalf of the staff at Liberty to say Mr. Abdallah, and all board members, are welcome to drop in unannounced at any time, and ask any questions about what we do. Liberty has an incredible staff that provides an outstanding educational program. We want our board members to know all about it.

Tami Somera


Liberty High School

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Jay Samone posted at 12:53 pm on Mon, Sep 19, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    Joanne - I'm glad you touched on the "warehousing teachers" aspect of this. I wanted to comment to that extent, but I refrained from relating this school to my experience working for the state. It seems to me that IHS is a place for those tenured teachers who LUSD can't fire to sit around and collect a check until they retire. Definitely a system that needs to be revamped.........

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 11:43 am on Mon, Sep 19, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Well said, Mr. Baumbach and Ms. Samone.

    As the spouse of a retired teacher, lower-level district administrator, vice-principal, principal, and district director, I am well aware of the many challenges presented by being on either side of the aisle. However, one thing has been consistent - the ability to recognize a system that is broken, ineffective, and/or personnel who are either the same or beyond their expiration dates.

    Independence HS is one of those programs that overlap other more effective programs and from my personal experience, the "teachers" who inhabit that school, who may have been effective at some point in their careers, are being warehoused until retirement age, just as the students are being warehoused until their graduation dates.

  • Gary Musto posted at 11:43 am on Mon, Sep 19, 2011.

    Gary Musto Posts: 506

    Good post Joanne Bobin, Sept. 18th. I was also wondering if K Lee was a complete name, is K short for Ken or Kathy???? K Lee usually posts in disagreement with one or two people, no problem there, but is he or she following the LNS rules like you state???

  • Jay Samone posted at 8:47 am on Mon, Sep 19, 2011.

    Jay Samone Posts: 359

    M Williams "but because of the sensitive nature of the issue, I am not in a position to fully identify myself. " Uh no - You don't get a "pass" just because you think you're something special. EVERYONE that posts here takes a risk and if you think this is so "sensitive" then maybe you shouldn't be posting about it. I cannot believe the utter arrogance you display - and if you're a teacher - learn a few grammar skils. Joanne's correction of neigh/nay - warranted.

    Secondly - to your comments about Ms. Somera being inappropriate - not quite. I see absolutely NO comments about your school (you know you work there OR you're the Principal...lol), no disparaging remarks about anybody involved, etc, so get over it. I think this letter was highly appropriate, well written and should stand for ALL schools in the area. Clearly Independance High has staffing issues that require visits from Trustees, or this wouldn't have even hit the papers.

    I think the LNS SHOULD revoke your posting priviledges - AND K Lee as well - there is no reason anyone should be allowed to circumvent the "rules" - even IF your situation is too "sensitive"........

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:14 pm on Sun, Sep 18, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    M Williams stated...but in this situation, she was inappropriate.

    Amazing... I only hope more principals and people in educational positions write similar letters. There has been so much animosity between teachers and the school board in past years, it is appreciated when people like Tami Somera do the responsible thing as she did.

  • Michael Williams posted at 4:23 pm on Sun, Sep 18, 2011.

    kmrwilliams Posts: 3

    Ms. Bobbin,

    Although I appreciate your correction of my misspelling of the word neigh/nay, the issue should not be something as trivial as such. I have no intentions of commenting and disappearing as you are concerned about, but because of the sensitive nature of the issue, I am not in a position to fully identify myself. That does not take away from the information I posses.

    Yes, Somera has been an administrator, it is VERY different to be a principal. I
    think overall she is a nice person and a competent principal, but in this situation, she was inappropriate.

    IS and Liberty share an alley and a bathroom. Nothing more. Somera has only come to IS once to speak to the principal. She has no other interaction with staff or students other than a passing "hello". If she had concerns to be voiced, that would be fine. There are channels. Under no circumstances should the principal of one school comment on another school in a public forum. Especially if the principal of commented school has not spoken out. Don't you think there's a reason for her silence?

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 10:45 am on Sun, Sep 18, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    My first question is for the LNS, which seems to be allowing an increasing number of commentors to register using only an initial, rather than their "full first name" as the above Rule #1 states.

    The reason I take issue with this is that there appears to be a pattern with these individuals. They are appearing more and more frequently, make one comment, and then are never heard from again.

    As for Ms./Mr. Williams comments regarding Principal Somera's letter, IHS is housed on the Liberty HS site, so I am sure that she has at least peripheral interaction with IHS teachers and students. She has been an administrator with LUSD for over a decade and, I am sure, is well aware of the protocols regarding visits from board members and is well qualified to comment.

    Perhaps Ms. Somera has made some observations and has concerns that need to be voiced.

    And unless you are a horse, the correct spelling would be "nay," not "neigh."

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:59 am on Sun, Sep 18, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    M Williams stated... That is grossly incorrect. Students asked who the "rude man" was after Abdallah left the classroom he interrupted.

    Oh... because one or two students perceived Mr. Abdallah to be rude... that means it was real? It is more likely that the students were reflecting what they felt in observing the body language of the teachers who they watch closely. We know the teachers were irate over what they perceived... no doubt the students picked up on what the teachers were feeling and projecting. Again, had the teachers invited Mr. Abdallah back to clear the air and work as a team, maybe Mr Abdullah's concerns could have been addressed appropriately.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:45 am on Sun, Sep 18, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    M Williams stated...You are assuming the staff of Independence doesn't have the interests of the students in mind...

    I cannot speak for the principal, but from my perspective, the second the union was prematurely contacted as a possible solution to the problem to teacher's “PERCEIVED”, it established a wedge between the school and the trustee, which is not in the best interest of the student. Unannounced surprise visits should be frequent. It is not an interruption or inappropriate for the public's representative (Abdallah) to go into any classroom even without coordination of the principal. Abdallah did not create a difficult and awkward situation for both students and staff. The staff created the problem by having an attitude instead of considering the welfare of the students would have been better served by improving the relationship with the elected board instead of attempting to strong arm the board by involving the union. The union represents the teachers... not the students or the parents... the trustees do.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:18 am on Sun, Sep 18, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    M Williams posted at 10:29 pm on Sat, Sep 17, 2011... Why is the principal of a different school weighing in on something they know NOTHING about?

    How unfortunate that M Williams perceived this letter is only about Independence High... this letter is a welcome response to the controversy inappropriately exasperated by the teachers at Independence High. The teachers at Independence High School interpreted this trustee as being rude and threatening. That does not mean it is reality. In my opinion, the teachers should have spoken directly to Abdallah and requested a direct meeting to clear the air. There was no reason to go behind his back and complain to the union making this political. This letter is welcome as it clears the air to Lodi voters as to what the relationship between the schools and the school board should be.

  • Michael Williams posted at 10:29 pm on Sat, Sep 17, 2011.

    kmrwilliams Posts: 3

    Why is the principal of a different school weighing in on something they know NOTHING about? The issue was not whether or not Abdallah was welcome at the school -- it was how he approached the situation. Nobody has the right to interrupt classes, be rude and disrespectful, and threaten the jobs of staff members. You are assuming the staff of Independence doesn't have the interests of the students in mind. That is grossly incorrect. Students asked who the "rude man" was after Abdallah left the classroom he interrupted. It is the job, neigh, the responsibility of the caring staff at IS to ensure the students are comfortable and safe in their learning environment. By coming to classrooms unannounced and WITHOUT checking in with the principal, Abdallah created a difficult and awkward situation for both students and staff. That is not ok.

    Your letter here is an insult to those teachers and you ought to be ashamed. Maybe you don't know how these things are supposed to be handled since you have held your position of principal for barely a month, but everybody deserves respect.

  • Sally Keszler posted at 5:34 pm on Sat, Sep 17, 2011.

    Sally Keszler Posts: 29

    Darrell, I agree. Great letter ! I also would like to say "Thank you" to the trustees who do take the time to visit LUSD campuses.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:31 am on Sat, Sep 17, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    .Great letter considering what happened at Independent High. A standing ovation for this principal who obviously has the best interests of her students and teachers at heart


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