Monday, May 16, 2005 | Gompers Charter now hiring teachers, May 20 deadline

“Gompers deserves people who believe in the students and will do whatever it takes for them to succeed,” said Vince Riveroll, former Gompers principal who is involved in establishing the charter. “Hiring the very best teachers is critical to student achievement.”

Teachers interested in working at Gompers, which serves students in grades 7-9, can visit the school’s recruitment Web site for more information. Riveroll stressed that there is a May 20 deadline for any SDUSD certificated employee to work at GCMS, should they want “on-loan” status, which he said offers numerous benefits.

Organizers of the charter – who include Riveroll, UCSD Thurgood Marshall College Provost Cecil Lytle, and UCSD professor Bud Mehan – call involvement with the school “both an honor and a challenge.” In this first year of Gompers Charter, they plan to build a staff that can accelerate the curriculum to bring students, many of whom are one to three years below grade level in reading, writing and math, up to grade level, through a standards-based, college-preparatory curriculum that will “ensure that all students will meet the requirements to enter the UC system or college of their choice.”

Their letter to teachers reads in part, “For over 30 years, a persistent achievement gap has existed for Gompers students, leading to thousands of middle school students entering high school without the necessary skills to succeed. In the first year of the charter, you will be part of a historic effort that will bridge the gap and make preparation for college a reality for all students.”

With support for teachers and students from UCSD, GCMS organizers hope to level the playing field for these urban students and prove that children from low-performing schools can succeed if given the same resources wealthier communities offer their schools.

“You have probably encountered people who make excuses for why ‘poor students can’t achieve,’” they wrote in their recruitment letter. “And most likely, you’ve known some people that do not truly believe that urban students can compete academically with their wealthier suburban peers. If you are tired of these excuses and want to work in a school where all your colleagues share your professionalism and passion for making a difference, then become a teacher at GCMS.”

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To select the teachers, the San Diego Education Association held nominations and conducted secret ballots at each school site to identify site teachers of the year. These winners then submitted an application, an essay about their teaching, and up to five letters of recommendation. A selection committee of six former teachers of the year screened applications, conducted interviews and visited finalists’ classrooms.

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– MARSHA SUTTON, Voice Education Writer

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