Those who attended the contentious Prairie Grove District 46 School Board meeting Tuesday were privileged to hear a heartfelt plea from the junior high school’s technology teacher-coordinator, Tom Bieschke.
After three years of teaching at Prairie Grove he had been sacked after three years at the school and could not understand why.
His performance evaluations had not indicated any “remediation,” that is, specific improvements in his performance, was needed.
All of a sudden, he was just let go.
Mr. Bieschke seemed to me of an age when he might have had entered teaching as a second profession.
For me, this capsulated his dedication to his students:
He talked of Club PGN. I think I have figured out that this is the student newspaper.
He said the club went from 2 to 80 students.
“Last year there were 4 newspapers,” he said.
There were over 20 this year, he revealed.
That sounds like a labor of love to me.
Using a quite understated manner, he introduced himself to the board during the public speaking time.
“I’ve been kind of taken back in the news that the administration does not want to rehire me,” he explained.
“I don’t understand why.”
He explained that his “evaluation in December seemed very good. No problems.”
He went on to say that when he had received what I think was a subsequent evaluation, “…there were some things in there I had no idea about.
“Evaluations should be tools of growth,” he continued.
“Each year I’ve taught here I’ve redesigned the curriculum to keep up with the new technology.”
Then he told about the student participation growth for the student newspaper.
Apparently, Bieschke’s job includes helping other teachers cope with computers.
“In any instance when a teacher needs assistance, I immediate give it,” he explained.
“When it’s abruptly thrown upon me I ask (unfortunately, I did not get the rest of his sentence).
“Please provide me with another year of teaching,” he concluded humbly.
One member of the audience, Pat Greenwald, spoke after the tech teacher.
“I come from a family of teachers. I know exactly what this man has gone through,” she said.
“We, as taxpayers also haven’t been given a fair chance,” she continued.
“I now know what the teachers go through.
“Pontius Pilot did that and that’s not cool.”
I thought, “Whoa”, that’s a heavy charge.
“We’re fighting for our children for the best.
“He’s begging you for his job.
“You better look in the mirror.
“Maybe you guys should be seeking another job, not this gentleman.”
No one on the board made any comment.
= = = = =
You can enlarge any picture by clicking on it. Board members shown in the group shot are left to right, Stephen Todd, Dale Burnidge, Karen Bowman and Charlotte Kremer. Bea Greenwald is the woman under the group shot. Head shots show Laura Domoto on the left and Heidi Jessup on the right. None were taken while Bieschke was addressing the board.