Teachers Resume Writing Letters of Recommendations

November 3, 2017

After weeks of negotiations between teachers and district officials, teachers agreed to write letters for students again on September 26, one day before a tentative agreement was reached between the district and PVFA.

Before that happened, students did not know how letters of recommendations were going to be written, which caused frustration and anxiety.

Many seniors believe that teachers at PVHS deserve to have their hard work and dedication reflected in their paychecks and that they should be respected and treated fairly by the district. However, some students voiced their belief that the district and teachers should have kept students off the bargaining table.

Senior Keaton Heise believed putting letters of recs in the picture “puts students in the crossfire. We [were] being punished for a dispute for which we have no involvement with.”

In addition, senior Heather Robinson said, “I think that the salary negotiations between the teachers and district [got] completely out of hand…for the situation to have escalated to where it is now is ridiculous. Our teachers are underpaid and should not be undervalued by our district. This issue should have been addressed years ago.”

In hopes to lessen the anxiety senior students and their parents were feeling, the district offered to have district and site administrators write letters of recommendation. On Saturday, September 23, the district hosted interviews from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their Malaga Cove offices.

As students arrived for their interviews, they were welcomed by volunteer parents at a sign up table. After, students were directed to a room with computers where an administrator made sure that students’ Naviance and Common App accounts were accurate and up to date. Then students had to wait for their names to be called for their interview.

The district provided food, drinks, and games to help students pass the time. Wait times ranged from 15 minutes to 1 hour depending throughout the day.

After waiting, students met up with administrators for 5 to 15 minutes each.

Many students felt that this was not ideal because the interviewers did not know either the students personally or as deeply as their teachers do.

Nonetheless, the interview slots were quickly filled.

“This is not the best option for students because it doesn’t reflect the growth of the certain student,” senior Kaori Shimizu said.

Students felt like the letters would not genuinely reflect their high school career and be sufficient for college admissions.

Robinson said, “For the district to offer to write our letters is utterly insulting and naïve, and deems four plus years of work irrelevant and something which can seemingly be replaced by a thirty-minute interview with a stranger.”  

Even with these interviews with district and site administrators, students questioned how valid these letters of recommendations were. Fortunately, students do not have to worry about the legitimacy of these letters of recommendations anymore because the teachers are now writing them.


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