Monday, March 16, 2009

PINK SLIPS FOR ASSISTANT PRINCIPALS: Putting a name and a face and a school and 679 students on the bottom line

Pam Tronson writes at


Serrania Avenue Elementary School

A California Distinguished School
5014 Serrania Ave  Woodland Hills 91364 CA   (818) 340-6700  Fax: (818) 592-0565

Dear fellow elementary school parents,

This week, all of the Assistant Principals at elementary schools in the district were told that the AP position was being terminated and that the role would be replaced by a “Temporary Advisor” who would be assigned to service many different schools. 

In our specific case, Marcia Koff is an APEIS which means she has an advanced degree in Educational Leadership, has undergone hundreds of hours of additional training with district and has also been certified as a Tier II Administrator.  One of the key components of an APEIS is the coordination of the programs for kids with special needs, however, the truth is that Marcia handles the needs of each and every child, parent, teacher, staff and community member and we cannot afford to loose her.

Marcia Koff - Assistant Principal EIS, Serrania Elementary (LAUSD), Woodland Hills, CA  - I began my teaching career as a middle school and high school Social Studies teacher in New York and worked as an administrator in the same district on Long Island after completing the Administrative Credential program at NYU.  I spent five wonderful years living in Taipei, Taiwan where I went back to my educational roots and taught Business English to Taiwanese executives.  Two years ago I began my AP position at Serrania Elementary.  My preferred off work activities are international travel, collecting Asian antiques, cheering for my daughter’s UCLA crew team and enjoying my addiction to SODUKU. 

bio and photo from

Anyone who has a child with additional needs knows all about the countless hours that an APEIS spends helping each child to succeed.   This full time job will now be handled by someone whose job downtown has been cut, and who hasn’t actually worked with students and parents at a school site for quite some time.  Somehow, that one person will be expected to handle the work load of 3 full time positions. 

So if the school board feels that the APEIS’s spend only one third of their time working with their special needs programs, how are they going to cover the other two thirds of the work that an APEIS is responsible for? 

An APEIS provides teachers with data, instructional materials, emotional support and strategies for working with all students.  They spend countless hours with teachers, aids, parents and staff to help any of the students that are struggling and have the resources to direct them towards the appropriate interventions.  They provide discipline, counseling and emotional support to all the students.  They work one on one with kids who are dealing with crisis at home and find them appropriate outlets.  They are responsible for the Safety Plan, they do the scheduling and coordination for all programs and in our case, they frankly provide the glue that keeps the school together.

I believe that Serrania would suffer dearly if we were to loose Mrs. Koff.   Her wisdom, leadership and support of our school cannot be matched and it is a mistake of the school board to believe that her impact can be replaced by someone who will stop in a couple days a week to take care of the paperwork. 

On March 10th, Marlene Cantor and others will vote as to whether or not to accept this proposal.  If you agree with me that this would be a mistake, please contact Marlene and let her know how you feel.  The meeting is taking place at a time where the APs will not be able to attend to state their cases so the more support that they get from the parent body, the more chance we will have to prevent this proposal from going through.  We know budget cuts need to be made; however this proposal is financially ineffective and will be detrimental to our school community. 

Please pass this information on to any other parents you know who have elementary school children and encourage them to help to get the word out.  To find your LAUSD BOARD MEMBER..

Thanks for your support ,

Pam Tronson

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