The Coast News Group

R. Roger Rowe teachers’ plea to board

RANCHO SANTA FE — During the public comment portion of the monthly R. Roger Rowe school board meeting, teachers passionately asked the board of trustees to reconsider a policy amendment so that their children could be R. Roger Rowe students.

The Rancho Santa Fe Faculty Association is negotiating with the district to reverse an amendment made to Board Policy 4111, which now marginalizes student attendance in this category. Last year, teachers whose children were already enrolled (as well as their siblings) could remain students at R. Roger Rowe. However, the amendment precludes any children of teachers who are new and not currently registered.

Rowe middle school teacher and drama instructor, Heidi Moreno, was the first to make her plea.

“This is a unique community of invested administrators, teachers and parents who work tirelessly to bring out the best in each of our students,” she said.

Moreno knew after her job interview at R. Roger Rowe that she wanted to be part of the dynamic community. Now, she wants her daughter to be part of it, too, when she starts kindergarten next year. If that were to happen, Moreno knows how she and her husband would be more invested in R. Roger Rowe as parents.

Moreno said if her daughter attended the school, it would allow her to stay on campus longer and the opportunity to place additional effort into the curriculum. A large part of the school curricula, she said, was about their visual performing arts program.

“If our daughter is able to be walked over to the Community Center after school, right next door to my work, that means that I’m able to put more time and effort into our theater program, special assemblies and events that occur throughout the year,” Moreno said. “As many of you also may know, I really love being here.”

Middle school teacher Kristen Gerding spoke to the board next. Her children would be starting kindergarten in the years ahead, and she wanted them with her at R. Roger Rowe.

While Gerding had many memories at the school, a standout for her was an annual tradition since they reconfigured the district. The memory also included former Superintendent Lindy Delaney.

“Every June at both the fifth-grade promotion and eighth-grade promotion, Lindy Delaney would invite the teacher who just happened to be the graduate’s mom or dad to come up on the stage and hand his or her son or daughter their promotion certificate,” she said. “The exchange is always preceded by an emotional hug not just between child and parents but also between the superintendent and teacher.”

Gerding said that it wasn’t until she became a parent four years ago that this moment brought tears to her eyes year after year. Since becoming a mother, Gerding pointed out that she always envisioned her children spending nine years of their childhood at R. Roger Rowe.

“I’ve seen how strong the RSF community bond is between some of my colleagues whose children are currently attending our school,” she said.

Gerding described her plea to the board as a truly life-changing decision.

“I love being a teacher at this school and facilitating student growth,” she said.

Gerding told the board she was wholeheartedly committed to being involved in her children’s educational experiences.

“I can only hope and pray that I’ll get to hand my son and my daughter with a fifth-grade promotion certificate … ,” she said.