Contact: Mike Myslinski, CTA, 408-921-5769; Woodside High Teacher Gregory Gruszynski, 415-264-1798 (cell).
In a public show of support for teachers at a San Mateo County school slighted in the flawed “Waiting for Superman” documentary that offers an incomplete picture of public schools, parents at Woodside High School this week put up a huge banner on a fence in front of the high-achieving campus that praises educators.
The defiant banner reads: “Woodside High School Teachers – Man, You’re Super! Thank you for teaching ALL the students in our community!” It’s prominent and hard to miss by drivers on Woodside Road who pass by the campus, home of the Wildcats, at 199 Churchhill Ave., in Woodside.
Woodside High parent Anne Kopf-Sill organized the push for donations for the banner (designed by parent Amber Ramies) over her concerns with all the negative national publicity for Woodside from the emotional film, which tells the stories of a handful of students’ journeys to get into charter schools that use a lottery system to pick students. One of the students fights to avoid Woodside High and ends up in a nearby charter.
Kopf-Sill is not criticizing charters, just the way the film slights the diverse school her two sons attend, and how it fails to stress that public schools accept all students. “I wanted to do something,” she said of her need to respond in a public way. “My children have great teachers at Woodside.”
She joined other parents this week in pushing a coffee cart through the halls of the school, providing free java for educators as a show of gratitude. The banner and the coffee were much appreciated, said Woodside High teacher Gregory Gruszynski, who is also president of the teachers’ union, the Sequoia District Teachers Association, representing educators in the Sequoia Union High School District. “Teachers really appreciated the message,” he said of the banner. “I think every teacher here is very proud to be teaching at this school.”
The new October issue of the CTA California Educator magazine explores how the film is a symptom of a teacher-bashing trend in the nation. Read the stories, and an interview with the film’s creator, Davis Guggenheim, at www.cta.org. Woodside High Principal David Reilly also expresses concerns about the misrepresentations in the movie in this op-ed published Wednesday in the San Mateo Daily Journal: The truth about Woodside High
The 325,000-member CTA is affiliated with the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.