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Facebook contributors show support for Messick
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RIPON - Ripon High music and performing arts teacher Terri Messick who is currently under fire for not having taken specific courses as directed by her school board has drawn considerable support on a Facebook page.

The page had more than 750 hits on the Facebook page “Save Mrs. Messick” in reference to her administrative law hearing with at least two school principals formerly from Ripon, students and an attorney standing up on her behalf.

Ron Handel, who served as her vice principal for six years, said he has been a principal for 10 years, getting his CLAD about five years ago.  He was principal at Ripon High for five years and then went on to a middle school.  Handel added that in his tenure at Ripon High he never once had to pull and English Learner from one of her classes.

His middle school  had over 90 percent English Learning students.

“In that middle school the focus was not at all on CLAD but rather on implementing instructional strategies – we used Rober Marsoon.”

Another former Riponite who is now a principal in Southern California writes, “This makes me mad where it was said that she is ‘unfit to be a teacher’ – most people don’t know what teachers do to get a CLAD certificate.”

“Actually it does not insure that you will be able to meet the needs of English Learners.  Teachers can get it by listening to an audio tape, watching a video, and by taking a class in college or at the district.  I watched my teachers just get it (CLAD) to just get it over with because they have not found it useful.  The craziest thing is that there is never a follow up in the classroom to see if the certificate makes a real difference.  

She continued saying that as the principal of a school where one third of the school is made up of English Learners it has not made a difference.  “Instead the training on our site – not CLAD but practical teaching strategies offered by my teachers-has been excellent.  In a budget-cutting time why doesn’t the district really try to dismiss unfit teachers – one that arrive after the students arrive and who run them over on the way out, never call a parent back, teach sitting from their desks, never return homework or tests, until the end of the quarters, with kids having no chance of knowing their real grade.  

She stressed that if education is going to have standards for teachers, let’s have real standards, not a piece of paper (CLAD).

“Obviously Terri has countless stories here and others untold about her fitness of being a great teacher with standards while still differentiating for all learners and working with parents.  I would love to have her teach in my school, but unfortunately I am in Southern California,” she said.  

“The community should be outraged that the state has picked this teacher, your school and your district to be the scapegoat for the bigger problem.  Mrs. Messick is the solution, not the problem – a great teacher.”

“I can’t believe this,” another former student wrote. “Mrs. Messick taught us all great lessons in life and she taught me to open up more – she is part of the reason I am the person I am today.  Thank you, Mrs. Messick, for everything that you have done for me and for the rest of the students’ lives that you have touched.  

“I remember one day in drama class – the first day I really opened up and decided to act and be funny in our improv circle – acting so goofy and I learned I could be funny.”

A former student who is now an attorney in the professional world voiced his respect for his favorite teacher.  He said that the important things in life that Mrs. Messick taught him were not only treasured but lessons he used all the way through his college years.