MIDDLETOWN — A video posted on Facebook on Monday by the district’s supervisor of mathematics for grades 6-12, Yvonne Daniels, has caught the attention of the district administration, and prompted complaints from parents, teachers and staff.
The video of Daniels described a conversation with other teachers, who she said were discussing the need for students to attend class. According to Daniels, she responded by telling the teachers that she had skipped two of her classes in college, showed up for the finals, and still got an ‘A’, and “I’m still your boss.”
The minute-long video appeared to question the value of class attendance, and whether success as a teenager in school really has any connection to success as an adult.
“The things you do as a teenager make you have a life so you can understand how successful you’re going to be as an adult, and you can correct them or not correct them,” she said. “Or you could be like me, just don’t show up when you don’t feel like it — because when you do show up, you’re going to achieve that A plus, because you were a superstar.”
“I just had to call bullshit,” she said.
The video has since been removed from Facebook.
Daniels was hired by the district in July 2021 as a supervisor for math instruction. She is also part of a team of administrators working on the district’s new equitable grading policy, which prioritizes grading on the basis of how well students master a subject rather than participation, attendance or whether they submit assignments on time.
The new grading method, which has been introduced in a number of other districts, is being developed over the next three years. According to an explanation that Daniels gave during an informational webinar in February, the district will be spending the 2022-23 school year evaluating the curriculum and grading rubrics to make sure that they are aligned with grade-level standards. Next year, the administration plans to use data gathered from student performance and student and teacher performance to refine the rubrics, which will then be rolled out in 2024-25.
One board of education member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told CT Examiner that the board member had received phone calls from teachers, district employees and parents and other family members complaining about the video. The board member characterized the number of complaints as “under 10.”
A Freedom of Information Request made for any written complaints sent to the board or district regarding the video was denied by district as a privileged personnel matter.
District declined to comment on the issue, but in an email to a member of the Board of Education, Superintendent Alberto Vazquez-Matos said the matter was “currently being investigated.”
Daniels did not respond to phone and email messages from CT Examiner requesting comment.
Correction: The original version of this story said that Daniels was hired in 2022. That date has been corrected.