Bryker Woods Elementary students fighting to 'Save Ms. Vincent' and keep classes small
An Austin ISD policy is forcing one teacher to relocate to another campus with just a few days notice.
But parents and students are not letting her go quietly.
A big group of Bryker Woods Elementary students protested in front of the school Friday afternoon chanting "Save Ms. Vincent!"
Who is Ms. Vincent? According to the students, she's a science teacher they've come to adore.
"I have never really liked Science and finally stuff is making sense, it's actually getting better and fun," said 10-year-old Reva Gill.
Gill is upset that Ms. Vincent is being moved to Highland Park Elementary because of a process called "Leveling." Now the comfortably small three fifth grade classes at Bryker Woods will become 2 classes -- around 28 to 29 students strong. Still under the district's target of 30.
Michael Houser with the school district says leveling is a process that happens every year.
"What it is is an opportunity to equalize the number of teachers and the number of students who are in our schools that we are servicing," Houser said.
But why 3 weeks into the school year? Houser says after many years of practice, it's actually the best time to do the switching around.
But parents, who just found out about this situation on Tuesday, feel like it will disrupt the environment. And they're not okay with the bigger classrooms.
"I get rules, I'm a rule follower. I get it...things have to happen for order, but we're not getting clear communication from the board, we don't understand why the leveling can't occur within that other school," said parent Shefaly Ravula.
The movement to save Ms. Vincent was spearheaded by 10-year-old Reva.
When the district told parents and students if they were to raise $56,000, the problem would be solved, Reva took to her neighborhood and started asking for donations.
Other students joined in. They've raised around $1,000 so far. And Reva reached into her own pocket and donated every cent she had.
"My mom said, 'if you're going to donate this much, I'm going to match you.' So I donated $115 which was my whole life's savings," Gill said.
"Seeing people who are passionate about the instruction and the love of the teacher is a very, very good thing. It makes it more difficult to get to a solution, but I would much rather deal with a problem where people are impassioned because they like someone rather than they dislike someone," Houser said.
"I'm hoping that they'll take me seriously and go 'Look, you know what, this is dumb, let's just stop it' and even if it doesn't work for us, it might change the policy later for other kids," Gill said.
AISD says they are moving a total of 19 teachers throughout the district this year.
AISD says they will review this throughout the weekend. Friday was supposed to be Ms. Vincent's last day, but they say she will still be there on Monday while they continue to review the situation.