Allison Erkelens 0

Save Our Dream Team

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We, the undersigned, hereby petition the Norfolk Public School Board to retain Jessica Chesson and Juliet Kuehl for the 2010-2011 school year at Larchmont Elementary. Mrs. Chesson and Mrs. Kuehl are experts in differentiated instruction and are the heart and soul of our second grade Gifted Program. They are model teachers and collectively, possess 18 years of experience as Gifted Cluster teachers.

 • Juliet Kuehl earned her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education at Old Dominion University. She received her Gifted Education training at the College of William & Mary. Juliet has been a Norfolk Public School teacher for 11 years and a Gifted Cluster teacher for the past 8 years.

 • Jessica Chesson earned her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education at James Madison University and has earned 24 hours towards her Master's Degree at Old Dominion University. She received her Gifted Education training at the College of William & Mary. Jessica has been a Norfolk Public School teacher for 11 years and has spent the past 10 years as a Gifted Cluster teacher.

As Norfolk residents, we are fortunate to have a great number of quality schools for our children to attend. W. H. Taylor Elementary, Norfolk Collegiate, Norfolk Academy, St. Patrick Catholic School and The Williams School are among some of the quality schools in our community. As parents, we specifically chose Larchmont Elementary because of its reputation for experienced, highly trained, and professional teachers like Mrs. Chesson and Mrs. Kuehl.

Mrs. Chesson and Mrs. Kuehl are known far and wide as Larchmont’s “Dream Team”. Our community knows first-hand they are both, equally passionate, highly motivated and extremely successful educators in their field. They love teaching! Individually, each has received outstanding evaluations from the school's Administration, yet, they are both being terminated at the end of this school year due to budget cuts. Although they job share a full-time position as a Gifted Cluster teacher, they are classified as merely part-time Norfolk Public School employees. Therefore, they are among the first to be terminated!

If Norfolk Public Schools are to remain competitive and committed to achieving world-class status, we urge the Administration to revisit its local plan and the appropriated funds for the Gifted Program. Reevaluate the associated cost components for part-time and full- time salaries and fringe benefits, teacher development and training, and the development and implementation of the Gifted Program evaluation model. But more importantly, reevaluate the long-term cost-savings associated with the retention of already highly trained and experienced teachers versus the abashed turnover of the same!

We acknowledge that budget cuts for the 2010-2011 school year are imminent for Norfolk Public Schools but in the long-term, the residents and parents of the Larchmont/Edgewater community, cannot afford to lose teachers of Mrs. Kuehl and Mrs. Chesson's caliber and distinction. If you agree, please sign this petition and THANK YOU for your support!


Allison Erkelens and Bev Rainey


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