09 September 2006

Thanks for Nothing

We're a fairly large district. Even with our declining enrollment, we have about 12, 500 students, k -12. There is a single position devoted to ordering, purchasing, and managing all of the instructional materials (primarily textbooks) for all of the associated programs and students in our district. This also includes teachers' resources. As you might imagine, this is not a simple task, especially at the beginning of the school year. We have a new person in this role for the first time in many years---and she is doing amazingly well.

When our junior high teachers had training on the software associated with the new materials' adoption, the information about getting students access to the on-line versions of their texts and other resources was not available. Two days later, however, those pieces arrived and the textbook secretary sent them out. Teachers had them by the first day of school.

We have had one school administrator, however, that has spent the better part of the week claiming that her teachers absolutely had to have classroom sets of books because the on-line versions of the books would not be available until December. The secretary and I ended up devoting a lot of time and phone calls reassuring her that this wasn't so. The admin told the secretary that she'd better have an answer for her by Thursday...or else. I asked the secretary, "Or what?" Was the admin threatening us because we'd done all we'd could do and she was unable to figure things out on her end?

Things finally concluded yesterday around lunch---after I'd lost most of the morning double checking with the publisher's rep and tech support that there was no reason for the school not to be able to access the on-line versions of the texts. I even opened the spare set of codes we had and was able to set up a fake class with students and the necessary information within a few minutes. I sent a rather curt e-mail to the admin about all of this...and a couple of hours later, the secretary and I got a message that gee, the admin had everything working now.

No apologies for our time that she wasted. No comments about her threats of the secretary or that we'd been right the whole time---she and her teachers had exactly what they'd needed for days. Nope. Instead, she said that they needed extra books for each grade to have in the library as resource materials.

Sigh.

I do plan to bend Boss Lady 2.0's ear about all of this. I know the admin and while her behavior was annoying, I can let it go. But there is no call for her to harass the secretary and I don't want her to think that this will be acceptable in the future. If nothing else, a simple "thank you" for the help and patience would suffice.

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