Recalled Anchorage teacher relieved to be back in the classroom

Shoshana Keegan (left) and Rosalind Worcester (right), both teachers in Bowman Elementary School's 1st/2nd grade optional program, dress up for a school spirit day. (Courtesy Rosalind Worcester)
Shoshana Keegan (left) and Rosalind Worcester (right), both teachers in Bowman Elementary School’s 1st/2nd grade optional program, dress up for a school spirit day. (Courtesy Rosalind Worcester)

Last month, we brought you a story about a pair of teachers whose classroom was left in limbo after one received a layoff notice from the Anchorage School District, while the state grappled with funding cuts.

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But, since lawmakers opted against dramatic education cuts, pink slipped teachers have been called back to their jobs.

We caught back up with one educator about the impacts of her experience and the relief knowing she’ll be reunited with her teaching partner in the fall.

“It was kind of dreamlike a little bit,” Rosalyn Worcester, a combined first and second grade classroom teacher at Bowman Elementary School, said.

Worcester received a layoff notice from the Anchorage School District on the last day of school, but, in late June, she got another note from the district, telling her she would still have a job this fall.

“I feel like I really didn’t trust it until I got that final piece of paperwork,” Worcester said. “Even getting recalled didn’t really feel real, just because I didn’t know where I would be.”

Her situation was a bit different from others who were laid off. Worcester was high on the recall list, and actually found out she would be staying with ASD about a week before most, but she didn’t know if she’d be back at Bowman.

Not long after that day in June, she found out she’d be back in the same class with her teaching partner, Shoshana Keegan.

“I was actually watching Wonder Woman when I got the official email from the district telling us that they were gonna rehire all 220 positions and try and place them back in their original placements,” Worcester said. “And so I immediately texted Shoshana and just got a bunch of emoticons and excitement back.”

Worcester and Keegan weren’t the only ones excited. They’d also been keeping parents informed throughout the process.

“I’ve been letting them know about ‘Oh, I got rehired but not placed.’ ‘Oh, I got officially placed, yes, at Bowman!’” Worcester said. “And I’ve just gotten these wonderful emails back from families just saying, ‘Oh, I just let my son know…I just let my daughter know and they’re cheering around the living room.'”

While pink slips aren’t uncommon, Worcester still found the process agonizing.

“It’s just so funny because this has happened so much, people I think have this tendency to be like, ‘Oh, it’s not a big deal; this happens all the time,’” Worcester said. “It’s like, well it is a big deal; this classroom is like a home. I mean, you’re trying to make it into a community and your school is a community.”

Despite earlier discussions about massive education funding cuts, lawmakers approved a just over a $9 million increase in unrestricted general funds for schools in Alaska, the portion of the budget directly controlled by the legislature.

Classes at ASD start up again on Aug. 21.

Josh is the Statewide Morning News Reporter/Producer for Alaska Public Media | jedge (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8455 | About Josh

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