SAN ANTONIO — Tondra Williams has spent her entire career at Dorie Miller Elementary. She has taught at the East San Antonio school for 20 years.
“I love this school. My kids went to school here and my kids are 25 and 28,” Williams said.
She’s constantly on the go, teaching special education as an inclusion resource teacher.
“At 12:30 I’ll go up into the combined fourth- and fifth-grade classroom and then I’ll work with them just to see what they are doing,” Williams said.
While the school feels like a second home, Williams doesn’t mind that Dorie Miller is one of the 19 schools recommended by San Antonio ISD to be closed. The district cites declining enrollment for the closure and parents are upset.
Parents were left silent at a recent meeting when it was Williams’ turn to talk. She couldn’t even stand because her feet hurt from running around all day at work.
“We have two special needs classrooms without a teacher this year. I’ve had to send two students off my campus to be serviced because of that,” Williams said at the meeting. “I didn’t even know how to do the paperwork because we always keep our kids.”
She says right now, special education resources are spread thin. Students, she noted, are falling behind. Her understaffed school has also asked her to help with dual language. This is on top of doing paperwork to evaluate students
“With my caseload, I’ll also handle their caseload. Literally for a week, I sat here all day long doing paperwork and my kids would come and I give them assignments that they have to do independently," she said.
When she’s not swamped with that, she’s helping combined fourth- and fifth-grade classes. So to her, consolidating schools like the district is proposing is the only obvious solution.
“We are stretched thin. We can’t capture them all, but I want to capture more,” Williams said.
Closed or not, both options bring heartache.
“It will offer us the opportunity to have more of those resources,” Williams said. “That’s been on my heart for several years because it’s continuously getting worse.”
Until the Nov. 13 decision to close her school is made, she will make do with what she has.
“If I can help, I’m going to help because I know it’s not just me, we are all stretched thin,” Williams said.