says a TCPalm.com report,
On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department completed processing the visas for the Indian teachers, about a week after approving extending the visas to June 15 so the teachers can finish the school year. FAU created the exchange/internship program to help the district fill vacancies for experienced math, science and special education teachers. Besides Dan McCarty, the teachers were placed at Southport Middle School, Treasure Coast High School, Oak Hammock K-8, Allapattah Flats K-8 and Samuel S. Gaines Academy.The same report also provides a timeline of what happened when.
Dan McCarty's staff greeted the teachers' return with a mini party of hugs, cheers, coffee and doughnuts. "Our family is united again," said principal Kerry Padrick, who in addition to Rangaraj, welcomed back three other teachers — Kamesh Senthamilselvan, Anggayarukanyee Subramaniam and Durai Sathanan. Student Karen Duran, 13, was looking forward to her afternoon science class with Rangaraj. "I'm really glad she's back because she's really nice and gives good advice," she said.
At Tuesday's school board meeting, Superintendent Michael Lannon said the district's human resources officials are looking at options to pay the teachers for the missed work. Also, he said staff is working to keep the teachers here past June 15 to fulfill a promise an outside party made to the teachers when recruited that they would automatically be allowed to stay in the U.S. for a number of years once hired full time by the district.
TIMELINEIn earlier posts, I had described the issues faced by the Indian teachers in Florida and their students, as well as the visa problems.
May and June 2007: St. Lucie County School District partners with Florida Atlantic University in a teacher exchange program that brings 17 teachers from India to teach in math, science and special education.
Late July: The 17 Indian teachers arrive in Florida.
Late July or early August: Indian teachers attend a school district orientation addressing district policies, procedures, programs.
Aug. 20: First day of school for St. Lucie County Schools.
Oct. 26: The International Committee of the College of Education at FAU decide not to renew the program for next school year because the program is too "labor intensive."
November: FAU officials learn of a problem with visas issued to Indian teachers. Also, during this time, the school district conducts its own evaluation and hires 16 of the 17 teachers for the remainder of the school year.
Jan. 24 2008: U.S. State Department sends FAU a letter reprimanding the university for paying the teachers low pay and calls the visa problem an "egregious misuse" of FAU's privilege.
Feb. 8 or 9: Visas expire for the teachers, and they are barred from their classrooms, forcing school district officials to hire substitute teachers.
Feb. 19: State Department receives paperwork to extend the visas until June 15, the end of the current school year.
Feb. 26: State Department completes processing of the visas and extensions and FAU and district officials receive visas.
Feb. 27: Indian teachers return to their classrooms.