With Community Unit School District 308 facing a debt count of over 11 million dollars, all Board of Education members came to a consensus last March that changes had to be made, the largest of which was the honorable release of 36 teachers. Three of those teachers came from our own Oswego High School: English and journalism teacher Ms. Sarah Hands, math teacher Ms. Ashley Cramer, and history teacher Mr. Aaron Marshall.
Ms. Hands and Ms. Cramer were since recalled and are back at OHS this year, but Mr. Marshall is not.
Mr. Marshall, who was in the midst of his first year teaching at OHS, was informed in early October that there were going to be staff cuts.
“I had known for a while that it was going to happen,” Mr. Marshall said. “Obviously, being the new guy…I was 80-percent sure I’d be one of the cut.”
“I had worked six years in South Chicago to make it to a school that was a ‘forever’ school, which is what I was hoping Oswego would be,” Mr. Marshall said. “I was really nervous that I might have to back to Chicago…I was not looking forward to that, just from the drive standpoint.”
With the end of the year approaching, it was crucial Mr. Marshall found a job as soon as he could. Mr. Marshall began his job search with the help the help of his fellow staff members and Social Studies Department Chair Ms. Jennifer Keto.
“I think Metea is what I was hoping Oswego would be.”
“Oswego did an awesome job getting me set up with schools that would potentially interview me,” Mr. Marshall said. “Ms. Keto was awesome. She got me several interviews, and she’s solely responsible…for the job where I’m at now.”
Mr. Marshall now works at Metea Valley High School in Aurora, Ill. He teaches U.S. History, AP U.S. History and AP European History. When he was here at OHS, he taught U.S. History and Modern World History, all of which he enjoyed.
Aside from the classes he teaches, Mr. Marshall says that a big difference at Metea is the student demographics. At OHS, 64.4 percent of the student body identifies as white, whereas Metea Valley’s student body is 46 percent white, according to the school’s report card.
“In my classes, probably 50 percent of the students are of some type of Asian descent, whether it’s India or Southeast Asia,” Mr. Marshall said.
While Metea may not be Oswego, it’s still a great school with many things to offer to teachers. Although he wishes the budget crisis situation never happened, Mr. Marshall is not disappointed with where he is now.
“I mean, I would have preferred to stay at Oswego,” Mr. Marshall said. “I want to reach that point where I can be a protected teacher, and I can have the peace of mind knowing that I can be there for the rest of my career.”
The impact he made on the student body in his first year is extraordinary. Now with the chaos of last year gone, Mr. Marshall looks forward to making Metea his new permanent home.
“I think Metea hopefully…is what I was hoping Oswego would be,” Mr. Marshall said. “It’s a really great school. They’re really supportive, budget issues…it’s a great place.”