DES MOINES — A beloved Des Moines theater teacher now has his full-time job back for next year.
Micheal Davenport was told last week that there would not be a full-time position offered to him for the 2020-2021 school year, due to low enrollment numbers in theater classes. He said school officials changed their tune after a student protest and petition had huge success.
Last Friday, February 14th, Roosevelt senior Tyra Tillman said she began planning what she called an “underground” protest–spreading it through Snapchat and a dedicated Instagram account.
“In just a day…the Instagram already got like so many likes and so many shares,” said Tillman.
Tuesday morning, despite administrators calling an end to the protest just a couple hours before it was scheduled to take place, a crowd of students walked out of class, megaphones and signs in hand, to protest Davenport’s situation and any cuts to the arts department in general.
Davenport, who’s taught at Roosevelt for three years, said the student effort worked.
“About an hour afterward, I had a meeting wherein it was explained to me that there may have been a misunderstanding, a big miscommunication, said Davenport. “And through students’ voice, I did get offered full-time employment.”
Later Tuesday evening, at the Des Moines Public Schools Board meeting, students from Davenport’s theater department, who had initially planned to make a plea to keep their beloved teacher full-time, instead used their time to ask for no further cuts to the art department.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Davenport. “I’m a guy sort of prone to tears easily unfortunately because I’m filled with creativity and emotion. These kids are awesome,” Davenport said.
Davenport told Local 5 it’s still “unclear” to him as to exacly why he was told he would be part-time initially. He said he was told it was a mixture of state budget cuts and low enrollment numbers in theater classes; however, he said it was the first he had heard of low enrollment numbers.
He will return full-time to Roosevelt High School for the 2020-2021 school year, as a part-theater, part-social studies instructor–a position which he says he’s “ecstatic” to have.