A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Friday, September 26, 2014

News from an old friend

One of my old friends shared with me an email he fired off to the Chair of the Counseling Department at a local high school this past Monday evening, after his son, Steve, had been abruptly handed a schedule change this past Friday. Upon hearing about how upsetting the sudden schedule change had been to Steve, Sam's wife contacted the Counselor. On Monday, from her job, Sam's wife had been communicating back and forth with Ms. Foley, Steve's counselor, but was getting nowhere with the lady.

Sam became a little enraged after his wife shared with him over dinner Monday evening that that the Counselor, Ms. Foley, had replied to her that, "at this point, it would be impossible" to move Steve back to his original math class. Steve had finally found a Math teacher with whom he could connect, one who engaged learners with math games, had a sense of humor, and was responsive to students, and now, without any warning, he had been randomly moved to another class. Steve was feeling as if he had received the perfect Christmas present, only to be told, "Oops! That wasn't for you."

Sam immediately fired off an email to Ms. Foley's supervisor, Mrs. Strawberry, and cc'd it to Mrs. Strawberry's boss, Mr. Randall, the Principal. On Wednesday, Mrs. Strawberry, Ms. Foley, and an Assistant Principal conferenced with Steve and found a way return Steve's schedule back to its original configuration.

***

Hi Mrs. Strawberry,

Thank you for taking the time to explain your need to “level the classes.” However, Steve did not have a problem with his schedule until Ms. Foley, without warning, removed him from his English class while he was writing an essay. Steve was extremely happy about his schedule and the relationships he had established. My wife was extremely happy with all of Steve’s teachers, with whom she exchanged information on back to school night. Nobody on our end had any problems with Steve’s schedule, despite some of our concerns with how challenging it is. Steve was all in. We were all in. Don’t the personal relationships and feelings of Steve, which are so important to us, carry any weight in your decision making process and how you go about “leveling your classes?” Sorry, but as a parent, I’m feel as if my son has been steamrolled.

From my perspective, this “out of left field” change was handled rather crudely at best, with zero discussion, and at worst is potentially disastrous for Steve. I cannot stress strongly enough my belief as a parent and an educator that this change is not in the best interests of my child. Therefore, I will not consent to any changes in his schedule this late in the game from where he was originally placed. What I don’t understand is why you can’t simply reverse the changes and go back to his original schedule, which was already perfect?

If you feel a need to meet face to face to discuss the matter further, as you know, it would be rather inconvenient for all of us, as we are all rather busy, but I’m sure my Principal would grant me the time if I requested it because the welfare of my child is so important to me. Steve’s Junior Year is, perhaps the most critical year he will have before applying for colleges, so I’m hoping you’d be willing to reconsider your decision with Steve’s best interests in mind.

Thanks in advance for your consideration,

Sam Oleska,
Deep Woods Elementary School

5th Grade Teacher