.Nameplate February 2013 Issue 
Letters                                                                 Page 4


Reader Reply


Your excellent November 2012 issue about the impact of superintendents on the lives of their own families hit home with me.

When years ago I told my two teenage sons I was leaving my superintendent's position in Massachusetts and moving to Delaware, they were very angry. We were living on a lake and had a sailboat and canoe. So I promised the boys we would install a swimming pool when we got to Delaware.

After we moved, my wife overheard two women talking in the grocery store about the new superintendent putting in a backyard swimming pool, “so we must be paying him too much money!” Of course, these women did not know not one dime going into the pool was coming from salary in my new position but was money I earned elsewhere and I now had elected to spend in the local economy.

I support living in the local community, but it can be very tough on the family.

AASA life member,
Charleston, S.C.

Mobile Apps for Districts
Re Cody Cunningham’s Tech Leadership column (“The Case for School District Apps,” September 2012):

Students today navigate the Internet better than many adults. It won’t be long before the only cell phones available will be smartphones, meaning the demand for apps will grow exponentially. With this in mind, Oxford Community Schools partnered with eSchool Associates to develop two mobile apps, one for the school district and one for the Oxford Virtual Academy, for Android and iPhones. We are developing two more apps, for our Engineering & Technology Academy and the Oxford Arts Conservatory.

As Cunningham stated, apps have become a great resource for parents and students to contact staff members, check grades and homework, transfer money into lunch accounts, access virtual courses, access school calendars, read daily school news and athletic scores, etc.

More so than computers, parents and students tend to use Android phones and iPhones to access and send information. In school, we allow students to use their mobile phones in the classroom as a learning tool. Having these mobile apps only enhances their ease of access and productivity in accessing and sending information.

Cunningham’s valuable advice was spot on.

Oxford Community Schools,
Oxford, Mich.

Enlarging Class Size
Re Philip S. Cicero’s My View column, “Increasing Class Size: Sound and Cost Effective” (September 2012):

I expect the author will be censured by many for his position. Like any other workers, teachers have preferred ways of carrying out their duties. They teach in ways that require existing size classes and have become effective at doing so. They can teach larger classes, and I have seen teachers at all levels be effective with very large groups (up to 70 students) in arts classes, with no assistant.

However, those teachers whose classes grow significantly larger must be willing. Their unwillingness comes from fear they will not get the resources they need, in the form of professional development and time to devise new strategies, try them out and adopt the effective ones. Teachers of oversized classes are afraid of being less effective because they do not know the new strategies.

Board of Trustees,
Rock Hills Schools,
Rock Hill, S.C.

Living Inside the District
Re Jim Acklin’s article, “Living Inside the District” (November 2012):

During the 15 years I was a school board member in the St. Joseph Grade School District, we hired two superintendents, and one of our requirements for administrators was in-district residency.

We felt it was essential the superintendent and principals be an integral part of the community. If we were asking for a tax increase, the taxpayers knew the board members and administrators would be paying the increased amount too. If we made a change to class size, again board members and administrators would be directly affected.

With in-district residency, administrators attended school events regularly as part of the community. It is not so much a job as a way of life.
This is not to say that there isn’t a downside for the administrators. School leader are never just Junior’s dad but the administrator who is Junior’s dad. But we hoped the family atmosphere more than compensated for that.

The community involvement with our in-district superintendents is phenomenal. The families are integral parts of the communities. Their children are part of the schools that they lead. They have day-to-day interaction with the students, parents, community members and businessmen of the community. These are the very people we need to work together to make amazing things happen for our districts.

In 2002, we passed a $5 million bond referendum for a new middle school with 74 percent of the vote. That does not happen without relationships. That is the very reason we want our administrators to live in the districts.

In St. Joseph, we have both the grade school and high school superintendents and principals living in the district. We couldn't have administrators who work harder for the schools and care more about the kids of the community.

Former Board Member,
St. Joseph Grade School District 169,
St. Joseph, Ill.

Letters should be addressed to:
School Administrator
1615 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Fax: 703-841-1543

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