Letters                                          Page 4


In the November 2014 issue’s Reader Reply, Bryan Couture, a parent from Bellingham, Wash., takes issue with a metaphor in my My View column (“The Penalty Box for Our Students,” May 2014). I wonder if he read my article as he refers to what he calls my “draconian view of teaching practices” based on a few lines of text.

The changes to our program detailed in the article are quite the reverse of the excessively harsh and severe practices he assumes I’m advocating. In my column immediately following the hockey comparison I write, “Of course, it’s not that simple. Sitting in the box during an ice hockey game is just that, sitting and waiting to be let out,” and further, “Time spent in our school district’s in-school suspension rooms cannot be the same as time spent in the penalty box on the ice. An in-school suspension room cannot be a place for a student to just sit and wait to get back out. That doesn’t do anything more than further alienate a student from the school.”

The full intent of our in-school program is to form relationships with students as we support them. Either I explained the program very poorly or the reader grabbed a line out of context and used it to advance his own opinions.

Kimberly Moritz
Randolph Central School District,
Randolph, N.Y.

In-School Penalty Box

I appreciated Kimberly Moritz’s views on in-school suspension in her My View column “The Penalty Box for Our Students” (May 2014).

The school must be recognized as a community. Only the worst kinds of behavior gets a person removed from the community. The goal is to become and remain a part.

John Hines
Supervisor of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment/Title 1 Services,
Conneaut School District,
Linesville, Pa.
Students’ Voices

Re “Using Student Voices to Drive School Improvement” (September 2014):
All school districts use student data to aid in continuous school improvement. However, what this means for most of us is that we work through summaries of standardized test scores but do not actually listen to the very voices we seek to serve. So I was encouraged when I read Nic Clement’s My View column.

As superintendent, Clement used focus groups over a three-year period to gather qualitative data directly from students regarding what they believed was the perfect classroom and the perfect teacher. Should this practice be newsworthy? No, this should be the norm. Unfortunately, it takes a lone voice lifting up a seemingly novel practice to remind us we do work for the students.

I especially loved this comment: “I was fascinated by how accurate students were in identifying key attributes of a perfect teacher — the same characteristics that world-renowned researchers have validated in hundreds of studies.”

Kudos to Clement for reminding us again of our real priorities.

James T. Fox
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and School Counseling,
University of Southern Mississippi,
Hattiesburg, Miss.

Sharing Fiscal Impact

Congratulations to Barbara Hickman for writing “Stating Our Fiscal Impact” (September 2014), explaining the financial importance a school district has on a community. I certainly hope her community understands how public education enhances the life cycle of Flagstaff.

Just as her district was seeking continuation of a budget override election, our district was doing so as well. Hickman’s findings gave me new talking points as I communicated the importance of our district’s override and its long-term fiscal impact on our community.

Jim Rice
Interim Superintendent,
Union Elementary School District,
Phoenix, Ariz.

Letters should be addressed to: Editor, School Administrator, 1615 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314. Fax: 703-841-1543. E-mail: magazine@aasa.org

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