2012-07-20 / Letters

My Response

Dear Editor,

“Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation,” once quoted Jack Kinder. I believe that Ms. Linda Munro, the founding principal of Waterside School for Leadership, has proven this quote to be true. Not only does she hold her staff, students and parents to high expectations, but through her hard work and dedication, it is proven that she also holds high expectations for herself.

With that being said, on June 11, 2012, I was appalled after reading the article entitled “Teachers, Parents Urge City to Remove Rockaway Park Principal” in the NY Daily News. As an 8th grade teacher, who is under the direction of Ms. Munro, I must admit that I disagree with many of the statements in the article. It was very upsetting to see how one’s reputation can easily be destroyed by only two or three staff members and parents who cannot perform and rise up to the expectations that have been in place since September.

I don’t believe that any of the information that was in the article was proven to be true, but yet, she was portrayed in a negative light.

I have had a wonderful experience at Waterside School for Leadership. The support that Ms. Munro has given me has enriched my experience. Currently, I am in graduate student majoring in school administration. I have learned that a school building leader must ensure that the school is not only academically enriching but also ensure that the school’s business matters are taken care of. In my opinion, Ms. Munro has been successful in both of those areas. Ms. Munro has provided me with many resources to improve my craft. She has observed me on several occasions and gave me honest feedback about how I can be more successful in the classroom. Not only has she supported me with my teaching career, but also with my schooling to become a school building leader.

I would like to specifically address some statements in the article. First and foremost, I have never witnessed Ms. Munro “routinely bully teachers by yelling at them in front of students and by issuing poor ratings.” Ms. Munro is always professional and very fair. She has expectations for her teachers, if the teachers do not adhere to her expectations, then she will have a private conversation with the teacher. She then issues warnings. If her warnings are ignored, then she will take further disciplinary actions. I have never witnessed Ms. Munro make any irrational decisions or reprimand a teacher without just cause.

Secondly, the article stated that “the kids are constantly bullying each other and nothing’s being done.” For the last couple of months of school, Ms. Munro has implemented a “no bullying” program. The entire school focused on bullying and was engaged in many activities. Just to name a few: 1. all students read fictional and nonfictional books that focused on bullying with their advisory. Their advisors also led discussions in regards to bullying. 2. The students also participated in a “No Bullying” art contest. 3. A youth police officer visited the school to talk about bullying, the effects of bullying and how the law deals with bullying. 4. Students have watched several movies about bullying and were engaged in many enriching conversations. In essence, Ms. Munro has gone over and beyond to make sure that the students are learning in a safe environment.

Thirdly, the article also stated that students did not have math textbooks. There are several textbooks that were given to the math teachers. Instead of destroying Ms. Munro’s reputation by hear-say, one should visit the school to see the math textbooks that were available for the teachers and students.

Last but not least, as the 8th grade team leader, I found Ms. Frye’s complaint to be the most interesting. A letter was given to the 8th grade parents in regards to senior dues at the beginning of the year. It clearly stated what the senior dues were going to cover. Some of the things that the letter stated that it covered were the prom, cap and gown, senior breakfast, senior barbecue, a diploma case, an autograph book, a yearbook, and senior t-shirt. It never stated that the senior dues were going to include the senior trip. The senior trip was sponsored by the PTA.

In conclusion, Ms. Munro is a wonderful principal. Of course, the school is not perfect, because no perfect school exists. However, Ms. Munro is diligent and hardworking. She has remained professional at all times and has high expectations for her students, staff, parents, and herself. Through her strong work ethic and values, she has proved that “Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation” (Jack Kinder).

RHONDA ANTOINE

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