Advice for neighborhood programs?

By From page A6 | April 03, 2013

The following is an open letter to former Davis school board member Marty West:

Thank you for your years of honest and very capable service to the Davis community. I appreciate your clarifying the startup cost for each Montessori classroom that was listed on Page 8 of the Montessori Master Plan. If you could clarify two further items, I think it would help us all understand the district’s policies better.

First, do you recall what comparable figure the district provided to a brand-new teacher in the neighborhood program to help that classroom get off to a good start?

Secondly, which of the philosophical tenets on Page 1 of the Montessori plan are not included in the philosophical tenets of the master plan for the neighborhood school program? When the district carefully spells out a whole-child philosophy to be used in a special program, it gives the appearance that the neighborhood schools do not follow that philosophy.

Since every Davis teacher and administrator I have met believes in such an approach, I expected a similar document to also be available describing the neighborhood schools. I found no such document on the district website. This I take as a further sign that Davis is not taking care of the most fundamental part of its brand.

As someone who has had the often unenviable position of being in the middle of Davis school politics, would you give us some advice? The majority of Davis elementary parents, students and teachers are still in the neighborhood programs. Many of them feel that the district’s focus is on the special programs it provides. These people can point to district policies that relegate the neighborhood schools to second-class citizenship. What can these people reasonably ask of the school board and the district that would address this problem?

Thank you again for your past service and for any advice you can give.

Dave Miller

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