Open Letter to TPS superintendent John Foley

Superintendent John Foley this is an open letter to you giving you the opportunity, as the new superintendent, to correct an experiment that has gone sour at Scott High School. It is called the Four Small Schools concept, a program sponsored by a grant from the Bill Gates Foundation. It is more apparent than ever that this program needs to be abolished and Scott High School should be returned to the Principal led concept that is implemented in high schools throughout the district (except for Scott and Libbey). A principal led program with high level academic standards for each student, as the main focus, will turn this school around.

For the past three years Scott has operated under the Four Schools Academic Program. This program is a complete and utter failure and Scott

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I'm not sure I fully understand the situation. Perhaps you could explicate further by answering or responding the following questions or statements:

"It is called the Four Small Schools concept, a program sponsored by a grant from the Bill Gates Foundation."

- You do realize that this funding will likely be lost if the small school concept is changed.

"A principal led program with high level academic standards for each student, as the main focus, will turn this school around."

- Really? I thought we wanted to change our schools. Why go back to the old?

"The situation has deteriorated to the point that the problem has left the school and is causing disruptions and chaos in our neighborhood."

- Last I checked, schools don't cause violence. Perhaps you're misguided.

"The Small Schools concept has led to an unhealthy competition between students at each school."

- I thought the only bad competition was monopolization. This seems to be quite the opposite of monopolization. Please don't tell me you're one of those soccer moms who believes in scoreless games.

"In the past, Scott has produced many, many notable citizens of Toledo and the nation and students of the Four Small Schools today should be given the same opportunity to become renown leaders of their community and the world."

- This is true. Unfortunately we live in a different age from even ten years ago. Maybe the majority of parents should be better involved as opposed to blaming a program, one that probably has no effect one way or another on the quality of the school.

I guess my overall point is that I'm not convinced this needs to go away. I went to a small, competetive school, and I found the experience very rewarding. I realize it isn't for everyone, but I'm simply not convinced.

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Perhaps you could explain just what exactally is the "four small schools" program and why competition is unhealthy?

Without Gates' money and the attempt to convert a few TPS schools to the 'small schools' format, at least one of them would have closed (Libbey) already. The small schools is very simply that, the campus is divided into four schools instead of one. Each complete with its own administrators, teacher leaders, and identity inside the larger building. The divide, I believe, she is referring to is created by the individual environments. No different than a gang claiming a block in a neighborhood. Each school has its own name and color and identity. This creates competition and therefore, the kids take it too far and start 'claiming' their school. Which eventually leads to more fights. Yes, they will fight over anything. Hope this helped clear it up a bit. As for the success or failure of the small schools, that is up to the leadership, unfortunately that area is lacking and rife with corruption inside TPS.

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will; in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. -Thomas Paine

I have fortunately had the opportunity to discuss the small schools concept at Scott with seversal teachers on the staff there as well as several students who attend. The picture painted was definitely a dismal one. These students were obviously motivated young people, all with goals of attending college and expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the happenings at Scott, Some of the concerns they expressed were:
1. An appallling lack of teaching staff whom they respect as true leaders who care about their learning; they specifically named a handful of teachers who they feel have been truly helpful to them; mainly they feel that the staff cares more about how thy're dressed than who they are as people.

2. The separate schools are organized by student choices; thus are largely influenced by gang domination. Very little if any counselling is available to assist students in their school selection.

3. The building is frequently infiltrated by students from other schoos; furthermore they perceive that there is a lot of transition due to the selling of drugs, Those interested in selling move from school to school depending on the best market.

4. More parents need to be involved in the students' education.

5. Their perception is that 80 per cent of the students have little concern about their education and only come to school to hang out.

6. Training which most would agree is important for this technological age is lacking in some of the schools; ie computer training.

I assert that the proof is in the pudding. These students whom I have referred to have joined others in submitting a petition to
end this small schools plan. If the students do not feel that they are getting the education they desire and deserve, is it not arrogant for someone who is not involved to insist that this plan is working?

tell me how any of this is the result of small schools? Believe me I am not defending the small schools, but nothing you stated has anything to do with small schools. Nothing you listed isn't a quality that Scott had before small schools, and simply continued.

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will; in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. -Thomas Paine

I graduated from Libbey over 40 years ago. Up until the spring I graduated it was an

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