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Letters                                                                 Page 4

 

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Cleanliness Counts
Our superintendent shared with me Nicholas Clement’s “The Rake Marks of Student Achievement” (My View, February 2013) concerning school cleanliness and its connection to student learning. The author based his views on his behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park.

Disney’s philosophy about cleanliness is well-known and envied widely within the hospitality industry. Public education doesn’t spend much time on the topic, yet the research Clement referenced in his commentary is a doctoral dissertation that studied how various aspects of school building maintenance (e.g., cleanliness, plumbing, heating and air conditioning) affect student learning.

The larger policy question is whether school districts consider it the best use of their funds to maintain their most effective marketing tool in the eyes of the public — which is also their single most expensive asset.

KERM TOWLER
Assistant Manager of Plant Operations,
Arlington Public Schools,
Arlington, Va.

24/7 Connections
Re Nicholas Caruso’s “New Rules for Communicating When Connected 24/7” (Board-Savvy Superintendent, January 2013):

As a business administrator in a small, rural Pennsylvania school district, I’m finding that Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc., are eating our lunch!

Not long ago, we had a bomb threat and a subsequent lockdown at our high school after a student posted a threat on his Facebook page through his cell phone. The news media called the superintendent about it before he was even notified of the issue.

These are crazy times!

THOMAS R. CARUSO
Business Administrator,
Mifflinburg Area School District,
Mifflinsburg, Pa.

Scholastic Journalism
Mary Stapp's article "Scholastic Journalism: Skills for the 21st Century" as well as Susan Enfield's piece "My Defense of Scholastic Journalism" (March 2013) make a compelling case for the educational benefits of a free scholastic press.

Recognizing students' First Amendment rights at the district level is a powerful way to engage high-level critical thinking, not only among those students who produce media for your schools, but also among the thousands of others who consume those media.

KELLY FURNAS
Executive Director,
Journalism Education Association,
Manhattan, Kan.

 

This morning, I had a magazine clipping in my mailbox with a handwritten note, “A couple of items I thought you might find interesting,” from my superintendent. It was Susan Enfield’s article, “My Defense of Scholastic Journalism.” When I thanked the superintendent, he told me how much he appreciated the work of the journalism staff (and adviser).

I hope that the articles in your March issue can be a step in the right direction for more positive relationships between journalism advisers and their administrators. Many administrations, unfortunately, see student publications as little more than a thorn in their side. Many advisers, unfortunately, see their administrators as an obstacle to overcome.

Yes, there may be mistakes, and there may be controversy. But a major part of being a journalist is understanding the consequences of publishing, and the lessons of journalism ethics and responsibility often are not learned without a little heartache.

ELIZABETH E. KAVAN
English and journalism teacher,
Northwest High School,
Grand Island, Neb.

Politician Bullies
Kenneth Baca’s My View column “Politicians Have a Role in Bullying, Too” (October 2012) is awesome. He makes a powerful statement with a message that’s not only timely, but so true.

CAMILLE CASTEEL
Superintendent,
Chandler Unified School District,
Chandler, Ariz.

 

 

 

Forward on Inclusion
Re Amy Jo Bailey’s article on full-inclusion practices in K-12 education, “Not Simply One More Thing” (February 2013):

Inclusion should not be considered just one more thing because it isn't just one more thing as Bailey points out. It should be treated as a priority. When this model of education is given the time, resources and support necessary for a quality program, it benefits everyone.

AMY ESCHWEILER
Special Education Teacher,
Chittenango High School,
Chittenango, N.Y.

Performance Goals
I appreciated Michael Adamson’s Board-Savvy Superintendent column, “Creating Performance Goals That Matter” (December 2012).

I was left with this question: Does the author have a concise definition of professional goals?

JOHN H. KEITER
Superintendent,
Summerville Union High School District,
Tuolumne, Calif.

 

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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