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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A heartfelt thanks to the teachers of Mapleton Elementary

This is an open letter for Teacher Appreciation Week to the teachers of Mapleton Elementary School, especially Lauren High, Sue Litzinger, and Bo Miller:

As my son Noah nears the end of his tenure at Mapleton Elementary, I want to offer you my heartfelt thanks. He has had a very successful elementary career and that is due to the many wonderful teachers who have worked with him including Jane Lowry, Glenna Whitaker, Charity Holley, Toni Constable, and Marlowe Steger as well as so many others I’m afraid to begin naming for fear I will leave someone out.

This academic year has been marked by the many upheavals that have faced our school district. I appreciate your outstanding efforts to rise above these challenges and to always put your students first. Teaching is never an easy job, but I know this has been a very difficult year to be a teacher in this school district and especially at Mapleton Elementary. However, you have risen above these difficulties to perform with grace under extreme pressure.

Many administrative decisions made this year have led parents to question if anyone on the school board or involved in district administration is thinking about the good of our children. The constant program changes appear designed to undermine any potential for student success. Similarly, there has been much administrative posturing which has called into question the dedication and professionalism of Montgomery County teachers. However, the one beacon of light in Montgomery County Schools throughout this year of upheaval has been the teachers. They have consistently persevered through increasingly difficult working conditions to teach and to serve.

I am so thankful that Noah landed in Lauren High’s class this year. Despite numerous roadblocks and increasingly adverse teaching conditions, she met each new challenge and found ways to re-engage students bewildered by the losses and changes. She consistently presented an upbeat and positive face for her students and their parents while working long hours to redesign curriculum and create lessons to address changing circumstances. When the fifth-grade program was drastically revamped in January, Noah transformed from a child who enjoyed school to one who dreaded it. However, Mrs. High successfully brought her class through the transition to conclude the year on a high note. I only hope the administration appreciates her talent and effort.

I also want to express my thanks to Sue Litziner and Bo Miller who both inspired Noah to learn more and be more. While we still mourn the loss of their classes, I know that the impact they had on Noah’s drive to learn, question, and respond to challenges will help him learn and grow for decades to come. The critical thinking and investigative skills they taught him are far more important lessons than any amount of test preparation. They are both talented and inspirational teachers who have had a tremendous impact on Noah as well as countless other students.

Last, but not least, Academic Team coaches Sue Litzinger, Breanne Harmon, Catherine Rush, and Joy Larrison devoted so much time and energy to helping their teams grow as people as well as students and competitors. Noah’s time working with Sue Litzinger and Breanne Harmon was always a high point of his week.

It is very comforting to me that in a district led by “educators” more focused on self-promotion and personal agendas we still have teachers focused on their students and their teaching.

Thank you again for all that you do in such trying times,
Deanna Mascle, Mapleton parent

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