Support Cohen and McCort at SOMS
(1) We the undersigned view the April 2012 decision to refuse tenure to the two main 8th grade Social Studies teachers at SOMS as more than merely a poor personnel decision; we see it as a sign of something deeply wrong with the administration's priorities. By common testimony of hundreds of students and parents, these are two of the best teachers in the entire district. Since it is very unlikely that two different teachers in the same department would have some serious hidden problem unknown to us, this seems to be a concerted effort to bring in new people who will be rigidly loyal to the current district leadership, whatever the cost to students and programs. Barring some shocking revelation concerning these teachers, by signing this statement, we affirm all or most of the following (and individual signers can add comments to tailor their views): (2) Principal Mr. Uglialoro has lost the confidence of virtually all the teaching staff at SOMS, and many of the parents and students in the SOMS community. This will hamper his ability to lead the transition to a deleveled 8th grade. How can a principal who fires teachers like McCort and Cohen be expected to introduce a successful IB middle years program, which demands precisely this kind of teacher who demands more of students and works hard on student writing? (3) Hundreds of students and parents have encouraged the school administration to reverse this egregious decision, but principal Uglialoro and superintendent Osborne have refused. The HSA also encouraged the district to hold a general meeting of parents, which the district leadership again refused,. They are apparently just trying to wait this out and hope it blows over. After all the community effort, we do not think it acceptable for there to be no consequences for their refusal to listen to community input this time. Accordingly, we will ask the Board of Education to demand that Uglialoro be reassigned or replaced. (4) If the firing of McCort and Cohen is not reversed, Mr. Uglialoro renewal next spring will inevitably become an issue for the Board of Education. We will demand that each candidate for the Board of Education election in April 2013 say exactly where they stand on Mr. Uglialoro's reappointment. At the very least, close scrutiny of his record by the Board itself and a separate vote on his reappointment should be required, rather than a general approval of his reappointment along with hundreds of others in a single motion (as the current Board majority insisted on doing this May). (5) In the meantime, we will show the principal respect and work for a good 2012-2013 school year. But this issue is not just going to 'fade away' when the administration has done nothing substantive to correct its error. A leadership that makes decisions this poor is not the leadership that our kids and our community deserve, and it must answer for it in the next Board election, if the current majority on the school Board will not act before then.