Letter from Maupin parent to Board Member Chris Kolb:
Again I can’t thank you enough for all the time that has been spent trying to help us when you didn’t have to. When I read your comments yesterday, I was starting to be okay with Maupin possibly losing this program. It was not until I read the research paper that Dr. Herring and Joe Leffert created that made me rethink everything. Attachment C, that you can find on the board website talks about all the considerations or recommendations for Maupin Ele. This research paper was well written and clearly written to only side with those who believe that Maupin should not stay Catalpa. There was not one single attachment given to the board talking about the great things happening at Maupin. About any of the kids who have started to show signs of improvement. The kids who have improved in their reading levels or about how many of those kids last year who couldn’t identify those letters, how many can they now? What about how the slow implementation of this program was the downfall for the Catalpa model. What got me was these statements from that document the first being ” Both magnet parents and teaching staff have had difficulty understanding and discerning how to blend the Waldorf traditions with the KY Core Academic Standards, timelines, and benchmarks.” Not sure who that was supposed to be directed to, but I have no difficulty understanding or discerning anything. Most of my confusion is because of the false information I continue to receive from those with all the answers.
And then there was this statement “Waldorf education needs support of Waldorf parenting. Poor and working class parents employ different parenting practices (accomplishment of natural growth vs. concerted cultivation –Lareau) than their middle class counterparts”. They are absolutely correct but change would happen if we supported those poor and working class parents learn how to incorporate Waldorf parenting. That is exactly what I am trying to do but feel stalled having to fight this fight.
The other things they outlined were well documented but I would like to see what would this look like if we have known all of this last year. What would this have looked like if this time last year we were working to make improvements for the 16-17 school year.?Give MWhy didn’t they draw up all this last year right after the test scores came out? Were they holding on to a wish and a prayer instead of going in and making changes? Did they do all this just to watch it fail, just to see what would happen? They didn’t hurt anyone but the kids, it’s the kids that are affected not the adults.
Waldorf Education has several key differences from “Mainstream Education” including the following:
· Waldorf schools as well as their teachers require strict certification. A curriculum is followed which is considered developmentally appropriate within which the child has a certain amount of freedom to determine their own learning.
· Waldorf place a strong emphasis on imagination and children are encouraged to make their own toys from material at hand.
· Waldorf is outspoken about children not being exposed to popular media and social media. Computers are limited to the upper school grades as children should develop and create their own worlds.
· A strong sense of society is incorporated into the methodology – teaching children to look after themselves, think for themselves, caring for others and avoidance of violence. Teachers are encouraged to explore new ideas and to allow them to be guided by exploration of students.
· Textbooks are limited and mostly used to supplement learning such as math and grammar in the higher grades. Children compile their own “textbooks” through the year, filling them with information of their experiences of what they have learned.
· It is common that teachers stay with a class from first to eighth grade. This way a deep human relationship can be built, which is not possible where teachers frequently change.
· Reading is not taught until second grade. Waldorf educators believe that in the early years children should be read to, be told fairy tales to stimulate imagination and be allowed to play.
· In the Waldorf School writing is taught before reading and the alphabet is explored as a tool to communicate with others through pictures. This way writing evolves out of art and children’s doodles instead of reproduction of written content.
· In Waldorf schooling kindergarten is play-based and does not introduce alphabetic principles.
· Sample Primary (1-3 Grade) Curriculum is: Pictorial introduction to the alphabet, writing, reading, spelling, poetry and drama. Folk and fairy tales, fables, legends, Old Testament stories. Numbers, basic mathematical processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Nature stories, house building and gardening.
These things outlined here, if implemented properly, would change everything about the life of a student who lives in the West End. This is something beyond different but could be the answer to our kids learning issues. The kids who were tested never had the chance to spend a year under this training.
I urge you to vote No to this recommendation. As a community we will work to make this work. Give us what they promised 2 years ago and make sure the implementation is done correctly. I ask that they give us a chance to make it work and for us to show you that this program will not only change this school but it will change the community around this school. We need another year to show you, let my second grader who will be in 3rd grade next year show you want a JCPS student with Waldorf education looks like. She will show you how a kid on an IEP can impress you with her ability.
Maupin “Resides” Parent