Dear [Insert School Name]:

First, I would like to say thank you for hiring [insert teacher name].  She made the days my son spent in her classroom inspiring and full of genuine care.  I am a teacher of seventeen years who filled the roles of Literacy Specialist, Language Acquisition Facilitator, Literacy Coach, and Reading Recovery Teacher; within those roles, I had a macro look at each building I served.  I observed skillful teachers who also knew how to manage a class and deliver content in an engaging way.  [Insert teacher name] exceeded the mark, each day with my son.  And, there was quite a bit of evidence on this, as well, from the parents who shared their views with me.

Second, the overall environment of [insert school name], I found to offer a sense of calm, aesthetically pleasing in every way; the solid wood lunch tables, thoughtfully designed and written quotes on the walls, warm and cool colors mixed with a high-class presence, clean and tidy floors, bathrooms, gym room, and lunch room.  I felt welcomed to walk into the building.  I found the front office staff knowledgeable and friendly.

Third, grade one, grade two, and all the way through high school, in my opinion, are well identified as students or learners, certainly not scholars.  It is an insult to those who have titles such as M. Ed, Ph.D., M.D., J.D., and the like.  Those abbreviations are a recognition of scholars who worked, labored, researched, studied, were reviewed, critiqued, fell hard, stumbled, and kept going.  A first grader or a high schooler, are in process of learning and rightfully so.  They are on a journey to a scholar.  I found my son being referred to as a scholar suffocating and ridiculous.  I saw a young boy and a classroom full of young minds having an expectation put upon them that set them up to fail rather than succeed.  Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., author of Mindset, refers to the use of labels both “positive” and “negative” as detrimental.  She writes, “Do you label your kids?  This one is the artist and that one is the scientist.  Next time, remember that you’re not helping them – even though you may be praising them.  Remember our study where praising kids’ ability lowered their IQ scores.  Find a growth-mindset way to compliment them.”

The label of scholars in conjunction with the workload, endless papers, worksheets, and rote learning is unproductive.  There are Einstein quotes in your building about the importance of play and imagination, which are contrary to the massive workload – which I suspect is related to an idea about rigor; a misalignment in philosophy worth revamping.

Fourth, I appreciate the educational experience for my son, especially because [insert teacher name] was his teacher.

Kind regards,

Insert Name Here

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