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Letter to my Students and their Parents...

posted Oct 4, 2011, 8:42 PM by Kevin Chow   [ updated Oct 4, 2011, 8:44 PM ]
Dear students and their parents,

With deep regret, I must inform you all that, effective Thursday, Periods 2 and 6 will be closed and all students in those classes reprogrammed into other classes. This is, of course, an event both unexpected and unwelcome. We have worked together at the very cutting edge of educational philosophy as well as technology these past five weeks, and the gains we have made are tremendous. We collaborated to create a vibrant online community; we formed groups to make learning alive; we questioned, searched, and analyzed not just the academic standards but the very identities of ourselves. You, who will one day seize the reins of a brave new world, have proven yourselves capable to take on all that this new economy will ask of you. 

It is not for any fault of either you or I that this must occur. Your principal, Dr. Mendoza, your Assistant Principal, Mr. Paez, and all the teachers as well as researchers across the United States have been impressed by all we have accomplished in our time together. Rather, this is the result of decisions made by those whom we are obligated to honor. 

I offered to take into my 9th Honors class all the students from Ms. Woodruff's class as well as all the students in Ms. Thrashers' Acad. Lit class into my 4th Period Acad. Lit class. I offered, too, to come in an hour early each day to serve as Technology Coordinator for the school - for no pay if it would help. 

But it is the determination of the administration that the school, and her students, would be best served by these changes. And, while my first instinct is to stand my ground, I realize that this, too, is a lesson to teach. Often, I have asked of you things that are above and beyond what most students are required to do - keeping extensive notes, maintaining online accounts even when you don't have internet at home, completing advanced technology projects with people you barely know. Now that I myself am asked to do something difficult, I too need to trust in the administrators' vision just as you have placed your trust in mine. 

And, there is the Value of Duty - the duty to do my best as a professional within an institution. Ultimately, as Tennyson wrote, "ours is not to reason why".

It is fitting, then, that we spent this week reading Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". We stand where two roads diverge, you and I, and here it seems our ways must part for now. I give you these words as both consolation and encouragement - you will be remembered, and you will always be welcome in room 40. 

So, Bagel Raiders. Go forward - out into your new classes, and be forces of change wherever you go. Teach other students and even teachers what we have developed together, and help them see that learning isn't merely about standards - it's about life and finding out who we are. Hold everyone to high standards, question everything, and most of all hold yourself to the high standards that define us as collaborative, critically thinking, lifetime learners. 

Tomorrow, we will meet for the last time. Bring your book and we will spend an hour talking about the road we've traveled and where these roads will take us next.

With warm regards,
Mr. Chow,

PS: We still have Edmodo :)