Here is the email I wrote earlier today to Ed Holmes, Art Rainwater, Pam Nash, Mary Gulbrandsen, and the seven members of the BOE, followed by the reply I just received from Ed Holmes:
Hello, everyone. I wonder if one of you would please send us a status report on the plans for 10th grade English at West for next year? Many of us have written to you multiple times about this matter, but without any reply. We are trying to be patient, polite, collaborative and upbeat (despite the fact that we are feeling frustrated, ignored and stonewalled).
Specifically, would one of you please tell us:
1) what will be printed in the 2006-07 West course catalogue about 10th grade English? (when is the printer deadline, by the way? has it already passed? if so, please send us a copy of the text that will appear for the English Department course offerings)
2) when will an English 10 update be posted on the West website? (we were told it would be there early this week — it’s still not)
3) when will we be provided with West HS and MMSD data that support this proposal as a way to address the low achievement in English for some groups of West students (as described and defined in the West SLC report on English 10)?
4) when will we be provided with the citations for the empirical studies upon which this proposal — and the apparent District-wide move to heterogeneous classes in our middle and high schools — is being based? (presumably you have already done a literature search on this topic, so a reference list must exist somewhere that can easily be sent to us)
5) we heard a rumor almost two weeks ago that the English 10 curriculum will be tried as a pilot project only next year; is that true? (we have written to several of you, asking specifically about that rumor; but no one has replied)
6) has anyone followed through on my idea to connect with Emily Auerbach and the Odyssey Project (www.odyssey.wisc.edu), either for West only or for the District, generally?
Thanks for getting back to us with the answers to these questions as soon as possible.
I received the following reply from Ed Holmes:
We had hoped to have the information regarding English 10 online early this week. We are still working on the final piece of information before it is to go out to the public. We are really close. We have a number of people reviewing the plan to be sure all aspects of the proposal are clear and correct. We have not submitted anything that will be an official course description for English 10 at this time. I know the course of study deadline is of concern but we will delay its submission until we have all the accurate information needed.
This process is one where we must be meticulous. What we say must be clear and accurately reflect our plan. Anything that comes from West High school becomes part of the public domain. It is not only a reflection of me but everyone who is a part of the West High school community. I cannot release the information until it complete.
I appreciate your patience and understand your frustration in this challenging process.
Ed Holmes, Principal
West High School