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Roland Park Middle is no academic sweatshop

Middle SchoolsSchoolsBaltimore School for the ArtsPTA

I feel compelled to address the issues discussed in Erica Green's recent article specific to Roland Park Elementary/Middle School ("Roland Park parents push for middle-school recess," Sept. 23).

I am the parent of a current Roland Park Elementary 5th grader and also the parent of a recent middle school graduate. My son is now one of only 18 freshman accepted to the theater program at Baltimore School for the Arts. He was also accepted to the highly challenging and competitive "Ingenuity Program" offered at Poly. This is, in large part, due to the education and arts programming he received at RPEMS. Our families are fortunate to have such opportunities and recognize that we are unique in many ways to other Baltimore City schools, not to mention the state of Maryland.

I want to make clear that Sandy Summers does not speak for all of the 70-plus parents involved in the middle school recess discussions and most certainly, does not speak for the parents of the nearly 1,300 students currently enrolled at RPEMS. To suggest that parents of our nearly 700 middle school students are subjecting their children to a correctional institute environment is not only preposterous but insulting, not to mention the insult to our principal, Carolyn Cole, her staff and our teachers.

The parent community of RPEMS is always looking to work in partnership with our administration to improve the well being of all of our students. It is not with out its challenges as we grapple with the reality of severe budget cuts while still meeting the academic needs of all of our students. Our faculty is faced every day with preparing our students for high school and beyond. The need to keep our children competitive in our ever changing world is profound and a responsibility that is taken with the seriousness it deserves.

Can we look to constantly improve the schedule and environment for our students? You bet. Roland Park is no different from any other school, working to provide the best possible education for the whole child in that regard. We are all focused on the academic, emotional and physical health for every student.

This is about parents working in collaboration with school officials to achieve these goals — not setting the stage for defensiveness.

JoAnne Huey, Baltimore

The writer is PTA president at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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