Wilde Lake High principal a 'visionary'Visionaries such as...

LETTERS

March 22, 1998

Wilde Lake High principal a 'visionary'

Visionaries such as Roger Plunkett, principal of Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, know that positive and productive change often requires adaptation to what is best for the majority and release of a self-serving or territorial perspective, which holds to the "we have always done it this way" philosophy.

Mr. Plunkett is apparently operating completely within the framework of authority granted to and used by every principal in Howard County.

The media blitz and personal vendettas of a small but vocal group of dissenters would dissipate if participants came to the realization that being a responsible and accountable leader does not require pleasing all of the people (or loudest dissenters) all of the time.

As an administrator with a proven track record at Atholton and Hammond high schools, and as Maryland's current Principal of the Year, Mr. Plunkett deserves the continued backing and support of students, parents, staff members and Howard County Public Schools officials.

They have been eyewitnesses to the remarkable, metamorphic and necessary changes that Mr. Plunkett has already made at Wilde Lake High School.

Deborah Tolson

Columbia

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Roger Plunkett has brought about many needed improvements from the conditions that went unchecked at Wilde Lake High School for years.

We now have an administration that is effective, visible and caring. From all indications, most of the staff is pleased with these improvements. Those who prefer chaos, unprofessionalism, favoritism and a negative school image should request a transfer.

My understanding is that the proposed schedule change is designed to improve learning and test scores. (Wilde Lake's test scores are the lowest of all the high schools in Howard County.) What has benefited a few students in the past is being modified to benefit far more students.

Wilde Lake finally has a good administrator who just happens to be African-American.

Apparently, it's not what he is proposing that is the problem. It's the color of his skin. Shame on you.

Hilda D. Barrett

Columbia

The writer is a retired teacher and a substitute.

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I would differ slightly with the paper's conclusions in its Feb. 25 editorial "Aiming for excellence at Wilde Lake."

When The Sun writes that "critics of the proposal first need to put aside their emotion in evaluating Mr. Plunkett's suggestions," it ignores the difference between a proposal and policy.

Many parents were dismayed when they were ignored in the decision to change class schedules. Parents get the idea that "suggestions" really are useless. The program is a "done deal" with four-period days not far off.

As is frequently the case in the thinking of today's educators, we allow dumbing down at the expense of lifting up.

The newspaper notes that Mr. Plunkett says "many" -- how many? -- "students use 'supe study' to go to the gym or do homework rather than push themselves academically."

To eliminate this condition, we simply remove the option from those who use it properly and those who don't. Can it be shown that students who remain in core subjects benefit more by staying there than those who "supe out"?

The principal also claims that, "some teachers are as guilty as students of not using 'supe study' time wisely."

So, the answer is obvious: Penalize the good students for the actions of teachers. And of course, we never talk about "personnel" problems in public.

Another quote: "Wilde Lake says 240 of its 1,400 students are at risk academically." Assuming that the "satisfactory" level can be attained by all, it would seem that 1,160 are managing to stay afloat.

Can the cause for the poor performance of the 240 be traced to "suping out"? Perhaps in some cases the problem lies with parents, teachers or even the students.

The Sun concludes that "more meetings should be held, if necessary." Who decides if it is necessary?

And finally, "Then the principal should be allowed to use those opinions to make the changes that benefit the most students."

Is there any sign from the administration that this did or will occur? Not from the meetings I attended, despite the fact that parents now have Mr. Plunkett's attention.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Venison gift to charities was appreciated

I want to thank the following people for making the last deer season a huge success.

Because of their generousity and hard work, more than 4,000 pounds of venison were distributed to local charities, including the Salvation Army and the North County Emergency Outreach Network in Glen Burnie:

To all the hunters in Anne Arundel, Howard and Montgomery counties and elsewhere who donated 94 deer to the program.

To Anne Arundel County Police Officer Brian Riddle and his helpers from the Southern District who helped me cope with more deer than I could handle (32 deer, which yielded at least 1,000 pounds).

To Glen Jenkins of Hunters Haven, who contributed 1,050 pounds.

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