Brooklyn Park parents work to stop transfer of elementary principal PTA sends letters home with students urging support of the effort

May 29, 1998|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,SUN STAFF

Parents of Brooklyn Park Elementary School students are pleading with their state representatives and school board members to save their principal, Michael Trippett, from being transferred to another school.

"We are making up a packet of letters in support of Trippett that will be sent to all the school board members over the weekend," said John Murawski, vice president of the PTA.

The PTA sent a letter home with each of the school's 480 students explaining the transfer and asking parents who oppose the move to sign the letters and return them. About 200 letters have been returned.

Trippett "has been there for a while and knows the parents and the students and the teachers," said Barbara Thompkinson, whose son is a sixth-grader at the school. "If we lose him, it's like losing the father of the school."

Trippett, principal for 11 years, told parents last week he expects to be transferred. Jane Doyle, a school spokeswoman, said yesterday the transfer is part of routine moves within the system to accommodate retirements, promotions and staffing needs.

"Certainly, what is best for the school and the students [is] taken into consideration," Doyle said.

The staff changes will be announced at the school board meeting Wednesday at the Board of Education building on Riva Road in Annapolis. Transfers do not require school board approval and are made final by Superintendent Carol S. Parham.

Michele Murawski, whose son is a first-grader at Brooklyn Park, said she called her state legislators and Janet Bury, school board member from north county, as soon as she heard of the transfer.

Bury said all staffing changes will be discussed during a closed session just before the public part of next week's board meeting.

"I will make my support for extending his time there another year," she said. "Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances, and in this case the issue is north county equity. Our sixth-graders are still attending elementary school when they should be going to a junior high school."

Bury and the parents said Trippett has been a strong advocate of converting the old Brooklyn Park High School on Hammonds Lane into a middle school, with the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts, a senior center and offices for county agencies in part of the building. That project is to be completed in 2000.

Parents credit Trippett with helping improve standardized test scores and increasing PTA membership. There have been more new fund-raising activities, such as dances and partnerships with local businesses, they say.

"If the school is showing signs of improvement, why move him just to see him rotate with the other principals?" Murawski said. "I believe in the old saying that if it isn't broken, why fix it?"

Pub Date: 5/29/98

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