Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

October 12, 2003

Criticism of school, principal unfounded

The criticism of the leadership of Mrs. Mary Day, principal of Howard High School ("High School Principal To Press Lawsuit," Oct. 5; "Leave Timing Questioned At Howard High," Oct. 8) is entirely without merit and is indicative of the continuing opposition to the leadership of African American educators in Howard County. This is one more of a string of similar incidents of harassment of black administrators.

Mrs. Day exemplifies the qualities and characteristics of an outstanding administrator. She is deeply committed to academic excellence and the emotional, social and intellectual needs of her students.

This commitment is demonstrated by work days that typically begin at 7:15 a.m. and end at 9:30 p.m. Weekends and holidays are not time-outs for Mrs. Day, since most are spent at school or at school-related activities.

What has this hard work accomplished? For years, Howard High School has been champions on the It's Academic television program. Little or no news coverage has been received for this accomplishment despite the submission of numerous press releases.

Mrs. Day lobbied extensively for the establishment of a regional Special Education Center, which was ultimately placed at Mt. Hebron High School instead of Howard High School.

While principal at the Howard School of Technology, she was a major planner of the Tech-Magnet Program that presently exists at River Hill and Long Reach High Schools. Mrs. Day initiated the Academy of Finance at Howard High School after extensive networking efforts with major businesses and financial institutions both locally and nationally.

The program was extended to include River Hill High School after her efforts in establishing this resource in Howard County.

She has also initiated several engineering programs at Howard High School, including Project Lead the Way and the Engineering Design Program. The Emergency Medical Program (EMT) has also been established at Howard High School under the leadership of Mrs. Day.

At no time has Mrs. Day been given recognition for her innovative ideas and practices, leadership actions that have benefited all of Howard County.

Who are these people who are questioning the use of earned leave? The request for leave was approved long before Howard High was named a School Improvement Unit (S.I.U.) school. Mrs. Day had worked all summer, the only building administrator on duty for the Summer Bridge Program. She interviewed new teachers and readied the school for opening for teachers and students. All this was accomplished despite serious family tragedies.

Howard High School is not a struggling school. Students, parents and staff are generally hard-working, enthusiastic and successful. The standing of Howard High on recent Maryland State Assessments needs to be re-visited because the NAACP review of data distributed on the Internet differs from local data in several areas.

Although Howard High is not the top-ranked school in Howard County, it stands head and shoulders above a majority of the high schools in the state. The recent article by Sun reporter Michael Olesker provides evidence of the academic excellence of Howard High School.

A visit to the school will show gleaming halls, orderly, courteous and focused students and dedicated staff busily engaged in the business of instructional excellence.

It was refreshing to read the positive comments of Mrs. Melody Higgins, a Howard High parent. Her assessment of Mrs. Day is accurate and is shared by most of her students, their parents and the school's staff. It was disappointing and disheartening to read the implied lack of support for Mrs. Day by school officials.

In this time of educational reform, it is critical that all efforts be directed toward academic excellence. Our education leaders need to be applauded and supported for their efforts on behalf of or children. The future of this country is at stake.

Jenkins Odoms Jr. Natalie Woodson

The writers are, respectively, president of the Howard County NAACP and chairwoman of that group's education committee.

Find humane way to control deer

I understand that, starting Oct. 15, Howard County is giving the so-called hunters a free pass to kill and maim as many deer as they possibly can. They have targeted five parks. Just one of them, about 30 wooded acres, contains stands for eight bow hunters and eight shotgun hunters. Unsuspecting and defenseless deer are baited with food, then slaughtered in the most cruel and savage manner.

I wonder about the chance of driving by any of these killing grounds, and a terrified deer with an arrow in it jumps in front of my car.

I am not only opposed to such practice. I am deeply offended by it. The use of bow-hunting as a way to control the deer population is barbaric. This macabre sport will only benefit a club of blood-thirsty individuals while it sends us back into the dark ages where this sport should be left to rest.

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