Hettleman right about Baltimore's potential

December 28, 2009

As one who has labored for many years among Baltimore's educational systems, I was pleased to read Kalman Hettleman's article in this morning's Sun ("Alonso's focus on principals carries benefits and risks," Dec. 23). I concur with his opinion of Baltimore schools CEO Andres Alonso's efforts and, particularly, with his comment about the necessity for worthwhile professional development efforts.

For many years, and in schools both public and private, I have witnessed the groans on the part of faculty when professional development days or sessions are scheduled. On the other hand, I would like to cite the fine work being done at Northwestern High School in this regard. For example, I witnessed a session involving teachers from several different disciplines working together to analyze a series of test questions that had been posed to students. The aim was to clarify, eliminate confusion and ensure that the questions asked what they were intended to. Other sessions have been equally worthwhile.

There are many positive things to be said about Northwestern, not a magnet school, not a charter school, merely one to serve a not-very-advanced student population. The halls are clean; there is an ongoing communication system so that students who are congregating where they should not are located, students seem involved, and those doing bridge projects (because they have been unable to pass the High School Assessment tests) are respected and encouraged.

I applaud the principal and the staff of Northwestern High School and hope that their efforts are being duplicated in many of the other high schools.Stephanie Miller, Baltimore

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