May 29, 2019

Dear Families,

We like feedback at 75 Morton. It is why I have three email accounts. It is why I stay for entire PTA meetings in case you want to pull me aside or talk to me when the meeting ends. It is why my office door is literally always open and you do not go through various people to make a meeting. It is why I (and the staff) try to answer emails within 24 hours – to the very best of our ability.

So we received two forms of feedback last week.

Here is the hard feedback:

We have been hiring substitutes to cover our teachers so that they can do important planning and reflection work. The subs have been struggling with the behaviors of some of our students. The feedback has come from your children who have said, “Enough! We want our teachers back!” While we have addressed the behaviors that have deeply disappointed us and our community, we still have work to do. Therefore, we are changing our planning system and keeping our strong and wonderful staff with your strong and wonderful children. If a staff member is absent moving forward, it is because of illness, family emergencies, or a district meeting that we cannot miss. Your children’s feedback is hugely important to us.

Here is the GLORIOUS feedback:

We have been working with i2Learning to pilot an outstanding STEM program in the 7th grade, which we hope to bring to our entire school community next year. We are the first NYC public school that has partnered with the organization, which works with the entire Boston public school system. i2Learning generously trained our staff, and then our 7th grade students spent every day last week with their Advisories doing STEM projects. The trainer told me that this group of teachers was among the best she had ever trained. The founder of the program, Ethan Berman, visited on Thursday with some important funders – and they were all AMAZED by the focus of the students, the projects they produced, the expertise of the teachers, and the tone in all of the classrooms. Their feedback confirmed what we already know: our students have abilities and characters that will lead them to success.

We have so much to be proud of at 75 Morton and, while the work we have done in less than two years is in so many ways breathtaking, we still have stronger systems to put in place, and work to do in more than one area. We know that and embrace the challenge – with your feedback and support.

With respect,