City shouldn’t close Monarch Academy

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD -

As a Bal­ti­more City teacher, I found my­self both de­lighted and dis­heart­ened by the re­cent ar­ti­cle in The Bal­ti­more Sun (“At­tacks on Bal­ti­more school em­ploy­ees re­vive dis­cus­sions about stu­dent dis­ci­pline,” Nov. 29). As stated in the ar­ti­cle, sys­tem CEO Sonja San­telises and her ad­min­is­tra­tion plan to fo­cus on “stu­dent whole­ness” by im­ple­ment­ing restora­tive prac­tices, im­prov­ing school cli­mate andteach­ing de-es­ca­la­tion strate­gies.

As a teacher at Monarch Academy Bal­ti­more City, I am proud to be part of a school com­mu­nity where our mis­sion and daily prac­tice sup­ports “stu­dent whole­ness.” Each day, the staff at Monarch Academy Bal­ti­more City works to en­sure that the needs of the whole child are met. This in­cludes men­tal health ser­vices, trans­porta­tion, food, cloth­ing and most re­cently ac­cess to af­ford­able hous­ing. Each day our stu­dents are pro­vided with a safe and nur­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment, brain-based strate­gies, and so­cial and emo­tional learn­ing to en­sure their suc­cess in­side and out­side the class­room. These rea­sons, among­manyothers, are whyIhave­cho­sento be a teacher at Monarch Academy.

Al­though I am de­lighted that Bal­ti­more City Pub­lic Schools plans to fo­cus on “stu­dent whole­ness,” I am ex­tremely dis­heart­ened by the rec­om­men­da­tion to close Monarch Academy Bal­ti­more City. Clos­ing Monarch Academy would mean clos­ing an in­sti­tu­tion that ser­vices the “stu­dent whole­ness” of 1,000 chil­dren and an en­tire com­mu­nity. I in­vite Ms. San­telises to visit Monar­chA­cade­myBal­ti­more City in or­der to see first hand how we sup­port the whole child aca­dem­i­cally, so­cially, and emo­tion­ally. As Ms. San­telises stated in the ar­ti­cle in ref­er­ence to stu­dent dis­ci­pline, “each sit­u­a­tion de­serves to be looked at within the proper con­text.” I ask the same for Monarch Academy. We are a school that sup­ports the whole child, the whole fam­ily and the whole com­mu­nity.

Diana Civera Speer, Bal­ti­more

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