Sunday, April 15, 2012

Friday the 13th with Mr. Staheli

I usually love Friday the 13th but this one was the worst! We were told on Thursday that Mr, Staheli was leaving and going to Riverside Elementary. Not because he wanted to but because the STUPID school board wanted to change 8 principals around just to "encourage fresh ideas and fresh energy". They were all told to change or quit and one actually did decide to retire early. I could not think of a worse way to "encourage fresh ideas and fresh energy". Uproot the principals? Why do that to him and the 600+ kids that adore and depend on him. Not to mention all of the parents and thousands of community members that he helps and contributes to by doing all of the parades, the Veterans Day Activities, hangs all the flags every holiday in the town and has taken every class to the Staheli farm for a free field trip every year. Mr. Staheli has raised more money for Washington Elementary than anyone could even imagine. Heritage Elementary is constantly asking me how we get all the free things we do and it is because of Burke and his amazing dedication to these kids and his great grant writing skills. We are the poorest Elementary school in the county but you would never guess by what our kids receive at this school. We have great during and after school programs that we would not have otherwise. We have 2 teachers that use bouncy balls as chairs in their classrooms because it helps the kids learn so well and they have gotten grants to do it. Burke has made Washington Elementary into a college school. "Where every kid, everyday, is college bound" is the motto and Burke makes them have that dream and helps them on the road to achieve it. These kids would NOT get this anywhere else. He also has 2 college scholarships for Dixie College for those kids that have graduated from Washington Elementary. He is amazing. He also has each and EVERY one of the kindergarten and first graders pass off the mandatory sight words to him so the teachers can use that time to help the rest of the class. He gives them a book when they do and signs it to each kid and tells them how proud he is of them. Burke was born and raised in Washington and went to Washington Elementary when he was a kid. This is his home and he was told to move or quit. It is NOT fair. I realize how great he is and so does everyone else which is probably why they want him to do the same thing at another school but why don't they just have a meeting every month and apply one of the things that Burke has started that works so well with out kids. And if there are other things at other schools that are incredible I'm sure that he'd love to hear them and try them out. But why in the world would you make them move and before school has even ended? We had an assembly to say good bye and I can't count how many kids were sobbing. It was so loud that you could hardly hear what Mr. Staheli was saying to the kids.

The only thing that the school board could and should have done was to put Braxton Bateman, seen here with Burke, in as the new principal. Braxton has been a friend of ours for about 7+ years when we lived in the same neighborhood and ward in Hurricane. He has been a teacher at Washington Elementary and this year has been the assistant principal. So you would think that if they wanted this to be a smooth, easier transition for the kids and the community then they would have put Braxton in there to carry on what Burke has already started and because the kids already know him. But they didn't! They gave us the Principal from Diamond Valley Elementary who lives 45 minutes away in Pine Valley and who is 2 years away from retirement! Our poor school needs energy and commitment. Not someone who just wants to relax away his last years. I'm sure he is an amazing person but I've heard he is easy going and that is NOT what we need. We need the energy and discipline to help these kids see their potential. I am upset and very sad to see this happen to this wonderful little community. On top of it all the new principal isn't coming for another couple of weeks because they can't find anyone to take his job. So they are having Braxton fill in! What the ...? Does that make sense to anyone?

After the assembly the kids went outside to let go of a balloon as Mr. Staheli went around and said goodbye to each kid. This all happened so fast that many parents didn't even know he was gone until their kid came home crying.

I am not giving up. There are thousands of us that are upset and are going to the next board meeting. But it isn't until May 5th. Now I know why they did it now instead of later. Clearly none of them have kids in Elementary otherwise this never would have happened.

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