Ms. Diamond, Superintendent Morris and FUSD School Board: We want Ms. Diamond to reconsider proposed Mattos Elementary School policy changes
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In the June 12, 2013 Mattos Elementary School newsletter, Ms. Diamond included a note introducing herself and expressed excitement at becoming the principal at Mattos in the Fall. The introduction was followed by a note regarding “Birthdays/Special Celebrations” that felt curt, pejorative in tone and frivolous. Invoking the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Wellness Policy in order to “support instructional minutes and healthy eating habits,” Ms. Diamond has stated that birthday recognitions and other special celebrations will be “strictly limited.” Additionally, Ms. Diamond has stated that there will be a ban on all food being brought for celebrations.
• First these changes are an overreach beyond district policy; they go far beyond the guidelines set forth in the FUSD Wellness Policy. Rather than adopting and imposing unwarranted “all or nothing” policies regarding food and celebrations, teachers and parents should be given the resources to support and reinforce healthy celebrations within each of the classes.
• Second, these changes are an overreaction. Most birthday recognitions are already held during the lunch period, recess times or at the close of the school day. Additionally, “other” celebrations are planned at the discretion of teachers to enhance the educational experience of their students. Rather than issuing what seems to be an unwarranted school-wide directive, teachers should be offered the professional courtesy and trust to provide a positive and quality education experience, which includes social and emotional learning as well as academic. Teachers failing to meet educational standards should be dealt with on an individual basis.
• Lastly, the manner and tone in which Ms. Diamond’s note was delivered is inconsistent with the strong culture of parent-staff partnership that is characteristic of Mattos Elementary. Rather than meeting with children, parents and staff to assess and address needs that are a priority to the Mattos family, Ms. Diamond has chosen to issue a directive in such a way that disenfranchises the children, parents and staff prior to building a relationship with the Mattos community.
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