The Phones May Be Getting Smarter, But Not the People Who Use Them
To the woman who sat at the all-way stop sign in still-busy downtown Rye one night, confounding other drivers when she didn’t take her turn, then, after everyone waited, finally glided into the intersection with her eyes only watching the digital device she thumbed in her right hand, just one question: Why do they call them smartphones when people do such dumb things with them?
— Lori Fontanes
Increasing the Network of Mutuality
As we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. just a few short weeks ago, I am reminded that he once remarked, “All men are caught up in an inescapable network of mutuality.” For the past five years, in our separate, but inescapably linked communities, a program, Tools for Change, has brought together students from three different local high schools — Blind Brook, Port Chester, and Rye Neck. We’d now like to include students from Rye High School.
The League of Women Voters of Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester has been a program sponsor from its beginning, and I am writing this letter as a member of the League’s Board of Directors.
Tools for Change (www.tools4changeseminar.com) gets teenagers from diverse backgrounds to conduct research, analyze, and solve community problems. Dr. William Tobin from Duke University teaches the seminar. As Dr. Tobin has written, “Tools grows young people who not only possess disciplined analytical and interpretive skills, as well as empathy and wisdom, but can bring these traits to bear on local challenges that have national and global dimensions. The focus of Tools is not to transmit knowledge, but instead to teach a style for engaging the world so that new and existing knowledge and data can be productively organized, analyzed and used.”
The multi-faceted program has brought together students and teachers, parents, and school board members from Port Chester, Rye Neck, and Blind Brook.
Dr. Tobin is anxious to have students from Rye City join the seminar beginning this month. (Interested students, parents and/or community members can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The program is funded through a public-private partnership. Public donors have included the Town of Rye, Building Community Bridges/One World and, this year, the County of Westchester. The public’s help is encouraged and needed if this worthwhile program is to continue. An on-line fundraising campaign through the crowd-sourcing website IncitED has recently been completed, and tax-deductible donations have been coming in through the League of Women Voters (http://lwvrrbpc.org) or by mail to P.O. Box 194, Rye, NY 10580.
Volunteers are needed, as chaperones and in other capacities. This worthwhile program is a “two-way street,” benefiting not only the students but also the adults who are so much a part of it. Those who wish to give of their time may contact the League through the website or by mail.
— Gary Zuckerman
Frustration Growing Over Lack of Communication From School Administration
As Rye resident and retired teacher Shelley Karlen recently wrote in a letter to the Rye City School District, “rumor mills create their own ‘truth’ when no other sense can be made. That, unfortunately, is the corner that both this Board and the academic leadership of the District have painted themselves into at this juncture. In your corner, however, are many irate residents, I being one who has seen the legal budget line depleted in January and in a tightly capped budget, eight teachers being paid instead of four.”
The Rye teacher suspension question is not the only thing the community — parents and faculty, alike — would like to see resolved quickly and fairly.
Because the suspension of the four elementary school teachers has dragged on since last spring without much explanation from the School District, it has created mounting frustration in the community. Parents and taxpayers are speaking out — in emails, on blogs — on what they perceive to be a general lack of transparency and communication on the part of the School District.
The community is upset about a lot of issues. Milton School parent Sean Dougherty told the paper that Milton parents received a letter from Principal Dr. Joanne Nardone last Friday stating that leave-replacement teacher Nancy DuPuis would no longer be teaching first grade, because a teacher who had been on maternity leave was returning to work.
“Over half of the parents are decidedly unhappy about the decision,” said Dougherty. “It was thrust upon us mid-year, when the children are settled and doing well. We are requesting an audience with the District or Milton faculty to stop this.” He noted that the returning teacher would not be replacing Ms. DuPuis.
Others have questioned whether Rye High School Principal Patty Taylor should receive tenure this year because of her lack of qualifications. They claim they have tried to talk to the Administration with little success. They are concerned that several talented assistant principals have left within the last two years and wonder why Mrs. Taylor isÂ also back running the Guidance Department.
The Rye Record has made repeated requests to Superintendent Dr. Frank Alvarez to discuss all of these issues with no success.
Meanwhile, frustration mounts and the suspended teachers, as well as Mrs. Taylor, are left in the middle, subject to speculation.