During this past year, I have read articles and watched news reports and public comments about all the problems at Amity High School. To be honest, as someone who has probably spent more time in that building during my more than 35 years of teaching than almost any other educator, I admit problems exist. They exist as they do in almost every high school in the country and are nothing more or less than a reflection of the communities in which we live. Amity is not unique in having such problems, they are not new, and they are not ignored in the hopes that they will go away. From the day that I joined the Amity staff in the 1980s there have been workshops, special training, counselors, parent meetings, seminars, but most of all continuous work with students individually and in groups to help them grow into respectful and successful adults.
Amity’s culture is one of high expectations for every individual. If you are sending your child to a public high school, I can think of few that are better, which is the reason my family moved into the District more than forty years ago. My children went to school here and now my grandchildren. I have worked with thousands of students during my career. Some have had problems and working with our support systems we addressed them. They became part of an extraordinary student body with the assistance of dedicated teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals, office staff, custodians, and security staff. Amity graduates continue to contribute their skills and talents in all areas at the highest levels around the world.
In the few years since my retirement, I continue my relationship with Amity at sporting events, special programs in the arts and cultural events. I have spoken to hundreds of graduates and parents regularly who continuously express how grateful they are for the education they received at Amity. Yes, there are always stories about teachers they did not like, kids that caused trouble, and things we could have done differently, but that is all part of life. I have never held back when I thought someone needed advice. Our communities are fortunate to have a school like Amity. It is time to get off social media, cease denigrating teachers and administrators, stop calling news outlets, take politics out of education, and deal with real identified problems directly with the people involved. Amity can be better than ever, but only with the support of our communities and positive parent involvement. In attending various school activities, I have witnessed the high levels of achievement by Amity students working together. Maybe the adults in our communities could better emulate the kids in that respect.
Hoping for a better future