Citizens For A Better Norwood

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Letter to Allison Elementary parents and guardians

Channel 5 aired a story yesterday (see blog directly below) about the effort underway by a group of Allison Elementary parents to persuade the BOE to renew Principal Scott Counts’ contract. In addition to going public with Channel 5 about the issue, they are circulating the letter below to other Allison parents and community members that documents Mr. Counts’ achievements since he replaced Kim Kappler four years ago.

Many of us recall the upheaval during Ms. Kappler’s stint as principal when parents persuaded the BOE to replace her after one year. Subsequently, the BOE allowed a committee of Allison parents to participate in choosing the new principal among a field of finalists. Having allowed parents to help select Mr. Counts, should the BOE invite a new committee of parents to have input on whether or not his contract is renewed?

Dear Allison Parents and Guardians,

Our school board has decided to throw four years of hard work and positive change down the drain. They have decided they are not going to renew Mr. Counts, our principal’s, contract for next year. They have said that we need a “strong disciplinarian” and that our test scores need to go up.

Yes, we do need a strong disciplinarian and our test scores do need to improve. We know that Mr. Counts has and is continuing to address both issues and a ton of other ones that he was faced with since his hire four years ago. When Mr. Counts came to our school we had very out of control discipline problems, low staff morale, bad reading curriculum and scores, and parents who felt like our hands were tied. That is not the case anymore!

Our discipline/ behavior referrals have gone down by more than half in the past two years. This is all documented by a behavior referral tracking system that Mr. Counts implemented two years ago. Discipline is not an issue and has not been for at least two years.

Our test scores have not all gone up, but if you look at the website you will see that our school met all but one of the AYP (adequate yearly performance) goals, which was math. Our performance index scores, which show the trend in school achievement, have gone from 79 in the 04-05 school year to 87.9 in the 06-07 school year. Mr. Counts can not be expected to perform miracles and miraculously clean up a mess of years of poor administration and curriculum in a short amount of time. It takes time and hard work all of which he has done.

Mr. Counts has gone above and beyond what has been asked of him to make our school a better place and is succeeding:
1. Discipline issues are at an all time low – this is documented.
2. Parent involvement has grown every year.
3. New great teachers have been added to the strong core of teachers that have remained – Miss McDonald, Miss Wilson, Miss Barker, Miss Hutchinson, Mrs. Smith, Mr. Dykes, Mrs. Kauffman, Mrs. Martini etc…
4. Our teachers are supported and able to do their jobs because they have an administrator who is willing to support them in a way that actually works.
5. A new reading curriculum was implemented two years ago, which is already beginning to show a positive change in our reading scores.
6. Every year he has had glowing performance reviews – this is public record.
7. He is always available to parents who have questions or concerns.

8. Our children are treated with respect, dignity, and genuine care.

Our children deserve a principal who cares for them and wants them to succeed. They also need some consistency, getting another principal who has to learn the ins and outs of our school will only hurt our children and disrupt the progress that is already happening. We need to keep Mr. Counts. Please contact our school board and ask for the real reason Mr. Counts is not being renewed for next school year. You can find their emails and phone numbers on You can also show your concern and support by attending the next school board meeting at Allison on February 21st.


Concerned Allison Parents

If you have any questions about this please feel free to call any of the following Allison Parents: Jen Seurkamp 731-6427 Kathy Baker 731-3234 Greg Prewitt 351-6366 Mindy Perry 349-4811