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Letter to Dr. Mark Bedell

Dr. Bedell,

I wanted to approach you personally and tell you what a great job I think you’re doing with the school district. As you know, it is only within recent memory that we’ve had superintendents that really made a difference, and you are one of them. Back in the 1990s, the situation with district executives was grim. I was a reporter in the mid-1990s and covered the school district during that tumultuous time. Mediocre leaders came and went. Every new executive brought with him new methods and theory that he never finished implementing. These seemingly well-intentioned changes whipped students around, as well as the professionals that had to conform to the latest trend in primary and secondary education. When bright, innovative administrators lead the district, they too often plucked their hats from the hat tree after a short time and high-tailed it to better money and less worry elsewhere.

My son Nick is at Lincoln. He started in the school district at Douglass Early Childhood Development, a school that I’m sad to say is gone now and whose presence is sorely missed here on the Westside. He went on to Primitivo Garcia, where he received great attention and expert teaching.

We live right around the corner from Primitivo and could be called to the school for any difficulty. And the school called us. Nick came to us out of a very difficult situation when he was four and a half. He was rough clay and very much a challenge for us as parents. While he was most often an asset to the classroom, there were times when he proved to be a handful for teachers. Fortunately, we were able to come sit in the classroom when he was facing problems and having issues. I don’t think we could have made it as parents, or that he would wind up being the student and young man he is without the teachers and administrators at the district schools he attended. We are very lucky and have a great deal of gratitude for all the help we received. This is testament to the wonderful teachers and paraprofessionals who led his classrooms.

He has been at Lincoln since sixth grade and will be a junior next year. He’s thrived in the learning environment the school provides. He is involved in after-school activities—Robotics and Latin Club (Classical Junior League). While he has done well, he is now experiencing those classes that he doesn’t like so well. As a college professor, I tell him: It doesn’t matter if you like the material or the teacher. Keep your head down. Do the work. Get the grade. You get good grades and you get to do just about anything you want.

He has a summer job with the Parks Department working with kids at Tony Aguirre Community Center. He is a well-adjusted, level-headed kid. We must credit the school district with at least some, if not much, of the poise and maturity he now displays.

I’m glad that the district, while facing its challenges in a trying environment (I’m not a fan of charter schools, but that is a subject for an entirely different narrative), has reached a period of relative calm and advancement under your leadership and the previous administration of Dr. Stephen Green. I hope you will continue in your position for a long time to come.

Many thanks. I wish you all the best.

Dr. Patrick Dobson

1717 Jarboe St.

Kansas City, MO 64108

816-896-4746

http://patrickdobson.com/

 

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