A reasonable request for D97

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Does District 97 really help every child learn, grow and achieve?

Since late October, I have been having a discussion with personnel at Julian Middle School regarding offering Spanish tutoring before school starts at 9 a.m. My child has a need. I did not realize this would be a request that was unobtainable. 

Upon asking my child's Spanish Language teacher about morning tutoring, she said no. It was offered by appointment only during one half of the lunch period, changing as needed and in the afternoon till 4 or 4:15, possibly. I explained to her that my child really needs to eat and my husband and I both work the regular 9 to 5 p.m. grind, not getting home till 5:30-6. 

I took my request to Principal Fitzgerald via email. After my second request, he responded. No, the Spanish teachers have other obligations; they cannot offer Spanish tutoring to students in the morning before school. 

This past mid-December, I took my request to Amy Warke, chief academic and accountability officer. I explained to her that I felt it was unreasonable. There are four Spanish teachers at Julian. My suggestion would be that the four Spanish teachers could rotate so only one of the teachers would have to come in early — one morning once a week, or maybe twice a month offering Spanish Language tutoring to the 900 plus Julian Middle School students in the morning before school. This would only conflict with their other obligations possibly once a month. Dr. Warke was very understanding and assured me she would speak to the principal.

Sending Dr. Warke an email around Jan. 7 reminding her of my request, she replied in an email to contact Principal Fitzgerald. 

 The parents and the community as a whole support Oak Park District 97 with a passion, passing increased school funding referendums, offering our personal expertise with specific skills and backgrounds, volunteering, and fundraising.

My request cannot be met? 

Lisa Kirk

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Les Golden  

Posted: February 4th, 2019 8:38 PM

Have one of her A-student friends in the class come over on Friday or Saturday nights to tutor. Then give them cookies and milk as a reward.

Rachel Stark from Oak Park  

Posted: February 4th, 2019 4:17 PM

"My request cannot be met?" No, your very specific, unwavering, self-centered, myopic request cannot be met. However, your child was offered an alternative option which was lunchtime tutoring. The fact you refuse to have your child make a single sacrifice is quite hilarious. Scarf down your lunch. If you don't like it, improve to the point you don't need tutoring. Ridiculous and hilarious all at once.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: February 4th, 2019 12:11 PM

I agree with Telle Tellz: Ms. Kirk comes across as extremely "entitled."

George Irving Thompson from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2019 11:27 PM

I have to agree withTelle Tellz. Lisa needs to focus on encouraging her child to do well, perhaps with private tutoring if needed. But don't blame your child's problem on the school or the teachers. I'm glad Lisa is concerned about her child's success but she could be damaging her child's attitude if she is communicating the problem in the same way to her student as she is in the article. There is nothing reasonable about her request.

Telle Tellz  

Posted: February 2nd, 2019 8:45 PM

Really?! Wow, as a parent of a student who also attends Julian/Once Struggled in Spanish/Goes to after school sessions/Improved his grade, I can't help but to say "how entitled" this author comes off with the given platform. The real question is what is this student doing DURING class that he isn't grasping the concepts taught during class time. We are talking about middle school where these kids idle and socialize to no end. As a result, your only solution (without real compromise) is to keep the teachers hostage without pay, because you simply don't like the grade little John or Jane Doe EARNED. Or, the hours the teachers are physically available to VOLUNTEER THEIR TIME???? Additionally, since when this is ever up for debate...academics will ALWAYS trump EXTRA curricular activities any day of the week. In fact, most school sports' coaches/activities leaders won't allow you to participate, if your grades are not up to par. I don't mean to sound harsh, but the world has enough "entitled" individuals to deal with, so there is no need to breed more. Let's not forget, many of us were not raised with experiences that our parents went to the school to automatically crucify and shift the fault upon the teachers on our behalf. Instead, receiving a bad grade or report home as a child would have been the end of our lives as we knew it. Pay for a tutor and stop wasting the time of Oak Park residents/school officials with this published temper tantrum.

Jen Purrenhage  

Posted: January 31st, 2019 5:09 PM

The middle schools need a staffed tutoring center open before and after school, similar to the one available at OPRF-HS. The achievement gap in high school starts in middle school. The teachers, in my experience, were great about being available, especially the language teachers because they are able to team up for tutoring office hours. But there are only so many extra hours in the day. Until the district will fund the needed tutoring infrastructure for middle school, I'm not sure how the principal is supposed to do this on his own.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: January 30th, 2019 10:45 PM

Ms. Kirk....no te preocupes!!! If your child needs help with Spanish I would strongly suggest you simply watch her favorite movies in Spanish with English subtitles. I did the opposite to learn English. All DVD's come in multiple languages. Also, growing up in Guanajuato my mom read me Shakespeare (she taught English). The best way to learn is immersion. Lots of youtube videos as well.

Scott Dolezal from Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2019 3:28 PM

Are teachers not allowed their own lives? What if each of these 4 teachers also had their own children to get ready for school, day care, etc. What seems like a small request may be big disruption to these teachers.

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: January 30th, 2019 12:03 PM

The teachers seem to be on the same 9 to 5 grind. Expecting them to come in before 9 sounds unreasonable, especially when they are willing to do tutoring during normal work hours. Maybe they also have kids they need to get off to school before 9. If every parent insisted on tutoring hours of their own choosing that would not work.

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