Another great principal has been fired in the Michelle ‘Terminator’ Rhee’s saga of slash and burn school reform. Chancellor Rhee decided not to renew the contract of Dr. Reginald B. Elliott, principal of Luke C. Moore Academy, which is an alternative high school and formally known as the DC Street Academy. Rhee’s decision was made subsequent to Dr. Elliott receiving the Middle States National Accreditation for Colleges and High Schools in May 2009. Dr. Elliott’s last day was June 30. Gone also is the school’s vice principal, Gloria Tisdale. Many argue that the elimination of Ms.Tisdale from her position was just another indiscriminate termination by Chancellor Rhee.
Saved for now is Luke C. Moore Academy which is a historic building. The school boasts a newly modernized and renovated addition and global classrooms on a desirable campus near the Brookland metro thanks to the personal fundraising efforts by Dr. Eliott of over half a million dollars. Moore Academy parents complain that Rhee has revealed that she has plans to make this alternative high school into a ‘model school.’ What worries most of them is that if Rhee has her way the school may give many of its current students the boot in exchange for a more affluent student body. Luke C. Moore Academy students for the most part have been kicked out of regular DC public high schools due to a host of reasons and prior to entering the school; many have been described as students on the fringe of society.
Parents, students, as well as community residents have demanded that Rhee explain why their highly regarded principal was fired, to no avail. Despite their well-intended writing campaigns, they have yet to be provided with an acceptable answer or face-to-face meeting with Chancellor Rhee. Efforts to lobby the DC City Council resulted in some discussion about placing the school under the administration of UDC where it once was in an effort to save Dr. Elliott’s position. Luke C. Moore students set up a special meeting with Chancellor Rhee and went to appeal to her face to face in order to save the job of Dr. Reginald Elliott. As sophomore, Timothy Hill said in a recent July gathering of concerned residents “I got the feeling that while we talked, she (Rhee) wasn’t even listening to us. ”
It is important to note that Dr. Reginald Elliott has worked tirelessly for 30 years in DC Schools. In 2001, the National Association of Secondary School Principals awarded Dr. Elliott, Principal of the year. The school is now named after the honorable late Judge Luke C. Moore. The school’s executive board includes superior court judges and local ministers. WUSA news anchor J.C. Hayward works closely with J.C.'s Friends at the school. Principal Elliott established a wealth of community partnerships with companies like Xerox Corporation, the U.S. Marshall's program and many others. He created paid internships for his students and sponsored trips to China, Egypt, and Costa Rica. This summer another sponsored trip is planned for students to visit Zambia.
When asked what the reasons were for his termination, Dr. Elliott explained that Rhee had compared Moore Academy to Banneker Senior High School. According to Elliott, Moores’ attendance rates did not measure up with Banneker, a premier DC school where students are selected to attend based on their GPA’s and other selective criteria. Dr. Elliott also revealed that Rhee stated that his school lacked academic rigor despite the schools’ recent national accreditation by the Middle States Association in 2009. Elliott indicated that the Rhee administration seemed unfamiliar with middle states accreditation and was not phased that Moore is one of four DC public high schools to receive this distinction. Further, a recent press release from the Ward 5 Council on Education confirms that Moores' students met or exceeded mandated academic targets for years 2001-2008 despite information listed on the OSSE - NCLB website.
I am sure a Rhee spokesperson will soon report that personnel laws prevent the city from discussing specifics in regards to Elliott’s recent dismissal, blah blah, blah. Certainly, Rhee’s actions are not in the best interest of Luke C. Moore academy students and their citywide parents. If you are interested in joining forces with parents, students and community residents who support quality education for all DC students send your name, email and contact telephone number c/o firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted by The Washington Teacher