I’m writing about your lead article on May 19, 2006, “School board votes to stick with superintendent's recommendation,” the decision to terminate Charles Sides and German classes at the Woodward High School. Like Mr. Sides’ attorney, Mary Pratz, I am very disappointed in the School Board’s and the Superintendent’s decision.
I think the School Board and Superintendent should reconsider their decision and consider an innovative and collaborative solution to retain or hire Mr. Sides so Woodward High School and our students may continue to have a diverse learning curriculum. Mr. Sides could teach all 15 students German in one class and teach English for the remainder of his classes.
Why would we want to limit our curriculum because one year 15 students want to take German? Why we want to restrict our curriculum to one foreign language and deprive 15 students from taking a class they want next year? Also, with Woodward’s population growth, new students will be moving to Woodward and may want to enroll in German within the foreseeable future.
Since Mr. Sides is credentialed to teach English and has a stated interest in grammar, literature and culture he just might inspire some of his English class students to acquire an interest in learning German within a year or two?
In addition, I have seen Mr. Sides at the Woodward High School attending vocal and band concerts to support students and school programs. Another parent pointed Mr. Sides out to me as a fiber artist and someone who I might contact to teach working with wool and spinning classes.
Wool is an art form that is slowly making a comeback that may become an integral part of Oklahoma’s and Woodward’s budding agritourism efforts for economic development.
I believe with Mr. Sides’ diverse talents and obvious community interests his presence as a teacher would be a great loss to Woodward High School and Woodward’s community. I think it is in the community’s and students’ best interests for the School Board and Mr. Denton to give Mr. Sides a definite decision rather than keep him limbo regarding whether or not he has a job.
If we want to inspire our teachers and be effective in the classroom we must support them by offering them secure financial environment so they will be able to concentrate on teaching our children.
I also think, we as a community, need to encourage forward thinking, innovation, and collaboration and become more engaged with our school system and our community as a whole. After all, it is our school system and our community and the administrators are intended to work for us. Sometimes I think many of us tend to forget or neglect this important factor that is critical to our children’s education, quality of life and our future.
It is my hope by writing it will inspire the School Board and the Superintendent to reconsider their decision and retain Mr. Sides and at least one combined German class.
Parent and Oklahoma Agritourism Committee Member