Dear Superintendent Silva

My seven-year-old daughter is a first grader in the Saint Paul Public Schools. Her school, Randolph Heights, is an old-fashioned, tradition-filled school that we love. We joke that is is the "reading magnet," because there is so much emphasis on reading. She loves her classmates, and teachers; we love the experience she is getting, and the other parents, and what she is learning.

It's a "hot spot" school, which as far as I can tell, means it's pushing hard at the class-size envelope. Her class has 28 kids, which I think might be a bit much for her teacher. There is a great librarian, but only a very part-time nurse. Unlike other schools, it still maintains music, art, and science weekly, but a lot of the special services (especially G&T) seem strained.

What Beatrix has learned, both from school and at home, is the idea of accountability. She knows very well that if you make a mistake, you have to apologize. If you do poorly at something, you need to practice and to get better. And if you don't care about something, or it you show up and don't really show that you are working at it, people can see that right away, and you have to go back and make yourself care, and prove to those around you that you care about the issue and want to make it right.

It's that last point that perhaps you could take a few lessons from a first-grader on. Though I'm a devoted Saint Paul Public Schools parent, I can't say I've been that impressed by your leadership to date; this last week, even less so. So I guess it's your turn to take those accountability lessons to heart, and to see if you can match some of your students in what they can prove they can do.

We'll be watching.


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