Letter: O'Connor an asset in solving problems

To the Editor:

The decision not to renew Jerry O'Connor's contract is very troubling. I have read many of the reactions of the families, staff and community leaders in Bennington that clearly state his dedication to the children, their families and staff at Bennington Elementary.

Having taught in Bennington for 40 years (now retired), I feel that any lack of progress cannot rest on the shoulders of one person. Progress or a lack of progress is a reflection on Central Office, all involved administrators and staff. I would even go so far to say that progress at Bennington Elementary is a community problem because of the poverty, homelessness and trauma connected to the issues.

So I wonder, how much comprehensive, on-going professional development the administrators and staff have had to address the issues at Bennington Elementary? I wonder what resources Bennington Elementary may have requested that are not available? I wonder if anyone at Central Office has spent time in the school observing and trying to understand the real issues? I wonder if curriculum expectations and delivery models have been considered when thinking about behavior issues? Just a few questions and I am sure there are many more.

I do not feel that a lack of progress falls on one person's shoulders. The problem needs to be looked at from the top down, and Jerry O'Connor is one of your greatest assets in solving the problem. He has the history and the connections with the children, families and staff at Bennington Elementary. Please reconsider this decision and look at this as a systemic and community issue.

Dawn Mack



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