Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Second string superintendent sacked by his own record.

I was truly amused to note that Ken Limon was scheduled to run the Superintendent's Roundtable on January 9, 2008. The topic of this forum was "meeting academic needs of high performing students" and a "discussion of the District's Challenge Programs and its support for all students." I find this amusing because on July 21, 2005, Mr. Limon sent me an e-mail from which I quote: "...the measure of a great school is what it is able to accomplish with the mediocre or underprivileged (or unmotivated) students, not those who will succeed anyway (emphasis added)."

This was his response to my appeals to him that our ability to bring challenging curriculum, the National History Day program, to all students of Meadowdale Middle School was being slowly, yet systematically limited by the principal in our building. I wrote the e-mail after we had just returned from Washington, D.C. with one of our students who had qualified to go to the National exhibit. (She was accorded the honor of displaying her exhibit as the representative of Washington State in the Museum of American History on the Mall.) This was our "Thanks" from Mr. Limon.

We had worked for four years to improve our delivery of this quality curriculum, in spite of the yearly cutbacks in our ability to do so. The entire 8th grade, 340 students, did NHD because the principal demanded that there be uniform instruction by grade level and subject area. He demanded, we delivered, he took it apart. I was removed from 8th grade, moved to 7th, and told that I couldn't do History Day with my students. Because of this shift, we moved from doing NHD with all 8th grade students to 120 8th graders and 30 7th graders.

We had written a PEF grant for two I-Mac computers with I-Movie software so that our 340 students could have the ability to work in the documentary category; we had no capability to work with documentaries before this grant. What would the PEF leaders think if they knew that their award to us and our attempt to bring quality curriculum to ALL students was immediately undermined by our building principal and later backed up by Mr. Limon?

I did NHD with my Honors students anyway and for 2 consecutive years coached documentary groups to the final judging round at State (one group place 5th in State). After the first year of teaching 7th grade, the principal further attempted to limit NHD at MMS by trying to remove the Honors class from me. Had I displeased him by offering quality curriculum to my students? Was it a bad thing to qualify students to go to State?

Further, Mr. Limon said, "If (Principal X) is saying that the primary focus must be on what happens daily in the classroom to create thinking and true understanding of history and therefore current events, then I am absolutely with him. This is not to say that I don't value National History Day activities, only that they are secondary to our primary mission (again, emphasis added)."

Mr. Limon and Principal X are speaking in ignorance of how we used NHD to TIE CURRENT EVENTS AND HISTORY TOGETHER. We did it all the time. The skills that are taught in NHD work will last these students a lifetime. The librarians at Meadowdale High sent word back that they could tell which students had been ours because they knew how to research efficiently. These are the skills used by lawyers, librarians, researchers (various vocations), newspaper reporters, historians, authors of historical fiction, archivists, and on and on. These were "lifelong learning" skills, the specific skills named in the District Subject Guide for Social Studies that we should be teaching our students. And yet Mr. Limon thinks they are "secondary to our primary mission."

Mr. Limon's preconceived idea of NHD was that it was for the students "who will succeed anyway." He never investigated and found that the students who benefited the most from NHD were, in fact, "the mediocre or underprivileged (or unmotivated) students." I can cite example after example of average or unmotivated or troubled students who caught fire with NHD. Every year we had students come to us and say "That was great! That was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in school! I've never gotten a B+ (or an A) in social studies before!" We were serving all students with quality curriculum and he couldn't recognize it.

And I will just mention in passing the elimination of the for-high-school-credit honors biology class at MMS that was also placed under seige by Principal X and eventually eliminated by his successor. I can only assume that Mr. Limon was aware of these assaults on quality curriculum as well.

On January 9, 2008 he stood in front of business leaders, parents, and taxpayers of the Edmonds School District and spoke about the District's Challenge Programs.

It is laughable. "Do as I say, not as I do."

8 comments: said...

We know Assistant Superintendent L, who is Principal X?

Anonymous said...

If you were a student, I would tell you to do your research, look it up! It's in the public records. :-)

Involved Parent said...

Interesting -
I'm especially interested in Mr. Limon's record on highly capabable programs as he's interviewing for the position of Superintendant in our small district.
Any help greatly appreciated
Thanks said...

Ken Limon is a finalist for the Superintendent job in Granite Falls. With his former boss, Wayne Robertson as a consultant helping in the process, I'd say the Limon household can already start popping corks.

Here is the link:

Anonymous said...

Naw. I'm thinkin' Robertson is hiring out to boards as a consultant in superintendent searches. It's a difficult process. Limon has applied for super jobs in other districts in recent years and not made the jump to light speed. Yet.

But here's the deal. Your retirement from the State is based on your last three years of employment. If you can make the leap to super with three years to go, your pension from the state will be proportionally larger. Just like those who were pushed out will have a proportionally SMALLER pension.

This is cool. Step on people on your way up and out so that they get less and you get more. Who needs justice when you can have more money?

Anonymous said...

Please no. Anyway, Mr. Limon do me a favor and stay away from Granite Falls. We do not need people like you in Granite. Go pollute another area.

Anonymous said...

I haven't noticed an announcement from Granite Falls in The Herald. Any news?

Anonymous said...

What an absolute joke! Pathetic! Everyone knows exactly who you are and I, and other parents know you never had honors students! You were never a respectable teacher who could even come close to upholding high standards in a regular classroom, let alone an honors class! GIve it a rest!