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“Nationals October 2019

Parents at Monarch Academy in Annapolis calling for the ouster of Principal

| September 03, 2020, 02:36 PM

A group of parents at Monarch Academy in Annapolis are not happy with the new Principal and want her out.

Organizers have started an online petition calling for the ouster of Principal Rachel Amstutz saying that she is not qualified to lead and making claims that she is racially biased and a bully.

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The petition reads (in part):

Principal Amstutz has not demonstrated the ability to work with diverse populations. This was very obvious during the school year. She often did not respond to African American parents requests. She even had one parent wait in the front office for more than an hour before speaking to her.

Principal Amstutz does not have the ability to recruit and maintain a diverse teaching staff. We started the 2019-2020 school year with 5 Black teachers- a relatively small percentage of our teaching staff, but promising. As of today (08/15/2020), only one of those teachers remain.

Principal Amstutz has done nothing to build school culture. She did not celebrate the children at all last year (no honor roll awards, perfect attendance, etc). She did not take an active role in the Hispanic Heritage month celebration or the Black History Month celebration. She also has made no attempt to truly learn more about the rich history of Annapolis and the role that many of our families play in that history.

The petition has caught the attention of Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Lisa Rodvien (District 6) who also is a teacher with Anne Arundel County Public Schools.

Other commenters on the petition highlight the culture at the school and the workplace culture:

Amstutz was named Principal in July 2019 and had only been at the school about 6 month prior to the COVID pandemic which closed the schools for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Prior to her appointment to Monarch Academy, she had previously served as Principal at Manor View, Bodkin, and South Shore Elementary schools.

Monarch Academy is a contract school for Anne Arundel County under the guises of the Children’s Guild Alliance. Schools that are contracted out are publicly funded schools operated by an independent group of teachers and administrators under a contract.

We reached out to the Anne Arundel County Public Schools to get a better understanding of the relationship with the public schools and the contract school. A contract school will receive a per pupil equivalent (payment) to operate the school. The Children’s Guild develops the curriculum; however it must meet all standards set by AACPS. Other than that, the Guild is responsible for all operations from hiring and firing, to rent, to snow removal. All of the teachers, staff and administration are AACPS employees and will be represented by the appropraite union and any discipline issues will be resolved through the AACPS standard process. Bob Mosier, spokesperson for AACPS said that any personnel issues would have to first be sent through the Children’s Guild Alliance.

We reached out to Kathy Lane, Chief of Educational Services for Children’s Guild Alliance with some questions and in her emailed reply she said that none of the stakeholders had approached any leadership with the issue.

We are committed to looking in the mirror and under the microscope at the issues raised. We have read the concerns expressed in the petition and on social media by the community, because we sought them out. We did not ignore them. They were not however, before the petition, brought to the attention of The Children’s Guild, The Anne Arundel Board which oversees the school, AACPS, the AACPS Board of Education, Ms Amstutz’ s supervisor, or myself. While we all fully support equity, inclusivity, the importance of recruiting and retaining minority staff, and hearing and valuing the voices of our community, we cannot address concerns that are not brought to our attention. Social media is not a vehicle for resolving issues, surfacing them to the leaders responsible for the schools culture and climate are. Now that we know and understand the concerns of some members of our community, we can work together to address them.  We embrace that work.

Now that the issue is out in the public, Lane said they have met with concerned individuals and are moving forward,  “We met with a group of parent stakeholders, and concerned staff. We have listened to and heard the perspectives of those who have expressed concerns and have developed an initial action plan that will begin implementation next week and continue throughout the school year. We have created pathways for all stakeholders to communicate their concerns or ideas for moving forward. We are  working daily with Ms. Amstutz and the school community to engage in restorative conversations, seeking to understand the concerns and working collaboratively to establish actionable next steps to continue the ongoing work of building an inclusive school culture and climate.”

Currently, the petition has more than 500 signatures.

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Category: Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

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