- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

DCPS alumni request meeting

Ever since D.C. Public Schools announced Oct. 2 that nearly 400 jobs would be cut, students, teachers and other employees have cried foul. The Washington Teachers Union filed a legal salvo on Wednesday; students have been rallying outside affected schools, and a mass protest was held Thursday outside City Hall.

The layoffs take effect Nov. 2.

Parents are angry, too, and they are taking their concerns to high-level school authorities.

In an e-mail to a top school official, Lynne Holcomb, a McKinley Technology High School parent and alumna, requested a meeting and asked whether school officials had considered the ripple-effect consequences of a massive layoff.

Ms. Holcomb’s e-mail says in part:

“As you are aware, the McKinley Tech alumnae are very strong. Especially the classes in the decades of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. There are some concerns that we have regarding the layoff of Ms. Sheila Gill and Ms. [Rhonda] Robinson - the two seasoned counselors, just to name a few.

“As you remember, Ms. Gill was truly responsible for the overwhelming amount of scholarship information that was disseminated to the senior class parents and students for the Class of 2009 … and they received well over a million dollars worth of scholarships. She was and still is very well respected by the student body and parents that she has so professionally and unselfishly served over many years. Why would you make this decision to RIF her and then you decided to keep a brand new counselor.

“Secondly, when are you going to speak with working parents and alumni about the situation at McKinley Tech? It has disgraced our school, and I feel that many of the staff were treated wrongly not to mention unfairly.

“Thirdly, how do you think this will affect Homecoming 2009? The spirit of the students, alumni who wanted to return and the overall sense of pride in our school. McKinley Tech has a long tradition of family. My daughter is the 20th member (the 2nd generation) of the Holcomb-Battle family to attend there.

“We want an explanation and kindly arrange for a meeting with the alumni and parents. … Kindly respond in an expedient manner to this issue. Thank you.”

The official has agreed to meet.

Ms. Holcomb said to watch this space.

Are you searching for a Catholic education?

The second edition of the Cardinal Newman Society’s “Guide to Choosing a Catholic College,” which helps parents and students seeking a faithful Catholic education, has named three D.C., Maryland and Virginia colleges in its top 21.

“When we published the original Newman Guide in 2007, we did not know what to expect, but we found that families were eagerly searching for help in identifying Catholic colleges that truly embrace their Catholic mission in all facets of campus life,” said Patrick J. Reilly, president of society.

“The mission of the Cardinal Newman Society is to help renew Catholic higher education, and we can think of no better way to do that than by offering this edition of the Newman Guide as a book but also as a free online resource. We are doing this so that as many Catholic families as possible are able to learn about the quality academics and faithful campus life available at the recommended colleges,” Mr. Reilly said.

The Web site www.thenewmanguide.com offers additional information.

The recommended Catholic colleges are:

• Aquinas College, Nashville, Tenn.

• Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, Fla.

• Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, N.C.

• Benedictine College, Atchison, Kan.

• The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.

• Christendom College, Front Royal, Va.

• The College of St. Thomas More, Fort Worth, Texas

• DeSales University, Center Valley, Pa.

• Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, Ohio

• Holy Apostles College & Seminary, Cromwell, Conn.

• John Paul the Great Catholic University, San Diego, Calif.

• Magdalen College, Warner, N.H.

• Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, Md.

• Providence College, Providence, R.I.

• St. Gregory’s University, Shawnee, Okla.

• Southern Catholic College, Dawsonville, Ga.

• Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, Calif.

• The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts, Merrimack, N.H.

• University of Dallas, Irving, Texas

• University of St. Thomas, Houston

•Wyoming Catholic College, Lander, Wyo.



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