Parent Elizabeth Virata writes the Board.



To: ISM Board [BoardMailbox@ismanila.com], BOT@ismanila.com
Cc: info@ismstakeholders.com
From: Elizabeth Virata
Date: 06 Sep 2006, 06:54:10 PM
Subject: WHY? and WHAT NOW?

To The ISM Board of Trustees,

I am a new parent, of one year's standing, at ISM and, as of last week, I had no opinions or sentiments that were pro- or anti- Board, OR pro- or anti- David Toze. Furthermore, I had to think that when the Trustees summarily dismissed Mr. Toze on Monday, it must have been convinced that it had just cause for doing so (although I can not fathom why the Board chose such an indecent manner of dismissal). Therefore, I went to the Monday afternoon meeting to hear the Board?s side. Mr. Lahm explained that the Board felt compelled to fire Mr. Toze because "he had ceased to be an effective communication bridge between the Faculty and the Board."

I will not go into the merits of your case - although I know many parents did not see this as either the primary function of the Mr. Toze or as sufficient cause for his instant dismissal.

But if the Board wants this communication so much that it would fire Mr. Toze for not facilitating it, then wouldn't the Faculty's invitation for a direct dialogue with you be the answer to your prayers?!?

If I were to accept this as your "just cause" and "pure motive" for firing him, then please tell me WHY DID THE BOARD REFUSE TO MEET DIRECTLY WITH THE FACULTY AND STAFF ON TUESDAY?

I went again to school on Tuesday because I expected the Board to jump at this chance of direct communication with the very people that it fired Mr. Toze for not being an effective bridge with. Not one of you showed up, and the disappointment of the teachers and staff was palpable and painful to witness.

There have been quite a number of incidents which show that this Board is no longer into directional policy but into individual cases or minute details that reflect issues of micro-management. This is not what the Trustees were elected to do. Therefore if those who have been tasked with running the school and teaching the students felt that their roles have been usurped by the Board, it was imperative that the Board allay these fears and prove that they were not justified. Your 2:29 email to them saying that "scheduling such meetings this week and future weeks would be how the Board chooses to meet with you" betrays such a blatant disregard for the gravity and urgency of their concerns. This is obviously what provoked the teachers to decide on the unprecedented action of not reporting to work.

Your sudden "inaction", especially after the decisive action of your dismissal of Mr. Toze, is a disappointment to the faculty and to staff, and to us parents who "entrusted" you with the responsibility of governing the school. As of this writing, the only formal movement from the Board has been the additional resignations of three more members. You seem to have lost the confidence of the faculty and staff, the majority of the parents, and even half of your own Board!

Each of you is accountable for having brought all of us to this untenable state of affairs. Now the solution to this crisis which is affecting our children and yours lies solely in your hands.

As I was writing this, my 12 year-old son brought me his Middle School Planner and said, "Isn't the Board like the leaders of the parents? Look at my planner's first page" there is an umbrella showing the "educational climate" of ISManila. It says Respect, Reasoning, Responsibility, Relationship, Communication. There does not seem to be any of that...?

What will I tell him is the Board's response?

Yours truly,

Elizabeth C. Virata