The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

Review of Middle-Eastern restaurant ‘Namak’
Cancel culture: A roadblock on the path to social justice
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MCPS Board of Education appoints Gregory Miller as new Whitman Principal
MCPS appoints Dr. Thomas W. Taylor as new Superintendent
Staff in MCPS autism program involuntarily transferred, stoking further budget concerns

Staff in MCPS autism program involuntarily transferred, stoking further budget concerns

June 19, 2024

Open letter to the MCPS Central Office

Open+letter+to+the+MCPS+Central+Office

The opinions and views expressed in this letter do not necessarily reflect the views of members of the Black & White and the publication as a whole. 

 

To the distinguished members of the Central Office of Montgomery County Public Schools,

We would like to formally voice our support for Mr. Gregory Miller as the new principal of Walt Whitman High School, replacing Dr. Robert Dodd. We would like to commend Dr. Dodd, who has been an effective and caring administrator, showing dedication and passion not only to students and staff but also to the Whitman community as a whole. With gratitude for Dr. Dodd’s contributions, we recognize the need for continuity and consistent leadership, which is why Mr. Miller is a fitting choice to uphold and advance the mission of Whitman through his principalship.

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The Montgomery County Board of Education has consistently demonstrated a commitment to diversity, equity, and justice. We commend the Board of Education for making impactful decisions such as its decision to dismantle an opt-out policy for parents regarding their children’s exposure to LGBTQ+ stories, to its policy of allowing students to carry Narcan on school property. Efforts like these have been integral to fostering an inclusive community which will be further continued by Mr. Miller as principal at Whitman. With Mr. Miller’s leadership, the Board of Education can rest assured that their work and vision will be supported and amplified at Whitman. 

Throughout his time at Whitman, Mr. Miller has been integral to its growth and success, most notably through his cultivation and creation of the Leadership Academy for Social Justice (LASJ) and the OneWhitman program. As students at Whitman who have dedicated their high school careers to LASJ, we have seen Mr. Miller’s commitment to the program and Montgomery County Public School’s Equity Initiative firsthand through his mentorship. 

MCPS’s mission is to “advance racial justice and cultural proficiency by interrupting systems of bias . . . oppression, and inequity in our policies, practices and procedures.” This statement has been echoed throughout MCPS’s various programs, such as the Minority Scholars Program, Remembrance and Reconciliation, and LASJ, among others. By selecting Mr. Miller as principal of Whitman, we can further create and grow these programs, with students at the forefront. Mr. Miller has prioritized MCPS’s mission through his encouragement of student-led initiatives such as OneWhitman, where students come together to try to build an anti-bias, anti-racist school environment. As stated in MCPS’s mission, it is imperative to challenge “every MCPS employee to be courageous, persistent and effective in confronting and resolving racial and cultural issues,” which is precisely what Mr. Miller has shown, time and time again, through his commitment to all students’ success through his compassionate and understanding approach.

While we don’t know all the factors taken into account in the principal appointment process, we can’t help but imagine that student well-being, empowerment, engagement, and support must be paramount in the process. Coming up on our senior year, Mr. Miller has been present for our whole high school experience. At Whitman, Mr. Miller is affectionately known as “Miller” among students and staff alike. The dropping of the prefix is not a sign of disrespect, but rather his approachability within Whitman’s administration. 

Case in point: during an incredibly emotionally charged time, Mr. Miller supported the Jewish Student Union and Muslim Student Association following the events of October 7th. He facilitated conversations and aided the creation of a forum where Whitman students and staff could discuss the impacts of the events. Students, teachers, and faculty came together in this space, sharing their vulnerabilities and genuine concerns, something that they said was hard to come by prior to the forum. Mr. Miller supported a space that allowed members of the Whitman community to feel safe, respected and heard. The forum would not have occurred without his assistance in facilitating it. 

Mr. Miller’s commitment to fostering community dialogue and support is not limited to the aftermath of difficult events but also extends to celebrations of cultural diversity. Whitman hosted its first International Night since COVID this past April. This marks Mr. Miller’s and most students’ first International Night at Whitman. Mr. Miller was present throughout the whole event, continuously approaching and conversing not only with students who were showcasing their culture but also with students and families who came to enjoy the evening. His presence and passion takes on a whole other meaning of embracing the community, specifically in the context of current international tensions. 

As he’s matured as an administrator, we have matured as students, both cultivating each other’s growth. His accessibility, compassion, and genuine faith in Whitman has inspired us all and made the school a better place.

We would like to emphasize that this was an effort completely independent of Whitman, that this letter was completely done by the four of us, and in no way do we speak for the entire school and community. We appreciate you taking the time to read this letter and consider our voices in the principal selection process. Thank you, and we look forward to your decision.

Very Respectfully,

 

Sofia Antonioli – LASJ Organizer

Sara Corbett – LASJ Organizer

Marisa Janger – President of the Jewish Student Union 

Addison Rosenberg – LASJ Community Liaison

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