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letter to Art Johnson, School Superintendent

March 26, 2008, , letter to Art Johnson, by Jana Tift.

Hi, everyone,

As you may remember, Toussaint L'Ouverture School is about to be homeless again. I feel strongly that by writing letters to the school board and superintendent, we can advocate for the school district to find them a permanent site.

Below is a letter that I sent today to the Palm Beach County School Board Members via email and sent hard copies to Art Johnson, Superintendent, Rep. Maria Sachs, and Diane and Joe at the school. I am forwarding you an email from Diane with all this info in it.

Feel free to borrow liberally from this letter.

Thanks for doing this. We want Toussaint L'Ouverture to survive!!!

peace and blessings,

Jana


Dr. Arthur C. Johnson, Ph.D.
Superintendent
The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
3340 Forest Hill Blvd., C-316
West Palm Beach, FL 33406-5869

March 26, 2008

Dear Dr. Johnson,

We are parents of students who have matriculated from and who are currently attending the Palm Beach County Schools. Today we are writing to you on behalf of the Toussaint L'Ouverture High School for Arts and Social Justice in Delray Beach. We are admirers of the school, having visited there and interacted with the students, faculty and administrators on numerous occasions. We urge you to support Toussaint L'Ouverture and insure its future.

We are aware that, just days after the January ribbon cutting at the school's new site on the Seacrest Campus, a site that was pledged to the school by the School Board, that the school's administrators, Diane Allerdyce and Joe Bernadel were informed that they were going to have to move the school in June, after only six months on the Seacrest Campus. There are other plans for the site, they were told, though when they accepted the site, Major Bernadel had informed the school district that they had just negotiated a reasonable two-year lease at their current location. Assured that the Seacrest Campus would be available for the next two years, the school moved, at the cost of $12,000.00.

We urge you to work with the Superintendent and other school board members to find another permanent location for the Toussaint L'Ouverture School. This school can be a REPLICABLE MODEL for teaching values, good citizenship, responsibility and ethics. Its students learn in an environment of respect and support from its fine and dedicated teachers, all of whom have received training through the Anti-defamation League. The students and the school have achieved success after success. Just visit their website to view their achievements:

We don't have to tell you that the students in this school are members of an under-served population with a high dropout rate. Toussaint L'Ouverture teaches these students so much more than history, English and math; the school teaches these students to be good citizens. This kind of education serves the community of Delray Beach well -- keeping young people, many of them Haitian Americans, in school, not on the streets. It gives students the chance to succeed in school, when they might become dropout statistics without this place which can address their needs and honors them as valuable members of the community. Graduates of the school become working members of the community. It is to the school board's advantage, and to the advantage of Delray Beach to advocate for Toussaint L'Ouverture. It is filling an educational need in Palm Beach County, exactly what a charter school is designed to do.

We're sure you've seen the pledge which the students wrote themselves, and which they recite each morning. You will find the pledge and a fact sheet about the school below. Aren't these goals worth funding? Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone lived according to this pledge? In fact, as this school is a replicable model, once the school is appropriately housed, administrators from all over the county could be visiting and observing this school, and Palm Beach County schools could become known for their attention to tolerance, respect, responsibility, non-judgment, and diversity among students and faculty.

Rather than making the school homeless again -- it has moved five times in its seven years of existence -- won't you and the superintendent and other members of the school board work to assist with housing Toussaint L'Ouverture in a permanent situation? I believe that Delray Beach and Palm Beach County will benefit from such generosity. And you will be glad you supported this fine example of educational values in our community.

Sincerely,

Dr. and Mrs. Tom Tift

cc: Rep. Maria Sachs, School Board

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