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Opinion & Essays - Sept, 2000 Issue #73 


August 17, 2000 

By Tom Gross (TomFGross@compuserve.com
Member of the Leadership Team of the King George Schools Parent
Organization (Clement Erbmann, Bob Green, Barry Stratton, Melanie
Petersen, Alan Rabunski, John Kavanaugh, Ron Nelson, Tasker
Houston and Robert Kantar/ ex officio) 

[Bratter’s article is entitled: “John Dewey Academy supports The King George School Staff” and can be found on this web site's archives.]

To set the record straight, Mr. Bratter’s article was based on lack of information regarding the events at the King George School over the past six weeks and appears to have completely ignored the facts as outlined in the press release posted on this site on June 26th by Rebecca Plona, Director of Admissions at The King George School. Linda Houghton and her staff, the management of the Brown Schools and the newly formed King George School Parent Organization has forged a highly constructive working alliance in the interest of our children. Our aim and our initial successes over the past six weeks have been to establish a win/win set of relationships so that our children can continue to thrive while King George continues to be strengthened as the fine Emotional Growth Educational Institution that it is. 

On June 26, 2000 the newly formed leadership team of the KGS Parent Organization issued a statement to the parent community of King George School based on several days of discussions with the leadership of the King George School and the Brown Schools. The following are summarizing statements and a few excerpts: 

A list of substantive issues which needed resolution over a period of time are all being successfully addressed to the satisfaction of the King George School and Brown Schools leadership and the Parent Organization. 

Linda Houghton continues, in the short term, to lead the King George School as she has done so successfully since it’s founding even though she will be leaving the King George School as head this autumn. A highly professional search for her successor is underway. She and Paul Dudley Hart, President of the Educational Services Division are sharing the decision making collaboratively on who her successor will be. We parents are being consulted. The transition is proceeding in a smooth and professional manner. 

Linda Houghton will be moving on to found the Emotional Growth Institute, a stand alone entity, independent of KGS and The Brown Schools to be owned by Linda Houghton and other investors. “The Emotional Growth Institute has as its mission to provide professional training in Emotional Growth and be the Certifying Body for the Emotional Growth Curriculum for teachers in private and public schools and parents of students in these schools and other professionals, as well. The Brown Schools have committed to be a client and supporter of The Emotional Growth Institute and purchase training services for their staff at KGS and other facilities.” To that end they have already committed an initial investment to the Emotional Growth Institute. As the Parent Organization, we are delighted that Linda Houghton will continue to contribute her know how and wisdom to the training and development of the staff of the King George School, other Brown Schools and other institutions, as well. 

The Parent Organization has established as its mission, the following: “ The KGS Parent Organization has been founded as a guardian to support and help preserve the emotional growth vision, philosophy, program and curriculum of the King George School with the needs of our children as the pre-eminent consideration in all matters.”

 “We would like to especially compliment and thank Paul Dudley Hart, Donna Burtanger, Linda Houghton, Rebecca Plona, Nathan Boston and Jane Hamilton on their openness, foresight, spirit of conciliation and commitment to the KGS mission and its students and parents. All of us who have been a part of these discussions over these few days are proud that we have been able to practice the philosophy of emotional growth that our children are learning so well. It is possible to resolve difficult problems and conflicts through dialogue involving all interested parties. And we have learned that the results and the learning for all can exceed expectations when the dialogue is conducted with a common purpose as important as the well being of our children. 

We would like to point out that The Brown Schools, President of the Educational Services Division as represented by Paul Dudley Hart responded to a difficult situation with remarkable speed, compassion and understanding. .... In the last few days unfortunate misstatements have been made about The Brown Schools. We would like to set the record straight. We would like the national community of educational consultants and parents of The Brown Schools students, (and other concerned educators and parents) wherever they may be, to know that Paul Dudley Hart and his colleagues have helped resolve the situation calmly and professionally. Paul Dudley Hart and Linda Houghton and their respective staffs have emerged from these discussions with a spirit of partnership which we are confident will strengthen and endure. We will continue to build upon the understanding that has been achieved over these past few days.” 

These were the sentiments we expressed on June 26, 2000. We feel them even more strongly today, now that we have had the experience of working the issues successfully over the past month and half with Linda Houghton and Paul Dudley Hart and their colleagues. They are people of integrity who put the interests of the children first and prove it over and over. 

It is a pity the Mr. Bratter chose to write his letter without knowledge of all the facts. His letter was unfair, uninformed and divisive. His charges that the parents have been “complacent, silent and passive” are woefully and ignorantly off the mark. We have been highly engaged and proud that we have been able to contribute to a win/ win resolution where the ultimate winners are our children. The ultimate casualties of Bratter’s kind of loose, uninformed criticism are the children themselves. As parents, we take offense. We are grateful to the King George School for the considerable emotional growth and academic learning our children have been achieving. We are heartened that what could have been a King George School in trouble in June has turned into a King George School in August which is strengthening itself in significant ways with all stakeholders working together and pulling in the same direction!

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