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Felipe Morales is leaving! :-(

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So sad to report that Felipe Morales, the outstanding orchestra director who has built up our orchestral program over the past few years, is leaving at the end of this semester.  Mr. Morales has gotten so many students excited about music and has provided so many wonderful musical opportunities to Winton Woods, and the district will be hard pressed to find someone with half his skill, passion, and expertise.

Here's his comments in their entirety as he posted on Facebook:

"Tonight I sent an extremely difficult letter to my district administration and my orchestra family. I will be vacating my position at the end of the semester because of professional disagreements that I believe have compromised my effectiveness to continue creating positive change for my students.

To the people of Forest Park, Greenhills, and Springfield Township, I ask that you not penalize students for the decisions of adults. If you are angry, make calls or write emails, b...ut whatever you do, do not let this affect your decision to VOTE YES for new schools! The Cincinnati Business Courier recently ran a headline that read, "It's not the buildings; it's the spaces they create." With new spaces comes the opportunity for more conversations and more change. Use your vote for good, not to retaliate on mine or anyone's behalf.

Remember that this district has done tremendous good and that it continues to defy national trends. You would be hard-pressed to find a school that better supports needy families, increases staff, and broadcasts with pride the benefits of the arts. I don't think anyone expected our program and others to grow so quickly, and the strain caused unfortunate tensions. Believe me when I say I know they will do better.

As I said in my letter, I will continue to fill this position with utmost integrity until my very last day. I will ensure that your students are cared for during this time of transition, that they do not miss out on opportunities already promised. We WILL find someone worthy of your potential and your willingness to reach new heights, but please encourage your children to continue making music, and support our teaching team as we do our best in the coming months.

Thank you for embracing a young, crazy kid and allowing him to dream with you. I am leaving here with a heavy, but happy heart for having had the chance to work with such amazing children and families. It has truly been my privilege to seen you all grow and to care for you as my own flesh and blood.

We have sent an amazing message into the world: that the way you look and the things you have don't determine the great you can do. Keep proving the world wrong. Do it for me, for Mrs. Bell, for Mrs. Buhl, for your parents, and especially for yourselves.

Now, go practice. We have a concert in two weeks and plenty to accomplish before "goodbye.""

 

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Posted · Report post

Here's the text of a letter Felipe Morales sent:

To my Winton Woods family:

It is with tremendous sadness and disappointment that I write you to say that I will resign as your orchestra director effective December 16th, the end of first semester.

An orchestra parent once said that seeing me interact with students was like, “seeing a father with his children.” This is my most cherished compliment because I have always tried to care for yours as my own. Like many of you wonderful guardians, I have worked innumerable hours, invested no small fortunes, and sacrificed personal comfort in order to provide increasingly better opportunities for “my kids.” And like many of my wonderful teacher colleagues, I have been happy to do this because these students and this community are worth it.

We have accomplished amazing things together: enrollment in orchestra has doubled to nearly 300 students; our instrument inventory has tripled to help financially burdened families; we have won top-prize grants to enhance student experiences; and earned accolades at the local, state and national levels. Last year, our own mayor wrote me a letter saying, “you and your students inspire us all to do more.”

You have heard me credit all of these accomplishments to the generosity and support of this school district at public events, in local and national media, and even in political campaigns. And I have meant every word.

It has been difficult, however, persuading the district that our growth and evolution has continued to overburden orchestra students and staff, even as our team grew. What was once a flailing program is now on equal footing, but inconsistencies remain in funding, scheduling, staffing, and compensation within our department. As a member of two minority groups, inequality is not something I tolerate, and so I have been vocal in my advocacy for better conditions for both your children and ourselves, the teaching team.

To this end I have held frank conversations and attempted to hold district staff and liaisons accountable. In return, it was implied that I am ungrateful and greedy, that I have been dishonest in my work, and that it has not all been for the good of students or the community. This is an insult I cannot accept.

I have not been alone in these experiences; mine will be the sixth orchestra director resignation in 12 years. I sincerely hope that your next orchestra director will live out their career with you, and that this district make it possible for them to do so. Again, you are worth it.

I will continue to fill this position with utmost integrity until my very last day. I will ensure that your students are cared for during this time of transition, that they do not miss out on opportunities already promised. We will find someone worthy of your potential and your willingness to reach new heights, but please encourage your children to continue making music, and support our teaching team as we do our best in the coming months.

Thank you for embracing a young, crazy kid and allowing him to dream with you. I am leaving here with a heavy, but happy heart for having the chance to work with such amazing children and families. It has truly been my privilege to seen you all grow. Never stop.

With love and regret,
Felipe Morales-Torres Director of Orchestras, Gr. 7-12

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Posted (edited) · Report post

It's not as if the Equalizer didn't warn you all. 

Kind of ironic that this man's name is MORALEs-Torres.  God does have a sense of humor.

Everyone is in a panic about what can be done to "save" him, but the real focus on what should be done to save the place.

You lost your Orchestra Director.

You also lost your Lead Choir Director last year.

You also lost 5 of 7 WWHS dept heads (2015).uyinYou also lost all of your "founding" AGS teachers (2014-2015).

I can tell you this.  Few of them wanted to leave, but none of them took a hit because they left.

Some of you bought the line that those departures were the "best thing that could have happened to WInton Woods"

But are you buying that line today?

I know we would all like to think that there is something magical about music teachers (and there is).. but at the end of the day.. they are still faculty members who work under the same contract as everyone else up at the ranch.  They still have professional reputations and the leadership that vexes the Algebra teacher inevitably will trip up even the signature programs like Orchestra.   Your children are special, but all children are special.  A new group of students will soon be blessed by F M-T just as a new group of students was blessed when scores of former WW teachers walked into classrooms this year.

Some of you believed that these exoduses were about money.

Some of you believe that the replacements were "better teachers"

Some of you believe you are just one "Superman" away from greatness even as many caped crusaders launch their careers up and out of the Warrior Empire.

Some of you may be thinking differently as F M-T has said explicitly what the Equalizer has warned you about implicitly for some time.

"The administration seems nice".  

--------

I know more than a little about what F M-T is saying.. but I am not going to go into detail  here.  The truth is, he is right.  This is final.  Don't insult him by trying to "keep him".  

Respect his decision.   

Time and again, you have placed blind faith in people that claim to just be out there fighting the good fight... but how many of those people were too busy picking the wrong fights?  Please, do you think that F M-T was the FIRST teacher to be accused of these things?

Not that many people cared about the teachers that left yesterday... but you are crying about who is leaving today.

Trust me.  The real problem that WW faces is.. what teachers you are going to lose tomorrow.

Someone needs to own this problem... but everybody thinks its somebody else.

You will never get the academic achievement if the revolving door keeps spinning.

I have no doubt that this was a very tough decision for F M-T.   Who leaves their post mid-year?

"Don't the door hit you on the **" isn't a strategy.   It's a lawyer mindset.

You all lost a great teacher today.  You are on the verge of losing a whole lot more.

Edited by equalizer

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Dear GG and EQ,

I am  not surprised at all about the resignation of Mr. Morales, and I do get the humor.  Alas a fellow Hispanic who has a sense of morality and honor.   Yikes, another one that could not take it.  It is obvious that the Board is Deaf, Dumb, and Blind to the serious short falling of the current administration, in this case includes the two paragons of naivety elected from Greenhills. 

The Mad Botanist

Edited by Mad Botanist

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Oh No... Smith and his "team" are doing it right.   SMH.  It's everyone else's fault.

If the bond issue fails it is because you can't accept them.

 

Edited by equalizer

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To the people of Forest Park, Greenhills, and Springfield Township, I ask that you not penalize students for the decisions of adults. If you are angry, make calls or write emails, b...ut whatever you do, do not let this affect your decision to VOTE YES for new schools! The Cincinnati Business Courier recently ran a headline that read, "It's not the buildings; it's the spaces they create." With new spaces comes the opportunity for more conversations and more change. Use your vote for good, not to retaliate on mine or anyone's behalf.

Summary:  Vote yes and place $61,000,000 in the hands of a bunch of adults who have no idea how to manage or lead?  Great advice.  :ph34r:

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Christine..... think for a minute.  Don't you think if he really felt that.. he would have delayed this announcement until November 9th?   I mean, he's not the Superintendent.  Doesn't take months to find an orchestra director to fill out the year.  

The bond issue took a potentially lethal blow yesterday.  F M-T was a huge supporter of the effort.  I can tell you that recent alumni ARE NOT happy about this resignation.  Their comments were all over the Warriors music site until they were removed later today. 

Outside the "see no evil" crowd, there are few people all that thrilled with the high command right now.   Trying to "save" F M-T only sets up the stage that this tactic can be used in the future.  He's gone.  

I guess somebody will spin this one.  It's hard to see how everyone is "coming together" in light of the comments he made in that letter.
 





 

Edited by equalizer

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Posted · Report post

There are two sides to every story.  I guarantee if Cicero or The Mad Botanist knew the whole story they would not be so supportive.  Let him go.

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Oh, I'm sure there are two sides to the story.  There always is.  

But if the social media reaction of the recent alumni is any indication....watch out.

Music directors are like football coaches.  They have a loyalty that defies logic.

Algebra teachers, on the other hand.  Even Pope Francis despises them ;)

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. . . . . Doesn't take months to find an orchestra director to fill out the year . . . . .

 

EQ, I'm usually very supportive of what you write, but I am disappointed by this comment. What type of orchestra director would you expect to find on short notice "to fill out the year?" Perhaps an out-of-work band director, choir director, or general music teacher would suffice?   

An orchestra director is a specialist and good ones are not easy to find. He/she has a very unique set of technical skills that cannot be taught by anyone else. To suggest otherwise shows a lack of understanding of the subject and is insulting to those with backgrounds in orchestral music, students and educators alike.   

I hope that considerable thought and care will be given to finding the right person for this position. To quickly hire a less-than-qualified person, even for a semester, would not be in the best interests of these students. They deserve better than that.              

 
 





 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Triple M. I stand by the statement.  You are looking at someone to fill out the year.  It doesn't take months to find a long term sub in that role.  I mean, WW used to have a new one every year until FMT got there.  I think he could have waited until after the bond issue election to make this announcement.  It's bad enough that he is breaking his contract.   At the end of the day, he is still a school employee like everybody else.  

Applitrack has this job posted with a start date of "immediate".

When Dr. Nasbe resigned, they had an interim Supt. in place within a week.   When they lost a Physical Science teacher, they found a new one the next week.  All sorts of people have left WW after a month or two into the year.  Although I have a lot of respect for the fine arts, I have respect for ALL of the professionals that work in a HS.

I think that the same principles that apply to an Orchestra Director also apply to any number of teachers at the HS that are also specialists.

If this long term sub works out, they can be the replacement.

But you may have a point.  It COULD be months until a replacement is found.  Who wants to walk into this mess?   Maybe Mr. Holland will walk through the door.  I do feel bad for the many students that really banked on him being there for them.  No winners there.

I didn't mean to imply that an Orchestra Director doesn't have value.  They clearly are important and special people.  But.. they are not irreplaceable either.  None of us are.

 

 

Edited by equalizer

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