Haytmanek, an ears, nose and throat doctor and former president of the Bethlehem Area School Board, said Friday that Medical Academy has made connections with Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital and Manor Care nursing home and that it is in negotiations with Sacred Heart Hospital.
Haytmanek noted the school has gone through staff changes since it opened and that four employees were let go at the end of the last school year, most of them first-year teachers.
"We want really top-notch people," he said.
Eleven of the 18 staff members who started at the school in 2012 are no longer employed there, according to the letter. Some elected not to return, others were asked but opted not to come back for the 2013-14 school year.
Hughes said some employees left after obtaining better paying work or better opportunities.
The letter says every staffer "who spoke up about the problems … was invited not to return."
Four teachers were asked not to come back, Hughes said, because "they weren't living up to our standards."
Last week, Allentown resident Joseph Konrath elected to remove his daughter, Megan, a 10th-grader and member of the school's inaugural class, from the Medical Academy Charter School. Konrath said it was the culmination of a lot of small issues that "turned a meatball into meatloaf."
There wasn't much about health care in the curriculum, Konrath said. Megan had taken a course on careers where they talked about the patient's bill of rights. The school took a trip to the Da Vinci Center.
While Konrath acknowledged the school's imperfections, he said he was willing to let Megan return this year.
"She felt fairly comfortable there," Konrath said.
Megan had been an outstanding student at her previous school, but introverted. She'd survived leukemia and hoped to one day become a pediatric oncologist.
After a summer of struggling to get answers from the school, and a shaky start to the new year, Konrath decided to enroll Megan in a new school. Also, the main thing he liked about the school — the teachers who reached his daughter — was gone.
"This year is the same as last year, maybe even regressed a little bit," he said.
The bottom line, he said, was that his daughter told him, "I'm not happy there this year."
'Scrubs' and 'Patch Adams'
Despite its name and its charter, Medical Academy Charter School was offering the same curriculum as other public schools, the letter said.
While it offered a health care and careers exploration class in 2012-13 that was supposed to introduce students to jobs in the medical industry, few of the lesson plans were implemented as written, its writers contend.
"It was well known that several of the teachers showed episodes of the television show 'Scrubs' or movies like 'Patch Adams' to their students instead," they wrote.
Haytmanek and Hughes took issue with the letter's characterization of the curriculum. And they offered proof of the school's commitment to health-related classes Friday, inviting The Morning Call to a lab Haytmanek was teaching about the heart to about 60 kids at the school.