What started as a billboard and a website last January has empowered a community to hold a contemptuous school board accountable. We welcome new school board members Jennifer Holbert and Jo Anna Fryman and thank returning member Haley Conway for standing up and saying "enough is enough." Thank you to all those who have visited this site, those who confidentially emailed us and those who posted on our discussion board and then VOTED! ."
As you read the "guest post" below, keep in mind school librarian Beth Thompson posted this on our discussion board days before this historic school board election. With Beth's courage and a shift on our school board, what excuse do our school administrators now have to not stand up for our overcrowded high school. Thank you Beth and stay tuned as we soon change our format to the "TooBig Blog".
I was asked, after I emailed this site to post my thoughts to the website and after thinking about the position it would put me in with my teaching position, I have decided that it is worth it to speak out.
I agree with Mr. Conway about the need for another high school and also for all day kindergarten. I am an elementary school teacher/librarian here in Scott County.
Our two children graduated from SCHS and neither of their experiences at the high school were as exceptional as they could and should have been. However, seeing what overcrowded half-day kindergartens produce, I have to say that it is not an option either. I have watched for twelve years as the classes have gotten more and more crowded and the results are what you would expect. We can't compete with other districts whose children have the advantages of full day kindergarten and smaller classes.
Right now we have seven reasonably sized kindergarten classes crammed into five classes. The majority of our students come to us with less and less skills each year, so we start off playing catch- up and it just gets worse. A kindergarten teacher told me years ago when pre- school was moved out of the elementary buildings that pre-school and kindergarten would be better off if they were housed together outside of the elementary buildings. Then the focus could be early childhood education and less distractions would allow more time spent on teaching.
I agree with that teacher. It would also help to relieve overcrowding in elementary schools. We work hard at the elementary level to start students out with the best base possible, but overcrowding at grades K-3 creates a situation where they are playing catch-up at every level. I think this becomes evident when students reach middle and high school and are not able to accomplish what they could.
The pressures, peer and societal, are tremendous on our young people today and when education expectations are piled on top of this, they become overwhelmed. Put them inside the pressure cooker caused by overcrowding and they have less of a safe haven than we should be providing for them.
When we built the current high school, we would have had a larger, more appropriately sized school if people had been willing to look past the word tax and been more open to the realities of what we owe our children. We need to rethink this now. No one likes to pay more taxes, but together we could each give a little and create a much better environment to teach them all they need to know to succeed in the world as it is today.
Am I concerned about speaking my mind? Yes, as teachers we are given little voice and told we can be replaced by someone who is more of a "team player." Well, if teachers would as a whole speak up about what we know and what we see every day, the people of this county would have a much clearer picture of what is going on at the administrative levels in Scott County's schools. I urge other teachers to speak out about the problems and let's provide a first hand picture of the truths and please vote for our children's best interest on Tuesday.