standing letters

The thing I recently realized is that my son will go to the proposed new school in Westerly for one year. He will have to learn a totally new environment for one year, then move on to the middle school, where he will start over again. I'm not a fan of this plan at all. Not because of that fact, but because my daughter will be removed from her neighborhood for 3rd, 4th, and 5th, and so will countless other kids in Dunn's Corners and the North End. To the parents of State Street students, has anyone really explained to you that they will be sending your 5-year-olds on a bus halfway across town? A walker to State Street would now be on a bus for the three earliest years of their education in the district. I think this hasn't really been thought through.

In fact, five years! State Street kids COULD be bused to Springbrook or Dunn's Corners as young as age 3 to pre-k classes. So with pre-k starting at age 3 and going for 2 years, then it's 5 years that a young student in the State Street neighborhood would have to be transported away from their neighborhood school.

Many of us residents bought their homes and settled in a neighborhood with anticipation of having their kids go to school around the corner. Myself included.

The more I read, the less I feel that these changes are healthy for young kids. In the case of Springbrook students, you're taking kids out of a school designed to house them for six years. Nurture and educate them for that time. Prepare them to move to the middle school. But instead, with a minimum of three years at each school, you're throwing caution to the wind making young children transition between schools an extra time. More than is required by leaving things as they were designed. You're throwing 600 kids from across the district together in one large school at a younger age than ever before.

All of this change. All of this movement. It's unnecessary. One move for the students from State Street to another building in the district is all that's needed in the short-term. Long-term, reopen Tower and Bradford elementary schools. Use Babcock more effectively. We need to use what we have. And not just take care of our buildings, but manage the space better.

Mark Doescher Jr.


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