High school is unwieldy

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2004

There comes a time when an institution gets so big that it becomes inflexible to the needs of people, unable to make changes when necessary, and impersonal. Of all institutions, we don't want our schools to reach this point, and our high school has. Thirty-five percent of each group of freshmen have dropped out of the high school by the time they are seniors. Big changes are necessary to address this kind of failure to meet students' needs. During the past decade, many changes have been proposed after research and study by committees of teachers and parents. Repeatedly, the recommended changes have not been made because the institution is so big and unwieldy that it's too difficult to make changes. A school community must be small enough that it is flexible and open to try new things that may help student success. New programs, increased opportunities in sports and activities and an environment where teachers know students better will be possible with two smaller schools. We have the opportunity and responsibility to address the needs of today's kids.

As we have seen, the process of voting, planning and building a new school is a long one. I can't imagine it will be any sooner than at least a decade before we get this far again. If we block the process now, the preschoolers that I teach may not be in smaller schools. It is past time to provide two smaller schools for our town. It will be a healthy, positive step. Please make sure to get to the polls on May 25 and support our new Valley high school. Vote "no" on Proposition 1.

Nancy Lehnhart


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