Thursday, September 20, 2007

Elementary 24 boundary meeting

I went to a community meeting at Altona Middle School on Monday night. I know, this on top of a City Council meeting last week? What has become of me??? Anyway, it was hosted by the school board with the purpose of getting community feedback on the three boundary options for the new elementary school in our area. The meeting has been advertised in the paper, mentioned in each of Eagle Crest's (the current neighborhood elementary's) weekly newletters and on the front page of the school district's website. I say all this to point out that if you're a resident in the affected area and particularly if you already have school aged kiddos, there's no way you could NOT know about this meeting!

Anyway, the new school will open in time for the 2008-2009 school year, but Connor won't go to kindergarten until the next year because of his December birthday. And no matter which plan they choose, Connor and Logan will be going to the new school, but I had opinions on which plan was best, so I wanted to be at this meeting! I got there 5 minutes early and was directed to write my name on a name tag and have a seat. As I wrote my name I scanned the room full of about 15 people and was surprised to find that at this community meeting I was the only one (so far) with a handwritten nametag - the rest were school principals, school board members and members of the long range planning committee and they all had nice engraved name tags. :) Way to be early, Nikki. Anyway, I met the principal of the new school and she seemed very nice. Slowly other community members arrived, but all told there were MAYBE 30 people there. Thirty? There are over 650 students at Eagle Crest Elementary School (which is only K-4 right now - the 5th graders are at Altona Middle School because of overcrowding) and I'm guessing at least that many kids aged 0-5 in the surrounding neighborhoods. Only 30 of us could make the time to go to the meeting? Terrible.

So they started the meeting off with Ms. Perky addressing the "crowd" (I don't know her real name but you can picture her, I'm sure: the blonde ex-cheerleader turned "Director of Professional Development" who enjoys silly ice breaker games...but I'm sure she's a very nice woman LOL). She showed us a 4x4 grid and asked, "How many squares do you see here?" (forgive the representation below - I didn't take the time to make them perfect squares but you get the idea - it's just a 4x4 grid)

Immediately someone yelled out 16 and she encouraged people to keep thinking. People shouted out different numbers - 17, 20, 22, 25, etc. After few minutes she said, "You're all right." What?! She went on, "My question was, "How many squares do YOU see here?" YOU see 16 or 17 or 22. You might like to know that the answer is 27, but that's not important. What is important is that we all have different views on the same problem and that we should all appreciate each other's insight. No one is wrong here tonight so I want you to remember that. As we break up into small groups to discuss the pros and cons for each boundary option, remember that none of you are completely right and we need to respect everyone's opinions." Or something like that. I'd say this is new math gone completely wrong. :) I hope no one ever asks Connor "What do you think 1 plus 1 equals?" because he could answer 4 and apparently be correct because that's what HE thinks, right? I know, it was just a silly demonstration of how we all see problems from different perspectives but at least she could have given the correct answer. 27 is not the correct answer, so I'm sorry if that's your answer because I'm telling you you're wrong :) Oh, your poor self-esteem! See this kids math site for the answer...

Anyway, I got to add my opinion and, though I'm sure it won't make a difference in the grand scheme of things, I was happy to be there speaking up for two kids who aren't even in kindergarten yet! :)

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