The Bureau Valley School District states the proposed addition will bring:
1) Improved facilities and improved learning environments.
2) Enhanced opportunities for college, career and technical education class.
3) Strengthened clubs, programs and extra-curricular activities.
4) Additional exploratory classes and electives provided.
I would like to touch on the second and fourth aspects of this statement.
In regards to the statement about enhanced opportunities for college, career, and technical education classes, the children in this addition will be grades 3-8. They are simply trying to learn how to write proper sentences, multiply numbers, and learn how to type. They aren’t ready for college or careers yet.
The majority of them have idealistic job thoughts: nurse, firefighter, farmer, etc. These children need to challenge their minds / thought process with age appropriate subjects, not adult expectations.
Additional exploratory classes and electives sounds like a GREAT idea, right? However, have you seen the schedule for these children? Our district’s grades 3, 6 and 8 are already 102 minutes daily behind the state average in the amount of time devoted to the teaching of core subjects such as math, English/language, social science, and science.
The current Bureau Valley North schedule has three-minute passing periods, 41-minute classes, a 30-minute lunch and recess break, one study hall (that is 41 minutes long), and one homeroom that is 35 minutes long.
One thing to remember with the homeroom is this period is shortened for some students because they must leave the school early to catch a bus to another part of the district. Another thing to remember is that students already involved in band or chorus miss the study hall or homeroom period at least two days a week.
So, if we are to introduce exploratory classes and electives on a more frequent basis, where will this fit into the schedule? Remember, we are already behind the state average in core subjects! Are we going to take away a study hall from these students? Or will their lunch be shortened even more?
We need to start supporting our student’s CORE education. We understand exploratories and electives are fun and exciting, but children need to have a strong educational background in order to succeed in high school, college and life.