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Middle School is a Bad Idea

Middle+School+is+a+Bad+Idea

Although a middle school is an idea that has been proposed by members of our community and school board, it is not a model that will work with our district. The K-8 schools and the high school have been churning out people into the workforce or college and changing that will put more stress on students and faculty. The students that are in middle school currently were in grades 4, and 5 during the covid pandemic, these are years in any person’s life that are formative in all subjects and in interpersonal relationships and the lockdown and different ways of being in school that followed created trauma for a very vulnerable age group. Districts and schools around the country are suffering as a result of a teacher shortage and the feedback loop that follows of higher class sizes with less support means more stress and then teachers leave the profession and the issue gets worse. The facilities in the district that need to be constructed are a new elementary school for Irasburg and a new office building to house the district administrators, and curriculum people. The administration at all schools needs to change its discipline policies because there is a clear lack of continuity and there have been students that I have heard from across almost every school in our district that at points were scared to go to school because of physical and mental abuse.

The K-8 schools and the high school have been churning out people into the workforce or college and changing that will put more stress on students and faculty. If you change a system that has worked for many years and then expect it to work as well or better, why should it do that? Schedules and conditions changed during covid and so did test scores nationally, this also caused a lot of stress and anxiety that is still prevalent. Almost all people do the best when they have consistency and changing the entire model of how the schools in our district run is not consistent. No plan that has been brought forth by the current superintendent has seemed to be one that is a long term solution.  If a solution is not one that can adjust for more teachers leaving and or changes in student body size then how can stability be given. If every school were to house 2 or three grades as is the current plan, how can we ensure that a small baby boom or having a bunch of teachers in say a grades 4-6 school wouldn’t mean that essentially all of those kids wouldn’t have anywhere to go. 

The students that are in middle school currently were in grades 4, and 5 during the covid pandemic, these are years in any person’s life that are formative in all subjects and in interpersonal relationships and the lockdown and different ways of being in school that followed created trauma for a very vulnerable age group. The teachers that taught this group have been leaving at higher rates than other teachers and are known to be “tough” classes throughout the district. This includes the children that were a part of the Irasburg middle school that was shut down last year mid year.  If those kids who have already had to change schools once have to do so again how can we expect them to do well and not expect more trauma.

The facilities in the district that need to be constructed are a new elementary school for Irasburg and a new office building to house the district administrators, and curriculum people. The COFEC building used to house things that were helpful to the parents of young children and now that the Superintendent’s office and offices for the new curriculum people are based there. Any new building that might be a middle school should have its own separate wing for these people, of which there are now around 15. Irasburg school has many different structural and layout issues that require a full new building. This will be the case unless the board in conjunction with Ms Chamberlin decide they can simply drop the school and have no students there.

The administration at all schools needs to change its discipline policies because there is a clear lack of continuity and there have been students that I have heard from across almost every school in our district that at points were scared to go to school because of physical and mental abuse. I have heard from anonymous students and parents that were from at least half of the schools in our district that they were scared to go to school or were suffering from physical violence that was repeated, reported, and not getting better. The real issue is that the only way for our principles and teachers to discipline students is to give them lunch detention or suspend them, and neither of these have been shown to actually cause student outburst to lessen. To address this issue parents should be brought in to have mandatory meetings after school so that they can see just how the children are acting out and see how they are teaching their kids to respond to conflict and how that is affecting their learning.

The fact that teachers are leaving at an alarming rate is one of the most pressing issues our district is facing. Some sort of change will have to happen and that may mean a reorganization of administration or our schools. We may also have to close schools because of PFAS or mold contamination very soon.

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About the Contributor
Max Demaine, Staff Writer
Max Demaine is a Ranger Post writer. He joined the program this year and hopes to continue writing for the post. Max likes to play many sports in his free time including soccer, baseball, skiing, cross country and wrestling. Max also plays the french horn in the high school band here at LR.

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