First, my apologies about the lack of writing here, both to you the reader and to myself. It’s amazing how good it feels to get things out there, yet, finding the time to do it often is a pain. I’ve posted over 30 times, a personal record, and would love to keep this going. So, to readers, thank you for reading, and keeping me inspired to write. I’ll be the first to say, I’m hardly a writer, but it feels good right now. And to myself, find the time! If you can find the time for the other “stuff” in life, find this time too!
This last weekend I spend with my beautiful wife in a bed and breakfast about an hour away from where we live. My parents live close by so we dropped the kids off, and spend the weekend out of our educator/parent skins, and just had a chance to be. Of course, one of the topics of conversation was our daughters and what school might look like for them. Our district is currently going through some major financial difficulties to the point where whole grade sharing, at least in the high school, is almost a certainty. Our district has done a good job of keeping ahead of the game, trimming in a fashion for many years that wasn’t a drastic change. This year, it’s down to people, and that hurts them and us!
Our oldest is soon to be in high school, so there are concerns on our part on where cuts are coming from, where to send our daughter, and what would be best for her. She’s a very bright girl, and we’ve talked about some online classes, if offerings are there, along with the classes she’ll have here at school. Our other child will have the benefit of watching what happens, and seeing what changes are made because of it. Still, it’s a stressful time in all our lives.
As a whole, many schools in Iowa are facing these similar issues. No jobs, which equals families leaving, which brings in less money, which paints this ugly picture of failing schools and declining enrollment. Is this school in trouble? Probably. However, the kids who have graduated have held there own in high education, so I know the quality here is outstanding!
So that leads me to the question: where do we go from here? As a teacher, I worry constantly right now about my own future. I truly cannot see another job where I would get this much satisfaction day in and day out, yet, teaching jobs here have become very hard to find. I work with world class teachers, ones who are dedicated to the profession, people I call friends. Would I find this else where? With Common Core/Iowa Core, thinking creatively becomes more of a challenge because if we’d departmentalize, I’d be in charge of 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade literacy, a monumental amount of information for one teacher to be responsibile for.
How about my students? We are long narrow district, probably 25 miles north to south. We’ll lose students any way we look for school to whole grade share with, then what? Or parents who grew up here, watching their children move to a place they don’t know? Our region? If one or two schools survive, what does that mean for the towns where school functions are there life blood?
Too many questions and certainly not enough answers, but as our little piece of heaven continues to age, with little to draw in younger families and their kids, that question will continue to ring in my ears.
Where do we go from here?