Now wait just a dang second…. isn’t whole grade sharing the bane of small school existence? It’s this a death sentence for independent districts, getting swallowed up, creating larger, less personal learning spaces?
In some cases, yup.
This is my happy thought for a couple of reasons. First this:
(photo by Jeff Johnson/CR Gazette)
Last night, our football team, in its second year of existence with our whole grade sharing, won the 2A State Championship in one of the best football games I’ve seen at any level in a long, long time. Last year, playing down a level, they reached the state semi-finals, so they’ve got some talent. However, last year, going into the school year, there were many questions, period about our situation. Our school had just signed a whole grade share agreement with the neighboring district and it was done in a manner that didn’t sit well with many people. It was rushed, pushed through without much community support, and really divided the community in both school into good idea/bad idea sections. It was that football team starting out 11 – 0 that really brought the kids together, then this season rolled around, and after a 13 – 1 season with a state championship, the kids are more united than ever behind their school.
But it was more than that. Last year, they put on probably one of the best high school musical I’ve seen in “The Fiddler on the Roof” and this year’s rendition of “The Three Muskateers” was laugh out loud funny. The choirs/band/jazz band all received Division I ratings, competing against 3A schools. Students excelled in art and a new science/engineering program was put into place. Students have a choice of classes never seen before. So many great things have happened because of this whole grade sharing.
Now, if I were asked today to vote for a total consolidation, I’d vote no.
Just a darn second, aren’t you singing this praise?? Shouldn’t it because easier under one unifying name?
Someday, yes. Someday, the two districts will be one unified district. But not yet. Our community hasn’t been given the proper chance to grieve this loss, and for many people, it’s a process to go through. We still have this “us and them” mentality on many fronts. Our local newspaper talked up one district’s post-season accomplishments, but left out the other entirely. We aren’t at that point where we are “one district” yet, and honestly, that’s ok. After a year and a quarter, I’m amazed at how my basketball team is just my team, not two teams from two districts, but just them. I see that with many things in the middle school, and as time goes on, that transition will become more and more seamless. But until then, this whole grade sharing has created so much goodwill in the two communities, let’s just keep it going forward.
So, my happy though: whole grade sharing. Who’d have thought it would be a happy thought after all the meetings and upset people of two years ago? And where did two years go?? 🙂