Eighth-graders write letters to school board
Students learned to make their complaints in writing at L.W. St John Middle School. Mindy Rice, an eighth-grade teacher, had her students write persuasive letters to a specific audience. Many of them chose the school board.Students made locker measurements and timed their commutes from class to class in a math lesson and then used those facts as supporting evidence in their letters.Students argued either for new lockers or for longer passing periods and addressed their letters to principal Scott Pankow, the school board or the counselors, who make schedules.”After reading these letters, I couldn’t really argue with the students,” Pankow said. “The lockers are … they’re bad; you’re right.”Superintendent Steve McKee suggested that Rice go back to her students and ask them to drum up some solutions to the problems they addressed in their letters and make suggestions to the board about how to improve the situation with cramped lockers and short passing periods.Pam Arsenault, the dean of the West Garfield campus of Colorado Mountain College also addressed the board. CMC and District 16 have developed a significant partnership over the past few months.CMC helped to open a new building next to the district administration building, where it conducts its dual-enrollment classes and offers several classes open to the community in Parachute and Battlement Mesa.”It’s helped us to offer more,” Arsenault said. “You don’t have to worry about getting eight kids (for dual-enrollment classes), now we have to worry about getting eight people total in order to offer a course. It helps kids get a taste of college.”In addition to the new building and dual-enrollment courses, CMC is offering a number of courses and programs that will help to prepare students for work in the oil and gas business, which is booming in their own backyards.”It’s been a great relationship with CMC,” McKee said. “I think our students really benefit.”
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