LETTER: It is time for high school consolidation
Published 9:55 pm Saturday, August 10, 2019
This letter is in response to recent and ongoing newspaper on school consolidation for Stanly County’s high schools.
First, I’m totally in favor of two or even one high school to serve the students of Stanly County.
I appreciate Mayor Michael and others for bringing the topic to our attention.
For our students, teachers and community to succeed we need to provide the best educational environment possible.
To have this happen we need school populations large enough to allow a diverse and comprehensive course of study for college-bound, career and technical and special education students.
Regarding the comments of some that the travel distance would be too great to have two, much less one, high school serving Stanly County, I say look to the number of much greater land mass counties than Stanly that serve their students with one to two high schools.
It’s not a question of large is always better, it’s a question of how you can provide the best educational opportunities for the different student groups.
Gray Stone Day School has been successful due to only needing to provide a college preparatory curriculum, and serving families with the ability to provide their own transportation to its campus.
Gray Stone draws students from seven counties. You don’t hear those parents complaining about their drive times.
Secondly, I would like to address the block scheduling format our high schools provide for all our students. I was an advocate in the mid- to late-90s when our high schools adopted this system.
However, in my opinion we have not continued the training of teachers, provided the collegial time for departments to meet and have a semester schedule allowing for exams to be given in a timely basis — nor do we have student populations large enough to offer the variety and levels of courses that different student populations require.
Some subjects are okay to teach in one semester, others are not, or they are watered down to the effect of being of less value or not bringing real learning for the student.
I believe a hybrid system of the block and traditional year-long course of study is needed, and this can only be accomplished with student populations large enough to have staffing and course offerings to meet the needs of all our students.
We can afford and accomplish for our students and economic future of our community what is needed if we have the will.