Former elementary teacher says learning environment matters

To the editor:

I am a graduate of Mt. Pleasant Community Schools, and a retired elementary teacher. I am writing to tell why I am voting ?yes? for the upcoming bond referendum on Sept. 9.

My career in teaching was unique in that I had to move around the country with my husband?s career. I was fortunate to get a teaching position wherever we lived. In my 27 years of teaching elementary grades and Title I reading/reading recovery, I taught in five different school districts in Iowa and three other states.

It was in 1990 in the Appalachian hills of West Virginia, that I experienced first-hand the difference it makes when a school building is upgraded to include air-conditioning. I was teaching 2nd grade in a building that was upgraded with air-conditioning. Student achievement, behavior, test scores and morale all improved significantly.

The question posed by this bond is ?Does learning environment matter??

I know my answer, from experience, is a resounding yes. It matters a lot.

There have been plenty of studies that show that learning environment directly affects student achievement, test scores and school morale.

When I think about what it was like to work in a school with climate control, improved technology and adequate learning space, I am very frustrated and saddened about the condition of our elementary schools.

The four elementary schools in the Mt. Pleasant district are all 50 plus years old. None are air-conditioned and none have the necessary security and safety measures for today. Learning space is sub-standard and does not allow for meeting individual needs of students. Computer technology lags behind other districts in the area.

There comes a time when every community must be willing to make some sacrifice to fund improvements to their schools. This is the time for Mt. Pleasant.

With passage of this bond, our four elementary neighborhood schools can serve the community for many years to come.


Cathy G. Helman