Education Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: Doria, McCallum are honest, effective communicators

As parents of young children we are concerned about school consolidations, not just whether they should happen but how they will happen. A shift of that magnitude requires the strongest possible leadership, people in positions of authority who can receive information from all sides, evaluate what is necessary and best from opposing viewpoints, communicate honestly and transparently with stakeholders across the board, and — most critically — remain open to adaptation and improvement when plans falter.

In the spring of 2021, teachers presented the ACSD school board with a letter outlining their concerns and warnings about the upcoming merger of sixth grade into MUMS, particularly without increasing the number of staff at the middle school to adequately support these students. The plans remained unchanged, the merger took place as designed, and the fallout has been harmful and disastrous for the entire MUMS community.

For us, this is not as simple as whether or not schools should consolidate. This is about how a community is brought together amid difficulty to achieve something close to consensus, a plan that is informed by community voices rather than consultant reports, that prioritizes the health and well-being of every child in our district.

Jamie McCallum and Joanna Doria are parents of ACSD students who have a vested interest in the health and future of our district’s students and staff. They approach complicated issues by listening to a wide range of people who have direct understanding of what is happening and what is necessary for our schools. They engage in challenging conversations with open minds and the belief that their understanding can be enriched by others’ opinions and knowledge. They are honest and effective communicators who have been on the confusing end of information sharing about what may or may not happen within ACSD and are committed to creating a more transparent exchange of ideas between the board and the community.

We support Jamie McCallum and Joanna Doria for the ACSD school board because we are interested in a future where hard decisions are made together rather than in a vacuum, and where our community is led by people who will guide us through challenging times in the spirit of collaboration and transparency.

Conor Stinson and Ellen Whelan-Wuest


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