Op/Ed

Editorial: Challenging times for schools

ANGELO LYNN

We’re living through some very challenging times for schoolteachers and administrators. The disruption caused by the pandemic has upset the applecart at many school systems and for many students.

It’s no one’s fault, but it’s everyone’s problem to solve. That’s easy to forget. It’s far easier to blame someone, or some systemic problem.

Like other schools, Middlebury Union Middle School has had its share of problems. School discipline is an issue. Town police are too frequently called there to solve conflicts that would have previously been rare. The problem may have been compounded by a change in instruction that merged the district’s sixth-grade students into the middle school’s seventh and eighth grades at what turned out to be unfortunate timing, but that’s neither here nor there, it happened and the district needs to work out the issues.

A change in school leadership to move to a more dynamic co-principal leadership team with the addition of Michaela Wisell, currently the assistant principal at Middlebury’s Mary Hogan Elementary, seems fortuitous, as outlined in a story in today’s Addison Independent. (See Page 1A.)

But it doesn’t end there. Parents will need to step up as well. Student discipline begins at home, as does increased tolerance of others in their highly varied circumstances. School district administrators have damage to repair, if a letter to the editor on this page is close to its mark. The challenge is to have a school community that works together to solve problems without first casting blame. That can happen when everyone acknowledges they have a role in helping students survive, and excel, during these challenging times.

Angelo Lynn

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