As the referendum vote draws near, I find myself contemplating the possibility that all children in the Brainerd district might be allowed the opportunity to attend school in a modern, safe learning environment.
Currently, the students in my 8th grade Earth Science classroom at Franklin are asked to contend with numerous inadequacies that inhibit their learning potential. Franklin's shiny paint and clean hallways hide the underlying structural decay and the problems associated with housing 1,000 pupils in an inadequate facility.
My own students' learning area is a classroom that measures a mere 660 square feet. I am forced to cram 31 eighth-graders into a space comparable to your living room and kitchen. Physically, there is only space for 30, and I also have to squeeze in filing cabinets, computer, tables, teacher's desk and bookshelves. The students are accustomed to being squeezed together, with shoulders physically touching their table mate's, and legs tucked under the chair in front of their own. Now imagine setting up lab equipment in this environment.
The air exchange system can't begin to keep up with the demand for fresh air. The Glade plug-ins aren't sufficient in masking the stale air created by an overly crowded room of adolescents. The clanking of the heating system in my room frequently disrupts classroom discussions. Never mind the condition of Franklin's plumbing; here's one place where the imagination cannot compete with reality. Forget about washing your hands in hot water, there isn't enough time between classes to wait for even warm water to arrive. (I have never gotten hot water from a faucet on the second floor).
Please do your part in creating a modern, safe learning environment for all our students in the district, not just a chosen group. Out of respect for our children, ourselves, and our future it's time to come together and vote "yes" for a new school.
(McCulloch is an Earth Science teacher at Franklin Junior High.)
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.