Guest editorial: School district has done its homework
October 31, 2015
My company, Emerald Data Solutions, Inc., works with over 1,700 school public districts all over the country and working with the leadership of our K-12 administrators nation-wide, I have become a huge supporter of public education. Over the past 10 years, I have had the opportunity to work directly with the leadership of our local Park City School District. In my experience as a parent and expert in education, Park City School District has the strongest team of administrators we have had in Park City for years, and among the best I have encountered any where.
The careful and deliberate work done to evaluate the needs of our community has been focused on what is best for our students. Currently, the plan we are being asked to support is the culmination of months of planning with input from a wide range of stakeholders and experts. Our elected body of Governing Board members has examined the recommendations of the master planning committee and superintendent and has adopted virtually all of the recommendations. With meticulous consideration, the board now asks the voters to support the needs of our students.
For those who have not followed the process, it all comes down to addressing two main overall needs: capacity at our schools and increased learning opportunities for our students. Three of our four elementary schools are at capacity and to the point where we already have trailers at one school. Treasure Mountain is a sick school and would be more costly to fix than replace. It has always bothered me that 9th grade is not included in the high school where it belongs. Ninth grade students need to experience high school and begin the critical preparation for college and careers at a higher level that can be provided at a junior high. As a businessman, I look for team members that skills fostered in a more rigorous and intentional environment
The most economical solution is to move 9th to the high school and place 8th graders at Ecker Hill. The decision to move 5th to Ecker Hill is also sound. It supports the community philosophy that we bring our students together in a unified, cohesive community to foster the community values and beliefs.
I recently visited a K-12 school in the barrios of San Diego. It reinforced the notion that 5th graders should not be with 8th graders is simply ludicrous. The K-12 School I visited was one of the most respectful, clean schools I have ever encountered. Like the PCSD plan, the 5th graders get instruction in a carefully designed village within a school that is intimate and provides the basis for project based instruction. The PCSD plan also reduces the number of times our students change schools to the national standard of two transitions during the middle years. The plan makes fiscal sense; and it is also what is BEST for our students.
I fully trust our administration to continue the deliberate work they have started to increase literacy, growth and performance, while utilizing the resources this bond will provide to provide the next generation of learners in the type of learning environments that will produce exceptional community members. Join me and support Proposition 1.