Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Continuing along the positive improvement trend

Thursday, March 27, 2014

As a 20-year veteran in education and a 1994 graduate of Missouri Valley College, I have some thoughts and opinions that I would like to share. On April 8, the Marshall community will be asked to make a decision that will impact its future and the future of its students. To that end, I would like to provide some information that I hope will assist voters to make an informed decision.

The statistic that has been shared is that we are in the bottom 10 percent in terms of test scores. While this was a true statistic a few years ago, I would like to point out that on our most recent report card put out by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education that Marshall Public Schools earned a score of 87.9 percent. This is due to the efforts of many teachers and administrators and shows the improvements that are being made.

In order to continue along this positive improvement trend, passing the tax levy would be helpful for several tasks to be accomplished. First of all, housing elementary students on one campus would provide a sense of community, better safety for our students and a better focus for the use of our resources. While having students at four buildings was a good solution years ago, it now does not meet our needs. The elementary buildings are now so full that rooms once allocated for music and art are being used for additional classroom space, leaving specialty areas on carts instead of in classrooms. A second way to continue academic improvement is to decrease the number of changes that students must make between grade levels. Students and their families will undoubtedly feel a sense of pride, accomplishment and ownership in a school system when their time spent in the same consistent learning environment becomes a true investment. In short, making more improvements in the area of student achievement will be difficult if our facilities do not also improve.

Respectfully,

-- Amber Tottingham, Marshall
Marshall High School A+ coordinator and Theatre Arts teacher