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Letter: K-5 school plan offers plenty of positives

To the Editor:

While I certainly respect the feelings and comments of those who support housing two grades per elementary school, it is my opinion that K-5 in each school is far more beneficial and I highly support this decision. I hope that the supporters of the fore mentioned will consider my reasoning:

1. Having multiple grades in one school allows the older kids to become a positive influence and mentors for the younger kids. These roles build confidence and self-esteem. New Richmond schools currently do allow the older students to travel to the elementary schools to work one-on-one with our younger students so we already know the benefits, however, what a wonderful benefit to all students that this can occur every day!

2. Our children will have the consistency of familiar surroundings and staff for a five-year period. I think it's imperative for our kids to feel comfortable and have routine. It also gives our teachers and coaches an opportunity to really know our children -- a relationship and mentorship that develops beyond only those 18 months that the kids attend that school. This will prove beneficial not only in school but in the community as well. Having to leave a school after only two school years just to transport to a new school with a new surrounding and new teachers (multiply this by five) is unrealistic. I have firsthand experience with this having gone to five different schools myself and never having moved once and from a student's perspective it was no "adventure." Frankly, it caused many students more stress than necessary. Would you consider moving your children to a new community every two years? I think not.

3. On the same note, consider for a moment that there may be families in New Richmond whose home life is less than stable for one reason or another. While we'd all prefer this not be the case, in truth there are families who struggle. Rather than subject these kids to the same instability with having to constantly switch schools, don't you think that it would be far better to allow security and routine as mentioned above?

Ms. Blietz, respectfully, I think if you took an honest initiative you'd find that there are a great deal of New Richmond residents who support housing K-5. Probably more than you think. I know I have and that number far exceeds the two people you found.

Tracy Hawkenson

New Richmond