Recently, Georgia and I visited both Boothbay Region Elementary and High School. We visited six classes in all, and came away knowing that our region’s kids are in good hands. We watched as kids with special needs, as well as kids in advanced placement programs, worked on problems ranging, in first grade, from how basic sounds change the meaning of words, to complicated experiments in differing rates of plant growth in a sophomore biology class.
The schools welcome visits by community members, whether they are parents or not. Schools have changed a lot since many of us attended them as students ourselves. For the most part, you can forget the old picture of a teacher lecturing in front of 25 passive students. The classes are much more interactive today, and classes are smaller, allowing for more individualized attention. Like kids everywhere, they’re all different, and the good news is that our schools are able to meet their needs.
It’s easy to forget that public schools are our greatest civic institution, and it’s easy to have uninformed opinions if you haven’t been in schools for a while. I urge you to consider going for a visit. The kids and teachers love to have you there.
For 200 years the American public school idea has grown, and is, despite some shortcomings, the most successful of our civic institutions. And our version of it is happening everyday right here where we live. I hope you’ll arrange a visit, and take a look and a listen. You’ll be welcome, and quite likely, as we did, you’ll learn a lot.