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Jeffrey F. Cross: Must maintain schools

  • jacoblund


Monday, May 21, 2018
White Brook Middle School was once state-of-the-art

White Brook Middle School was a state-of-the-art facility when it opened in 1975.

As one of the original group of teachers, I really take exception to the negativity that is being directed at this school. Recently a member of the Easthampton City Council stated: “White Brook’s open classroom design provides a poor educational environment.”

A true middle school provides its students with numerous learning opportunities to explore, interact, develop and accept responsibility for their learning. Its programs are geared toward the academic, social, and emotional needs of its population.

If White Brook’s open classroom concept became problematic, consider that within a span of 10 to 15 years, the following happened to this “state-of-the-art” middle school: reduced staffing; elimination of two photography labs, wood shop, metal shop, ceramic arts, the student multimedia center, and the middle school baseball and soccer teams; track and field area destroyed; tennis courts abandoned; community swimming pool neglected/ruined; activity periods eliminated; full-time internal suspension room dropped; central air conditioning eliminated to the classrooms; gymnasium ignored and in need of major maintenance/repair; parking lots and sidewalks are extremely dangerous; and finally there is the carpeting and the roof.

Why build it if you can’t maintain it, staff it, and periodically add new programs of study, rather than eliminate or ignore them? The whole middle-school concept fell victim to program and staff reductions, thus leaving students with minimal middle school learning experiences. Why build it if you can’t support it?

White Brook never had a chance. It was dismantled through deficit funding, loss of appropriate staffing and elimination of programs so vital to support middle school education.

Let’s not waste the tax dollars of our citizens again. If you build it, you need to maintain it and support it financially.

Jeffrey F. Cross

Southampton