Katherine Appy: New school building to foster friendships, equality

Published: 7/27/2016 5:02:03 PM

I am writing to clarify misinformation in a July 15 letter, “School community at stake under school plan.” The author claims that the new school building in Amherst will be too large to foster the diverse community friendships she values at Wildwood Elementary School.

In fact, the new building plan calls for two separate and distinct schools that will each have fewer students than Wildwood has now. Furthermore, the design will provide greater intimacy with both a smaller footprint and grade level clusters of three or four classrooms which will also allow for more even class sizes.

The author also claims that the new school plan will diminish play space. That’s simply untrue. I urge community members to examine the designs online (www.boldamherstschools.org). They will clearly see that the plan calls for two playground areas, two play fields and two hardscape play areas. The plan also includes a large indoor “makerspace” that the current schools lack.

The new plan not only preserves community, but enhances diversity and equity. Students who are now being bused out of their neighborhoods based on their socio-economic status or special educational needs will finally have the opportunity to attend the same schools as their friends and neighbors.

Additionally, the plan allows for an increased number of preschool seats for children who cannot now afford to attend preschool.

The proposed new schools best represent our community values and promotes the inclusion of all our children.

Katherine Appy


The writer is chair of the  Amherst School Committee.

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