A letter about Springfield schools and upcoming budget

Dear Editor,

As a society, we have become accustomed to fast changes and rapid improvements. An example of this is this year’s Super Bowl team, the San Francisco 49ers. Last year, the 49ers were 4-12, and this year they are in the championship game, an astonishing turnaround.

I wish that we could see the same immediate improvements in our schools, but it is a slow process. What tends to get lost in the notion of immediate improvement is improvement starts with a solid foundation. This foundation in football can be a strong defensive line, or in a school district it can be a strong kindergarten through second grade education. I have now been a member of the Springfield School Board for two years, and I can say for certain we are working on a strong elementary education.

We, as a district, are continuing to work on this foundation and are ready to start building upon it. In the district’s new strategic plan, the foundation was identified as academic success, social-emotional success, positive culture, and community relationship. The upcoming school budget is focused upon this foundation.

Immediate improvements in a school district are difficult to track, and one metric is not adequate to measure improvements. The community often uses only standardized test scores to measure the success of our district. This is not the only metric that needs to be considered when evaluating our district. Student successes cannot be quantified on a mere test score and a student who is educated only around standardized tests will not be a well-rounded community member. Ideally, we want students who can excel on tests, public speaking, social environments, and the arts. These students will be able to contribute the most to our society as a whole.

Teachers, support staff, and administration are continually working to improve our schools. We are facing challenges from a changing society and state regulations. Trauma-based learning is a phrase that was never regularly discussed when I was a student or even 10 years ago, but it is a phrase that I have become accustomed to hearing. Proficiency-based grading brings challenges to both the school district and to parents. There are many parents who are struggling to understand the correlation of proficiency grading to the numerical or letter grades we grew up with in our education. These are merely two of the challenges.

As a community, we should support the education of our youngest community members. Today’s students will soon be in our workforce, volunteers, new homeowners, entrepreneurs, and our future leaders. Please join me by supporting Springfield’s school budget. More details about the budget can be obtained by contacting the Springfield District Office at 802-885-5141. I welcome your comments and concerns at tpalmer@ssdvt.org.

Sincerely,

Troy Palmer

Springfield School Board Member

Springfield, Vt.

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