• Students will still use the computer lab, use iPads, Power Point presentations and type. They aren’t giving up technology and moving to wood blocks and chalkboards. It isn’t a step back; it’s just not a leap to catch up with the newest trends.
• Grades K-3 will be the same at all elementary schools. The changes come at grades four through six. We would rather keep our kids in their familiar building with classroom instruction changes rather than change everything for them. I don’t think a different focus in grades four to six really will make much difference when they merge with other students in junior high.
Then there is the “Amish factor” that no one wants to address publicly. Culturally, my “English” children are a minority at MES at a 60-40 percent ratio. We love that our children interact with the kids that live in our neighborhood. The relationships we developed with our Amish neighbors through school connections are wonderful.
I acknowledge that the ratio of Amish children could significantly increase as the Practical Arts model is more in line with their lifestyle and goals. I am glad our school system acknowledges that the needs of its students are not all the same. If Millersburg parents react to these changes by transferring their children to STEAM schools (Benton and New Paris), this leaves more openings for Amish children to transfer in. I am concerned this could be divisive and create within the district an “Amish” school.
I encourage you to disengage with fear, and set your emotions aside. Consider what you like about MES. How does the proposal change that? Are you willing to stay at Millersburg? I have faith that the staff will rise to the changes and continue to challenge our children creatively. I hope that the student body will continue to be a place where our children can learn to relate with their peers and attain education to adequately prepare them for the future.
Betsy Black is the mother of two children and resides in Millersburg.