May 28, 2009
We wish to thank our families, friends and neighbors who signed petitions in support of our opposition to a roundabout in our village.
Thank you to all of you who did not get to sign a petition and verbally expressed your support.
A thank you to all those people outside of Williston who could not sign a petition but still expressed their support to us in person or with e-mails.
We were overwhelmed!
Last, we thank our Selectboard members for their willingness to review their decision at their next Selectboard meeting on June 1.
Listen to students and teachers
Watching the town of Williston grapple with the issue of multiage classroom configuration causes me to reflect on my own experience. In one month I will graduate from eighth grade after four years in a multiage team at Williston Central School. Multiage classrooms build strong relationships, enhance learning and create a supportive culture.
The classroom creates an ideal place for students to learn real life skills. Eighth graders regularly assist younger students and develop mentoring skills in the process. The fifth graders look up to older students as models of appropriate behavior and academic achievement. Students collaborate often, with every age group bringing different skills.
Multiage classes also support valuable relationships. Students get to know teachers well and become more comfortable with them and their teaching style. In turn, teachers get to know students and their individual strengths and needs. The multiage environment also creates meaningful peer relationships. I have friends in all different grades, enriching both my academic and social experience in middle school.
Multiage classes produce strong leaders and communicators, skills students will carry with them through life. When fifth graders see motivated older students, they strive to behave similarly. Multiage education creates a helpful, open environment. As a student, I know any time I need help with an assignment, someone will be there. We become accustomed to working with peers with different abilities.
As the town struggles to find the right configuration for our school district, I hope the voices of students and teachers are valued. They are the ones most affected by the choices to be made.