Letters to the Editor1/29/09

Jan. 29, 2009


Local elections will be held on Tuesday, March 3. Please note the Observer will not run any Letters to the Editor pertaining to the elections on Feb. 26, the week prior to the election.

All Letters to the Editor written in regards to the March 3 election MUST be received no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 16, and will appear in the Observer on Feb. 19. Please be aware that normal guidelines will apply, including a 300-word limit for all letters.

E-mail letters to editor@willistonobserver.com.

Don’t change phys ed in the schools

I am a Williston homeowner and moved to the town specifically because of the fine schools, teachers and approach to education. As an undergraduate, I student taught at Williston Central School in physical education, did a practicum at Allen Brook and created an adapted physical education program for children with intensive special needs in grades five through eight at Williston Central. Currently I run the physical education program at Jericho Elementary School.

My perspective is that of an insider having firsthand experience of the multi-age classrooms at Williston Central School and a teacher who teachers single-age classes. I have received national recognition for my work in physical education as the 2006 AAHPERD Outstanding Future Professional.

Please, for the sake of my children and all others in our school’s future, DO NOT CHANGE the physical education structure. The multi-age classroom makes learning in this environment intrinsic. It reduces classroom behavior issues, helps promote personal and social responsibility and offers real life opportunity to work and learn in a diverse setting.

Teaching personal and social responsibility is at the very core of teaching physical education. Having a multi-age, diverse classroom promotes such learning.

The physical education department at Williston Central School is structured so the students in grades five through eight choose what they want to learn. It is rare to find a program that has the willingness and talent to be so flexible and the resources to make it happen. This ability to choose activities in physical education provides a sense of ownership to the students and promotes the concept of lifelong physical activity.

Moving to a single-age class in physical education puts in jeopardy all these benefits and opportunities for our students. Nothing from a pedagogical point of view or from a student’s experience would be gained by moving to a single-age class in physical education.

Glenn Steinman, Williston

A bleak future?

What I read about our economy and people losing jobs scares me, yet this recession is good for the country as it makes us take a good look at our spending habits. Hopefully it will show us what we really need to exist and how to balance living a good but happy life.

A few years ago our household had to sit down with a financial advisor and put down on paper exactly what we needed for a monthly income to pay the monthly necessities. It was good for us. It takes time well spent. This happened especially when we sold our business and were suddenly on a fixed income. One does not have to wait for this to happen to review household budgets and expenses. We found out how many magazine subscriptions we had and how much we spent to eat out, for grandchildren’s birthdays and Christmas gifts. It can be an eye-opener to your spending habits.

I would like to challenge everyone in Vermont to take a pay cut so no one has to lose their job and go on unemployment. I think to lose one’s job and income and health insurance has got to be far worse than taking a pay cut. No one can know everyone’s family situation, how many are dependent on that income and insurance, so to just tell someone they no longer have a job or insurance seems harsh and cruel. How long can unemployment benefits last? When a job is lost where is there one to be found?

In the past, Vermonters have been known to be leaders.

Ginger Isham, Williston

A decade of mentoring

Ten years ago, a group of eighth graders from across Williston Central School came together to plan a new “mentoring initiative,” made possible by funding from Connecting Youth. They envisioned creating strong mentoring relationships based on trust, listening and caring.

Today, Connecting Youth Mentoring has blossomed into a thriving program serving over 120 middle school youth throughout Chittenden South Supervisory Union. CY Mentoring has remained true to the vision created by these Williston eighth graders.

On this 10th anniversary, CY Mentoring at Williston Central School will benefit from the Brick Church Music Series contemporary jazz concert on Feb. 20, featuring “Picture This.” All proceeds from this event will support the Williston Central School “Guardian Angel Fund,” helping Williston students participating in mentoring to identify and develop their unique gifts, talents and interests.

Tickets are available at the Town Clerk’s office or at the door.

With your support, this wonderful program will continue to thrive for many, many years to come.

Carol Bick, Nancy Carlson, Nancy Colbourn, Kathleen Cramer, Chris Ford, Sarah Klionsky, Shona Mossey-Lothrop, Jackie Parks, Michael Thomas, Micaela Wallace, Darlene Worth, WCS Mentoring Advisory Board