So early (9AM) this morning I got a tour of the West Broadway School and the Asa Messer School.
It was sponsored by the WSPEC, WBNA and NOMADS (Ok, lets break em’ down: West Side Public Education committee, West Broadway Neighborhood Association, and I cannot for the life of me decipher or remember what NOMADS means!).
Apparently the Providence School Department is looking to shuffle things up and re-open the West Broadway school on Bainbridge Ave. in the city. So we went to brainstorm about what we want to see in schools.
One woman was adamantly opposed to splitting k-2 and 3-5 between two buildings that are one half mile apart The reason being, she has siblings that are only two grades apart, on in 1st the other in 3rd. But here is my point, the schools (West Broadway and Asa Messer) are only about .4 miles apart. A healthy adult can walk that in < 10 minutes, a child maybe 12-15 minutes.
I don't buy her arguments. I also heard that West Broadway was closed due to egress issues. The main reason, because younger kids move a little bit slower they didn't want them trampled by the older kids. My experience going to a K-8 Catholic school says you had regular fire drills and you showed kids how to evacuate the building in orderly fashion.
Another thing that came out was maximum class sizes. The number of students per classroom suggested by groups was 14 to 18. Right now the range is 20 to 26, hence my astonishment because in the Catholic schools they really pack em' in at 40 kids to a classroom. .
A couple of the groups brought up better math and science curricula. But as I alluded t in another post reading is a big problem. I even brought that up with the newest member of the Providence School Board who I believe is Kathleen Crain.
It was noted by several people that attendance at this forum was for the most part white people. Not only very white but older. I often wonder why it is we don't see the people in our community at these things.
Other pols in attendance, city councilman and candidate for mayor John Lombardi, Rep. Steven Costantino (D District 8 – Federal Hill, Broadway), Rep. Anastasia Williams (D District 9 – Western end of the city toward upper south side).
and Sen. Paul Jabour (D District 5, downtown, Federal Hill, Olneyville) and if I missed anyone my apologies.
Some interesting things came out of the brainstorm. Greater use of technology, an outdoor garden space (You can do it indoors too!) and more arts and music programs were suggested. We've gotten far away from that in the quest to make the test these days. And there really isn't any room to hire and art or music teacher. It's sad but it's the reality of education in the 21st century.