Your letters continued April 22:
Published: Apr 21, 2012 05:00 PM
Modified: Apr 21, 2012 05:03 PM
Respect FPG progress
Recently, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools released a report on the dual language program. One recommendation has largely been overlooked: the creation of a dual language magnet school at Frank Porter Graham Elementary. This recommendation would eliminate a local, neighborhood school, displacing hundreds students. While the goal of improving the dual language program is laudable, displacing the majority of FPG students, many of whom are considered at-risk, is not.
FPG has experienced its share of challenges. However, thanks to a new administration, dedicated teachers and staff, and of course, lots of hard work by the students, FPG is making tremendous academic and social progress. In fact, in 2011, FPG saw the largest academic improvement in the CHCCS district, and is now a school of distinction. Considering that FPG serves 41 different nationalities, this is quite an achievement, and kudos to Dr. Bongarten, the principal, for leading FPG to this well-earned distinction. It would be egregious to ignore this progress.
Equally troubling is the fact that the recommendation largely ignores the impact to FPGs at-risk populations, most notably the Burmese and Karen population. Over the past decade, FPG has welcomed these students and developed a unique, caring environment. One advantage in serving this community is FPGs location. The walk zone allows parents, many of whom own no form of transportation, to walk to school for teacher meetings and school activities. Displacing these students and their parents from FPG would destroy not only this access but also the home this community has found at FPG.Bruce Allen Chapel HillRespect transparency
With a new elementary school coming, a number of decisions must be made. No matter what decisions are made, there will always be a contingent of parents and school staff unhappy with them.
But I hear time and again from our town leaders that this town wants to be an inclusionary and transparent town. Chapel Hill 2020 is a good example of that. I am one of the co-chairs on the Chapel Hill 2020 committee and have seen the lengths to which our town has reached out to the many populations that make us who we are. The result has been many spirited, thought-provoking discussions, and Im confident the resulting product will be much more rich and multi-dimensional than the plan that could have been written by a few people holed up in a conference room for a few days.
I see the decision regarding our districts Dual Language programs as an issue that demands the same attention and respect. It affects many populations within Chapel Hill/Carrboro, particularly our relatively new neighbors from Burma. There was a 10-person committee formed to review this issue. The committee consisted of principals from several area elementary, middle and high schools, as well as representation from Lincoln Center. However, Frank Porter Graham was not invited to participate. Nor was our administration even aware that these conversations were taking place. Yet Frank Porter Graham has been selected by the committee as the location for the DL magnet school starting in 2013-14.
No one in this district quite understands the unique population and distinct needs of our school like our own administration and staff. It would be nice to have someone with actual knowledge of our school to be a participant in the discussion. Paige Zinn Chapel HillSchool board does good
As I read Mr. Heartwells article Taxpayers to eat school lunch tab (CHN, April 11, http://bit.ly/HxuJJr
) I was moved to ignore the wrongheaded quips and sentiments expressed and consider the true purpose of the issue recently addressed by the school board. I dont think that it is too unreasonable to expect the school board to conduct itself in a way that is generally endorsed by the community it serves. That said, I would suppose it to be a safe assumption that adults of the CHCC Schools system would prefer that children receive nutritiously balanced meals. As an agent of the community the school board is most necessarily limited to doing only the good of the whole. Clearly, doing good in this instance is to avail nutritious meals to all children without regard to their ability to pay. To entertain arbitrary and judgmental appraisals of community members, or contemplate humiliating and denying the youngest and most vulnerable of our community, proves to be as petty and senseless as the tissue thin thoughts offered in Mr. Heartwell's irresponsible article.John Craven Asheboro
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