Norton parent says Norton 21 offered unique choice
To the editor:
The Norton 21 program should not have been at the mercy of three individuals, two of whom clearly had an agenda to rid themselves of the program for some time.
So much has been said about this issue over the past few months, and I have come to learn many people who have had an intense dislike for Norton 21 certainly have never sat in a classroom, or listened to the children present reports during whole group, etc. Did they do their homework to learn about the school, or just chime in with the many rumors, both positive and negative? We heard all the negative as well when we made the decision to check out the school. Seeing for yourself and asking hard questions of the school would clear up many of the preconceived notions. It takes time, but it worked for us.
It’s the old “they think they are better, get rid of them” reaction. Incorrect. It is the learning process that Norton 21 provided that made it special. No one can say a child is better or worse because they are attending Primary, Grill, Cornerstone or Norton 21. It was a choice, and it worked.
There are so many problems and negative things in this world that need to be fixed, so why in the world were these three people in such a rush to remove something that worked, that flourished, especially on the eve of having a new school superintendent? Not two months prior to closing down the school, Karen Wilson herself stated the board was behind the program and just wanted to remove the uniforms. Clearly that was not true.
The comment of not needing Norton 21 because the other schools “caught up” — again, that is a biased personal opinion and also drives a wedge between the schools. Ms. Cindy Webel needs to put her personal feelings aside and think for all children, as Diane Farmer stated. Test scores, while certainly important, are not the only reason to have a choice of the style of education. It was the curriculum. Yes, the teachers did a fantastic job, but the “us against them” mentality that I have come to learn exists throughout the other teachers in the district is wrong as well.
It was the curriculum. The ability of a first-grader to learn from a fourth-grader and vice versa. All of these students digging in and learning together. Not better, not worse, different and a choice.
Norton 21 was not perfect. It had its problems as all schools do. It was singled out for being different.
Norton has been damaged by this decision, but the biggest casualty of all are the students of Norton 21, both present and future.
My daughter asked me why the board closed her school. I told her that people make mistakes, even people in charge. And this was a big one. Not the learning experience I would have chosen.
A little out-of-the-box thinking goes a long way. Closed minds, closed doors, closed opportunities.
Donna Longfellow, Norton