Guest Editorial

Posted November 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm

What our schools need

By Dan Dailey, Monticello resident

What our school needs, is a little PT, (Positive Talking). A lot of negativity has settled on Monticello lately and I believe we are better than that. While I can be one of our school’s sharpest critics, and there are times when I believe it is justified, but that time is not now.

For the last several months I’ve attended School Board meetings and I am amazed at what I did NOT know. Monticello Schools have so much more to offer students than what I was aware of. Programs that are available at several grade levels and a wide variety of ability levels. Unfortunately, this is one of the best-kept secrets in Monticello. I see that right now our schools’ major issue might be their “LACK OF BEATING THEIR OWN DRUMS” and not keeping the general public informed of the positive things offered. Without positive feedback, the public (myself included) resorts to the human nature of dwelling on the negatives.

Let me list a few positives we can start talking about:

KIRKWWOOD: This one asset alone should stand head and shoulders over all the rest and should be all we ever need to talk positive about the education available in Monticello. Kirkwood offers our students amazing advantages and families that take advantage of it can save thousands of dollars in college tuition and student loans…it could easily beat a student working a part time job while in high school. This year, Monticello has nine of 99 graduating seniors that have applied for early graduation; and a majority of these nine have earned college credits at Kirkwood and all indicate plans to continue their education.

EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: Since activities are the most visible to the public – often our entire School District is judged on the success, or failure, of an activity instead of core education. Studies have proven the more a student engages in activities, his/hers GPA goes up. Our Cross Country Team was named number one in the nation this year, but all I heard about was another athletic program that wasn’t doing well. Monticello enjoys high participation in most activities, and continues to work on others. Students have the ability to be involved in more than one activity, not limited to just one like some of the larger schools.

COMMUNITY ASSETS: We have so many assets that many small communities long for: our School Buildings, athletic facilities, a community that gives education the priority it deserves, a reasonable property tax rate due to numerous manufacturing operations. We take for granted the local weekly newspaper, the Express, doing an excellent job covering school events. Members of our School Board that continually self examine themselves, striving to better serve the students in every decision, in a very professional manner. How about our fire department, allowing us lower insurance rates, and the police department creating a low crime area for us to live in? Plus we have improved on the learning resources available for ELP and Special Ed, but what I see and most important of all, is that we are now addressing the needs of those kids in the middle.

LEARNING ASSETS: You may have heard of ELP (Extended Learning Program) for the best of the best students, but are you aware of the fantastic business program through BPA (Business Professional of America), the fantastic leadership program through FFA (Future Farmers of America), the Transition Program introducing qualified students to the work place, and don’t forget KIRKWOOD? I’m sure there are more programs like these that have not yet come to my attention. Also a Curriculum Director appearing to me, to be highly qualified in many areas and one that I personally witnessed recently, was in the area of staff and student morale.

VOLUNTEERS: willing to put in thousands of volunteer hours each and every year to assist the school.

LOCAL BUSINESSES: providing employment and on-the-job training for many of our kids.

SO, while the school will always face issues, how about we start some PT (Positive Talking) about all the great things we have in Monticello. Just look around; look at some of the surrounding towns-we are the best of the best in many, many areas and I invite you to please join me in talking positively about them.