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In Your Opinion: Talk About Positive Aspects Of School District

By Kimberly Stephens, Franklin Park.

In recent months, our school district and our school board  has experienced more than its fair share of press, most of it negative. While I understand that some of our negative press was more than warranted, I’m sad to report that I feel that our town is falling victim to our own bad press and perpetuating a culture of negativity.

I am a proud Franklin Park School parent, and its been my experience that our schools have much more positive than negative in them. It saddens me that none of these positive things make the paper. This past year, I was privileged to be a member of the PTO Board and work with many teachers over the course of the year, and was exposed to many hard working and dedicated teachers and paraprofessionals who care for our children as much as we, the parents, do. In the process of planning our joint tricky tray with the Middle school, I was also exposed to some very dedicated teachers and staff at FMS. I was pleasantly surprised at their level of dedication and concern for the kids, and their willingness to sacrifice their personal time to help make the event a success for the children. Through my PTO volunteering, I’ve also been luck enough to see the tremendous efforts put forth by Mary Clark, at our district office. We are truly lucky to have her.

At Franklin Park School, we have a positive behavior program in place for all our students. When they behave in the proper manner they are rewarded with a golden ticket for displaying the behaviors that we want them to make a habit. As I sit at BOE meetings or watch them on TV, I’ve often had the thought that we need to implement this program at the meetings. How, as adults, can we expect problems to be solved and questions answered if we are so busy attacking each other personally and spreading rumors. I have wondered how we are ever going to attract more hard working and dedicated professional to our town if this is the behavior we are displaying towards them.

Its my feeling that the negativity, personal attacks, use of social media and other news outlets to spread the negative only, has backfired on us. Instead of creating the change that we require, its worked to spread the doom and gloom and perpetuate the feeling that our town and its schools are all in disarray. It seems as if we expect things to go wrong, and call this the Franklin way. Over and over, I’ve heard it’s our culture here in Franklin to do things the hard way.

I know at times, at least to me, it certainly feels as if disarray is the kindest word to use to describe the situation here, I truly feel that we can be the change we want to see in our town. Instead of being so quick to spread the negative, the gossip, and the gloom, why don’t we spread the good? Instead of yelling at our BOE members, lets take time to research for ourselves and spread facts. Instead of always getting up to the microphone with problems and complaints, lets ask questions and not make sure we receive answers. Lets talk about the good, and there IS good, lots of it. We saw, first hand, how taking about the positive can work when, as a community we came out to prevent the paras from being privatized. Each person that was at the microphone that night, spoke of all the good the paras do, and the school board listened.

I know there are many issues with our schools, but these issues are everywhere. I don’t think we are any different than any other town, with the exception being how we love to broadcast our troubles. I wonder what would happen, if instead of finger pointing and gossiping, we stopped and worked with our BOE to make the changes, that we as parents and people on the ground want. What could happen if we had open and honest communication between the BOE and the community? Think of the possibility of the change that could happen, if instead of posting your opinions on social media, we stopped and did our research and found factual information to share with our friends, instead of innuendo.  Remember, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. One can not be both.

For me, I’m sick of hearing and seeing all thats wrong, lets talk about what’s right. Let’s work together to be the change we want and need.  All our fighting and power struggling affects the exact group we are trying to protect, our children.

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