Courses may be lost in city

Editor, OBSERVER:

Dunkirk teachers have advocated and will always advocate for student opportunities. In light of recent events, we believe it is imperative that we, representing the students of Dunkirk High School, address concerns that have come to light across the district.

While many changes result in positive outcomes, the proposed scheduling changes at every level, to be implemented by our district administration, will impact our students in a negative way. Change for the sake of change is never good.

Along with 45-minute classes at the elementary level and unilateral changes to the structure of the Middle School day, the district has decided to reduce the high school day by one class period per day. This will eliminate each and every Dunkirk High School student’s opportunity to take an important course every year.

This may mean they lose the chance to be a band or chorus member. This may mean they can no longer take art courses. It may mean technology classes will be limited, thereby putting our students at an immediate disadvantage. Students may lose Jamestown Community College courses, which at the very least would cost them 12 college credits. They may lose the ability to graduate in four years alongside classmates.

They will likely lose advanced foreign language courses highly valued by colleges and equally advantageous advanced level business courses. It may mean they lose the study hall that affords them the opportunity to complete their work and still keep an after-school job or compete in athletics while maintaining good grades.

Gone as well may be JROTC and the leadership and scholarship opportunities it creates. This change may mean students won’t be accepted at the college of their choice because their transcripts will lack the same depth afforded to other applicants.

They may also lose the chance to apply for admission to the 3-1-3 program at SUNY Fredonia.

Make no mistake, all students will lose something.

This loss will compromise our students’ ability to compete for positions in our modern economy. Students won’t be allowed to pursue their passions and interests, to explore different disciplines, to set goals that will lead to future successes. In good faith, we cannot remain silent. This “innovative” scheduling change will cost our students, your kids, much valuable experience without any educational benefit.

We have asked, nay, implored the administration to share with us how these changes will benefit our students, but to this point have been met with silence. It is impossible to eliminate one instructional period each day at the high school level and not lose instructional programming and therefore opportunities for student growth and success.

So we are calling on the collective voice of the families and community we serve to help us advocate for our children’s future. Help us ensure that no student is limited in his or her educational path due to something as preventable as time constraints. Speak out on behalf of all Dunkirk students. Attend school board meetings.

Each and every child deserves an education that allows for individual needs to be met while affording them an opportunity to develop, grow, and pursue their passions. Simply put, if administration mandates their proposed changes it will reduce students’ opportunities. This ideology is in direct opposition to our fundamental belief that our students deserve more, not less.

If it’s your hope, as it is ours, for every Dunkirk student to be graduated as a well-rounded college or career-ready young adult, now is the time to let your voice be heard.

THE DUNKIRK TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

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