Letters to the Editor

Clover Valley could be magnet school

School enrollment appears to be on the uptick in Oak Harbor. With a bit of forethought, this trend can provide opportunity to use Clover Valley Elementary for improved K-8 education.

The Oak Harbor High School remodel is planned to be complete by the start of the next school year. With that milestone also arrives the end of using CVE as a “swing” school in which OHHS freshmen and sophomores have been spending half-days for the past two years. Prior to its swing-school status CVE was remodeled, including a new roof, and so is a sound building for the foreseeable future.

An emerging national curriculum with higher academic standards in English language arts (reading, writing, speaking and listening) and in mathematics is being developed and soon will be finalized. CVE could serve the community well as a K-8 magnet school that uses these higher academic standards and associated curriculum. The standards themselves are available at: http://www.corestandards.org.

A proposal floated to use CVE as new home for the so-called alternative high school, the Midway School, is substandard. There will be more than enough excess capacity at the new OHHS to absorb the Midway School program. If an elementary building such as CVE is all that is required for a high school, the expansive and costly OHHS remodel amounts to little more than an expensive “wants” project versus $74 million of “needs.” Freshmen and sophomore busing between CVE and OHHS the past two years by the district was motivated by a desire to give these students a real high school (versus elementary) experience.

Another floated proposal for CVE was for its use solely by the Home Connection program, but this is also a less desirable, lesser value-option for our community. For grades 9-12, the new OHHS should have ample classroom space for Home Connection-run high school classes, while also affording students access to all else OHHS has to offer. If space affords, it may be feasible to use some CVE classrooms for K-8 Home Connection classes along with a district-run K-8 Core-Standards’ magnet school. If so, parents of K-8 Home Connection students could end up with the best of both worlds for their students available to them under one roof.

Not using CVE at all for district-run K-8 education could be a very costly choice as enrollment rises. CVE elementary classrooms are an inexpensive, already-paid-for option versus building new or remodeling K-8 classrooms elsewhere.

William Burnett

Oak Harbor

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