Celia Dunham: Now is the time to vote ‘yes’ | SteamboatToday.com

Celia Dunham: Now is the time to vote ‘yes’

As a former teacher and principal in the Steamboat Springs School District, I want to highlight the importance of supporting the upcoming school bond and mill levy issues. Our schools have been experiencing overcrowding for many years.

Crowded schools are not conducive to student learning. I have observed this in the sheer logistics of moving large numbers of students through a school.

Crowded hallways and classrooms increase the chances for conflict. In some cases, lunch schedules must be expanded to allow time for all students to eat.

When there is little or no open space in a school, it becomes difficult to find room to provide needed services. Interventionists, who provide small group instruction, may be moved into hallways or pod areas, where there is constant activity. This means students have difficulty concentrating on their work, and teaching strategies are less effective.  

Each year as the need for more space is addressed, the staff must spend time brainstorming solutions. This is difficult, as flexibility is often limited, and all of this discussion is time away from the important task of teaching.

In addition, the demands on school staff members, who work in these crowded situations, are constantly increasing. Educators are being asked to take on more and more, and their pay is not commensurate with other occupations with similar educational and responsibility requirements. 

Many individuals from the community, parents and staff members have spent countless hours analyzing the pros and cons of how to address the increasing district facility and staffing needs.  I know they have thoroughly considered all options.

It is time for us to take action and provide for the current and future needs of our students. I urge you to vote “yes” on the upcoming school bond and mill levy issues.

Celia Dunham

Retired principal, Strawberry Park Elementary School

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