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I went to Woodard, Coon and Fike schools. My children went to Wells, Elvie, Coon and Fike. My grandchildren have been to Wells and Elm City Elementary. I have volunteered at Margaret Hearne for more than 30 years. Having served as PTA president twice and Fike Booster Club president once, I can say we have been public school supporters throughout the years.
The Wilson County Schools have many cutting-edge programs and some great teachers and administrators, but the central office administration is not handling its obvious effort to do away with a very successful program with great potential for the future in a very fair way. Thank you to the school board, for they have at least slowed down the demise of the Spanish immersion program to gather more facts.
Clearly this program got off to a poor start at Hearne where most of the students were Hispanic and were not getting their English education at home. When the program moved to Wells and then to Elm City, many of the students from Hearne were not ready to follow the program and consequently the oldest classes in the program have fewer students. These statistics should not be used to show the negative numbers of per-student cost of the program.
If you look at the numbers from the program since moving, you can see a comparable cost for these students to those in regular classes. In addition to using inappropriate numbers, decision-makers need to realize that these special young teachers are not being paid retirement since they are here for a limited time and there are other savings on benefits that are savings for the future.
The numbers of students at Wells and Elm City have met their requirements to start classes each year even though the central office has prevented the teachers and administrators from promoting the program and even tried to keep parents from recruiting new students in the programs. With only a little more promotion, the program will grow because everybody in the program now loves it and sees its benefits.