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LETTER: Suggestions for Dennis schools

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Letter to the Editor

I just want to the DPS61 Board and community know that there is support for a new Dennis Lab building. We also would like to add that we need a viable plan for both the vacated buildings if this does come to fruition. My take on reasons for new school:

  • The newest of the two buildings is 107 years old. At least one of the buildings is not ADA compliant
  • Even combined, the two buildings don’t have the capacity for 600-plus students. Some teachers working out of closets
  • Special ed teachers working out of offices. No room to teach their kids
  • To fully implement the Project Based Learning curriculum, the kids need to be able to meet and collaborate. No room for that now and staggered between two campuses
  • No way to implement the “Buddy System,” which has been so successful for Dennis. Pairing older classes with younger. Builds leaders in older kids and confidence in learning with younger kids.
  • No sports facilities for thriving Middle school sports programs
  • Library for entire Main St building is in a small classroom now.

Needs for Dennis lab schools:

  • Sustainable, long term educational facility
  • Space for 600+ students and staff.
  • Lots of comfortable, common areas to meet and collaborate (PBL)
  • Adequate library, and science lab
  • Adequate lunch room/dining area.
  • Regulation gym for practice, and home games.
  • Green space and outside sports fields, track.
  • Auditorium

Of course I’m just an observant parent, I’m not an expert. But the school had a unique, awesome program that builds strong learners and strong leaders. Why wouldn’t we want them to thrive with enough learning space for everyone? We all need to get behind our kids and do everything we can to support this.

Rene Hinkle, Decatur

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