Dear Editor:

Are Salida citizens ready to consider changes in the ways their children are educated?  I hope so!  This past year should be a reminder to all — that nothing, absolutely nothing, stays the same – for any great length of time.  

Today’s students must be prepared for a future far different from what exists today. And we adults must help our students learn not to be afraid of change. “Putting on the brakes” doesn’t work. Students who learn to adapt will be successful and content in their adult lives.

When I went to school arithmetic and mathematics were done with paper & pencil (I used a slide rule in college). Society progressed to adding machines, then pocket calculators and from very basic to complicated calculators/computers that allow today’s students to study levels of math way beyond what I learned in high school.  

Salida’s students expect to be using GPS, Wifi, 3-D technology, robots, artificial intelligence and more. In my day memorization of math facts was the rule — until teachers realized that students needed to understand “why and how,” not rote memorization. 

Students learn when they discover the answers to problems using their personal learning styles.

So must we change the school models to meet the needs of our students? Absolutely. Each grade level may need some modifications to improve the instructional atmosphere. If I were asked, I would suggest that the group needing the most help are freshman/ninth graders (You pick which name you wish to use).

Salida’s history had the freshman class enrolled in high school, then moved to junior high and called ninth graders and then returned again to high school, back to being freshmen once more. 

I suspect those decisions were closely related to student population issues, not which environment was best for improving 14-15 year-old student learning.

Moving to high school is a huge step. Salida’s educators see a need to provide more assistance to freshmen, helping ninth graders understand the important choices they must make that determine their success in high school. 

Graduation credits begin to accumulate on day one of their freshman year. Life choices start to be determined at the same time. 

Oh my – already?  Yes, already mom and dad. 

The creation of a Freshman Academy for the incoming ninth graders is a very attractive concept. As sophomores, transitioning into the high school the following year, these students will find their change much smoother because of the preparation that was provided during 2021-2022 in the academy environment.  

Please parents and citizens, do not be afraid of change in our schools.  

We adults must not wait. Our students need the opportunities recommended for the senior high school levels beginning next fall.

Waiting until 2022-2023 robs today’s high school students the opportunity of earning more CMC credits and the possibility of earning Associate’s Degrees next spring.

Eileen Rogers

Retired educator