In the Eyes of a Student: Mid-Year Review

Our student authors remain the most-read here on Timbered Classrooms for a reason!  Please welcome this one; listen, learn, and scroll down to participate in a thoughtful survey created by students, as they find their civic feet….

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13 weeks, 12 weeks, 11 weeks…Currently, the countdown for summer vacation  has began in the halls of Katahdin High School. As the third quarter comes to an end, not much has changed within the building. Student morale is still flatline and fear for the future of our school district is still widespread. Staff resignations and retirements are flying in as expected, leaving many students wondering what is next. As budget time nears, fear as to what the next round of cuts will hold is starting to spread through the halls. However, with recent news, one would think the budget isn’t suffering!

Recently, the news of a 2% raise in the superintendent salary has struck the student body hard. Bringing the total salary of the RSU 50 superintendent to $109,000 annually, the school board voted all but one for this raise. While this may seem fine to some, I recently learned that our superintendent makes $17,000 more annually than the superintendent of RSU 29 in Houlton. This is shocking to me that someone who is new on the job in a district of half the size has a 17% higher salary. What does this have to do with the student body? Last year, the students and parents were addressed by the board and superintendent with a string of budget cuts and warnings for more to come for the school year 2014-2015. This is leaving students to question why it is there end of the rope that is getting shortened while the administration is getting raises. Many students including myself feel as though this raise is coming at the cost of our education’s, yet again. The majority of the students feel as though the administration doesn’t care and ignores our needs. The only people who try to speak out for us are some of the teachers, many of which are leaving because of no job security or their own frustrations. Some aren’t leaving because it’s their choice, but because of “budget deficits.” Just this year, there have been multiple position cuts. Class offerings are few and far between, leaving many to take classes they don’t even care for. We all know that next year will most likely only be worse.

I would like to think that things are going to get better. However, as a junior I am left to only hope that I can wake up tomorrow and be walking down the aisle for graduation. My freshman year was wonderful. I use to love getting up in the morning to go to school. I loved all of my classes, and at the time our administration wasn’t corrupt. The teachers were all great and I learned everyday!  Anytime that I had an opportunity to challenge myself, I took it. I had an endless ambition to be an involved student, and I would step up to the plate at any chance I got. At the time, we had a different principal and superintendent who put the students before their salaries. Times have changed immensely since then. I struggle getting up each morning for school, and only come in to see my friends.  I only have three teachers who I feel are worthy of their salary. I lack that ambition which once drove me to enjoy my classwork. As a junior, I have literally ran out of classes to take at Katahdin that I have interest in. Next year, I will barely be able to fill my schedule with classes, most likely being forced to take something I have no interest in. Sadly, I am not an outlier in this situation, but a majority along with the rest of my class. The only positive thing out of my junior year was Region Two. Every student that I know who goes to Region Two dreads their day at Katahdin. It is a sad reality, but this is becoming commonplace.

Less than five years ago, my class had over thirty students. As it stands now, we have 25 students. I know of quite a few who plan on transferring, being homeschooled, or moving out of the area to escape the school district. My class is by far an exception in this situation. Many families have began withdrawing their students from RSU 50. A number of families have moved away from the area to a better school district, while many have allowed their students to travel to schools such as Houlton. There are a few families who even took it upon themselves to homeschool their children. As it stands, I know of four large families who plan on taking their kids out of the district at the start of the next school year. RSU 50 needs change quickly!

Please help speak up for the students of our school district. School should be able to be a place where the students can flourish and learn new knowledge and skills. We need a change in administration and an end to the corruption. The administration is suppose to be here for the students, not for themselves! Parents and community members, please come to the board meetings and help the students speak out. We can only speak our opinions, but you are the voters who truly speak for us! We need every community member in the RSU 50 district to win this battle for the students before it is too late! We all want our school back. The clock is ticking,  will you help us?

Please take this student survey and share your opinion! https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5DRS7M5 

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14 responses to “In the Eyes of a Student: Mid-Year Review

  1. Well said!! So true!!

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  2. You all deserve an excellent education, a voice, and a much better administration and superintendent!!!!

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  3. It is sad that students have to write articles, sign petitions, etc. to feel that they have a voice in their school. Kids are not trying to run the school, they are just asking to be respected and listened to in a respectful way. They need strong leadership and guidance. You are so right about not feeling challenged – my child feels the same way. Students need to stay involved in their learning.

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    • Well said!!

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    • Though de rigueur on college campuses, petitions, protests, are relatively common in high schools as well. Young people naturally develop a desire to engage in public life as they approach voting age, and in their idealism, their energy — are lessons for all of us.

      Children cannot vote, and does it ever show! Katahdin’s young people have found their voice in “surveymonkey”, the local newspaper and on our blog. They have conducted themselves with the utmost decorum, even as they turn their voices upward with uncomfortable truths.

      They are asking for our help. While they focus their energies on their education, let’s not let them down.

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    • Sometimes being recognized is not an easy thing. When it comes to important meetings, such as the budget meeting, students are not even allowed to speak about their concerns or suggestions unless they are 18 years of age. It is difficult to spread a student’s view when the administration is trying ever so hard to hide our opinions from the public. Our school has already lost a family of students this past month, and I personally know of 3 more families who plan to withdraw from the district and take their children elsewhere. Education is the foothold of our community. No student that has gone through this school system is going to want to raise their children here unless the education system is fixed. As a student, all I can do is try to persuade the voters. There are so many students that long for changes to occur within the school district. All we can do is write articles like this, tell our friends and community members, and get surveys out to the public. However, the future is vested in the voters hands.

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  4. Many thanks to our student author for sharing this vivid view from a student’s desk.

    For the parents and community members to whom a compelling cry for help is addressed: the ball is in our court. Let’s run with it, so our students can focus on learning and growing.

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  5. This should go in The Houlton Pioneer Times. Well done.

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    • Thank you! I will consider it. However, students sharing an article such as this in a public newspaper is not well tolerated. Another student of Katahdin shared her opinion of the RSU with the Houlton Pioneer Times and was bashed by the administration for doing so. To this day, this student is still subject to unfair treatment since the day she wrote in to the paper. The administration is known to intimidate students to speaking out and sharing their names. I also learned this the hard way, but I have learned not to really care. I will think about submitting it! Thank you for your comment and if you or any others have any questions for me, feel free to comment and ask!

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  6. Yes I know full well how this student was treated, but sometimes you have to be willing to put yourself out there. I hope that if we keep pushing back, and parents and students speak their minds that we can change this. We will make unreasonable people mad in the process. Shame on the adults who have treated this student unfairly. What happened to students being able to express their views. The administration lacks courage to change, even though various parents speak up. They near as I can tell don’t appreciate outside opinion, unless it is what they believe. Sad to be so small minded. Change is hard, but we have to keep speaking out or it will never happen. They are so afraid the students will take over. That is not it. The students just need leadership not a dictatorship, that is insulting and sarcastic when you don’t agree. Anyway your article is great, lets see if they actually care.

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  7. Can we share it on Facebook?

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