To the Editor

December 4, 2012

By Contributor

Liberty schedule change

School board should listen to community

Five years ago, the Issaquah School District administration attempted to switch Liberty to a six-period schedule. Due to community concerns, the administration decided to study the issue.

The administration commissioned a districtwide committee of parents, students, teachers and administrators to review all high school schedules. That districtwide committee refused to recommend that all Issaquah School District high schools be moved to a six-period schedule.

This year, the administration commissioned a committee of Liberty High School parents, teachers, students and administrators to recommend a schedule for LHS. The LHS committee recommended a seven-period schedule and specifically rejected the option of moving Liberty to a six-period schedule. In spite of the fact that two committees created by the administration of parents, students, teachers and administrators rejected the proposal to move LHS to a six-period schedule, the administration recommended to the district board that LHS be moved to a six-period schedule.

It is disappointing that the administration has so little regard for the work of community committees that it creates. Fortunately, the district board has the final say. Hopefully, as elected officials, they will be listening to the voice of those committees and the Liberty community.

Wright Noel

LHS Schedule Committee Member

 

Process, recommendation should be followed

We are proud members of the Liberty school community and parents of three successful Liberty High School graduates. Our children credit much of their success to the eight-period block schedule, several wonderful teachers and the students they attended school with. Liberty is truly a great school.

For the past five years, we have dealt with a superintendent who has disrespected this community. Despite overwhelming support from Liberty parents, students, teachers and community members for our current schedule, he refuses to see past his own flawed, superficial data. It is disheartening that a community has worked hard on this issue and devoted so much time to it — researching high school schedules, analyzing and gathering data, attending committee and school board meetings, sitting on one of the high school schedule committees — only to find there was never really “a process” at all.

Instead, Steve Rasmussen is recommending we go to the antiquated, limiting six-period day that does not meet the needs of our 21st century students. It is our belief he never intended to consider anything but a six-period day. What happened to the thinking outside of the box Rasmussen promised?

In a conversation with Rasmussen, he said change is hard but he could guarantee we would be happy with the “new” Liberty. What he can’t seem to get is we are extremely happy with the wonderful Liberty we already have! We would never be against change if it truly benefitted our students! A six-period day is not a change for the better.

It is our hope the school board will listen to the overwhelming mandate the Liberty community has given — implement a seven-period day as a pilot program with future expansion to all three high schools. If that cannot be done due to budget feasibility, let Liberty keep its current schedule.

Nancy and Jeff Julius

Renton

 

Board should vote community’s desires

I am a sophomore at Liberty and feel lucky to have been given the opportunity of eight periods. In looking at what has happened in the decision-making process about schedules, I am confused. I thought the district was a democracy, not a dictatorship.

The community elects the board and the board hires the superintendent. This means that the board and district should be required to take actions that reflect the community’s desires.

We now have two schedule committees that have recommended seven periods, a Liberty PTSA survey showing that 95 percent of students and 87 percent of parents want a seven- or eight-period schedule, and a petition signed by 615 community members supporting the schedule committee’s recommendation. Yet the superintendent still recommended a six-period schedule.

I am glad that the decision-making on this is with the board, and hope that it follows a democratic model and accurately represents the community when it votes.

Jessica Mitchell

Liberty High School student

 

Give students as many options as possible

My name is Michael Payant. I graduated from Liberty High School last June and am currently a journalism student at Northwestern University in Illinois. I imagine you have received no shortage of input regarding the schedule change, but my time at Liberty meant enough to me that I owe it to my alma mater to voice my opinion.

I maintained a 3.99 grade point average at Liberty, played tuba in the band, played four years of tennis, served on The Patriot Press staff and took seven Advanced Placement classes. Most importantly, I entered Liberty a boy and emerged nearly a man.

Aside from excellent core class instruction, my Liberty experience was shaped by elective availability.

I was able to play in the band because of eight-period scheduling flexibility. Liberty’s music program is one of its strongest assets, and it would be a shame for lack of student schedule space to limit participation.

I entered journalism my sophomore year and now I dream of becoming a broadcast journalist. Developing my leadership skills on the school’s newspaper staff was an invaluable experience. Furthermore, my Liberty credentials were enough to gain acceptance at one of the nation’s premiere journalism schools.

I cannot profess to be an expert on school district finances, which undoubtedly play a major role in your decision.

I am, however, aware of widespread popular support for a new schedule with at least seven periods. My younger sister Adele is a junior, and my sentiment is for her and others who will come after.

I ask you as an older brother and a proud Patriot to consider a schedule that gives the students as many options as possible. Liberty changed me for the better and I only hope it may do the same for future generations.

Michael Payant

2012 Liberty graduate

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Comments

No Responses to “To the Editor”

  1. Smoley on December 6th, 2012 6:16 pm

    How do the other high schools in the Issaquah school district manage this?

    Are they getting extra district money to pay for the extra periods that Liberty HS isn’t getting?

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