EDITORIAL: We are more than just numbers

Clarion Staff, Clarion Staff

Dear Mr. Sinde, Dr. Keen, Mr. Walsh, Mr. Gryczan, Mrs. Hruska, Mr. Jepson, and Mr. Welch,

It may seem like community support is dwindling as the projected over-budget stadium remains unbuilt and tensions rise between the school and residents of Brookfield and Hollywood due to the proposed parking lot near Hollywood School. However, the economic problems affecting the district not only touch the community outside of the building, but also the students who are trying to make their four years at RB count even as classes in the Applied Arts, Fine Arts, SEE Team, and other departments have been cut or suspended.

We understand that you are facing economic problems not limited to balancing a budget, dealing with a future projected deficit, and working with an over-budget stadium project.  Nevertheless, we urge you to see RB’s education in action before you cut a class or a program.

Sometimes, we feel that we are only seen as numbers.  Only 15 people in an Applied Arts class that runs every other year because it does not enroll the “magic” 20 students required to run without a waiver.  Only three students told they cannot take AP Music Theory, a specialized music class. 26 students no longer signed up for SEE Team.

We’re reasonable.  We understand that AP Music Theory had to be cut for next year with three students, but we applaud you for keeping the class at nine this year. Please remember to see us as musicians who deserve to take an AP level music class or students who want to improve our skills and learn. Due to our high level of students participating in AP courses (62% of the student body), RB was the number one school in the state of Illinois,  according to Cities Journal. If we want to keep that standing and be praised for our high level of AP courses, why cut one more AP class?

Your own Educational Philosophy and Objectives document lays out specific goals for the board.  It states: “The District’s educational programs will seek to provide an opportunity for each student to develop to his or her maximum potential. The objectives for the educational program are to:  Foster students’ self discovery, self-awareness, and self discipline. Stimulate students’ intellectual curiosity and growth … Provide students with fundamental career concepts and skills.”

This may mean learning something beyond what is outlined in the spreadsheet of district goals.  Students have passions beyond core classes, such as fine arts or applied arts or environmental education, that extend beyond their four years at RB.  Though these classes may be a monetary strain to the budget, they also foster new ideas and new perspectives that lead to college or a new career.  These classes can change lives.

We invite you to become more knowledgeable about the classes that students are actively involved in and ask students to make presentations about their clubs or to have open discussions with students and families to discuss classes before cutting programs. In your written policy, you seek to “gather community attitudes and desires for the District, earn the community’s good will, respect and confidence,” and “promote a genuine spirit of cooperation between the school and the community.”

We strongly support that goal.

The students in this building are doing the work that needs to be done in order for RB to maintain its standing as one of the best schools in Illinois.  As your new term begins, board members, talk to us as you make decisions, give us a chance to defend our education.  We are a school filled with students who want to learn.

The entire Clarion staff contributed to this editorial.  The 2014-15 second semester Clarion staff includes:

Steven Baer, Nick Cundari, Jimmy Nolter, Paul Kritikos,  Morgan DiVittorio, Niko Radicanin, Chris Olszewski, Cameron Yarger, Zach Hundrieser, Nick Kaczmarek, Molly Cunningham, Nick Rogoz, Cameron Shaw, Caitie Rusen, Galen Alaks, Danilo Lezza