Posted by Meghan, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on May 21, 2012 at 10:16 am
I recently wrote a letter to the school board about this Tuesdays meeting. One of the items on the agenda is bringing back the Barton program. I urge everyone to get their voice heard so programs that teach students to read aren't cut!
Dear Members of the Board,
First, I would like to thank you for your service on the Pleasanton School Board. It is a job that helps our District maintain the level of excellence for which Pleasanton schools are known. It is your contribution that makes this happen. I am writing as a Pleasanton resident of 22 years. I grew up in Pleasanton and was privileged enough to attend four Pleasanton schools; Donlon Elementary School, Pleasanton Middle School, Hart Middle School, and Foothill High School. Now, at 24 years old, I am going to school to become a teacher. It is my hope that I can teach in this school district and continue to provide students in this town with an excellent education.
A friend of mine knew I was hoping to gain experience in a classroom-like setting and recommended I become a Barton tutor. This is the reason I write to you today. It was devastating news to hear Barton was being cut from our schools’ budget. Over the last few months I have seen a dramatic transformation in the student I have been tutoring. When my student and I first met, he was a second grade boy labeled “difficult”. He was struggling to pay attention in class, was becoming a bully, and had a negative view of school. He was significantly below grade level in reading. My student and I have been meeting three times a week for the past three months and I am so proud to say this child is a completely different person. His attitude has improved tremendously, he is at grade level for reading, and he has started becoming involved in school. He recently told me, “Barton is my favorite thing at school! I like Barton and chess club.” He has also said numerous times that his favorite days of the week are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays; the days we meet. He has gone from an angry, distant, frustrated little boy to one who smiles often, is patient, and more readily shows affection.
Barton has changed this child’s life. As I write to you today, I have tears in my eyes thinking about how badly this student, and many students like him, need this program. Barton helps children feel confident and competent. My student feels smart again. Not only does he read more efficiently, but he is also better able to comprehend the words he is reading. By feeling like a proficient member of his class he doesn’t feel the need to act out or bully others to feel good about himself. He feels good because he feels successful in school. I am hoping you will change your mind at the Board meeting on Tuesday and consider funding Barton for not only next school year, but for many school years to come. When I become a teacher I want to know there are programs to help better my students who may be struggling. More importantly, when I become a parent with children in this district, I want to know there are options like Barton to help should my child need it. Every child deserves the opportunity to learn to read, spell, and be successful in school. But most importantly, every student deserves the chance to look in the mirror and say, “I am smart. My brain just works differently.” Barton gives children the opportunity to say that.
I thank you for your time and appreciate your willingness to read this letter.