W-B Area Board ‘historically Underperforming?’

February 4, 2019

Editor: The Wilkes-Barre Area School District has become a melting pot of sorts, increased percentages of children of color, English as a second language, economically disadvantaged and academically challenged. What I took away from my experience as a superintendent in an Oklahoma City ethnic melting pot containing five native American tribes and as director of planning in Chicago, with 1 million students covering every ethnic category, was that if students are not learning what we teach, we better teach the way students learn. I accomplished that in Williamsport with an award-winning program for at-risk students; economically, socially and academically. This program was featured by Peter Jennings on television and in Smithsonian Magazine and students were awarded by President Clinton in the Rose Garden. Career and technology centers across the U.S. teach the way students learn. It’s called making learning relevant. Step one is meeting the needs of all children, because all children can learn; the curriculum drives facility requirements. It’s that simple. The board has chosen to meet what appears to be their first priority, the consolidation of sports … done deal. They have designed a large consolidated school that they will fit a curriculum into. They selected a high-cost, high-maintenance, toxic site, isolated from all neighborhoods. To date, $15 million has been spent and we have three school renderings at a Rembrandt cost, a failed Kistler expansion project, a failed Washington Street project, 78 acres of seriously scarred land and not a brick laid. My apologies. We do have the consolidation of all sports. Go Wolf Pack! The district has a label for underachieving schools, “historically underperforming.” How about a board “historically underperforming?” Richard A. Holodick WILKES-BARRE

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