READER FEEDBACK: 6/20/12

LGBT RIGHTS: Applause for same-sex stand

Marvin McMickle’s guest commentary (“On Rights and Rites in the Same-sex Marriage Debate,” May 30) was the best article written in a very long time. It was calm, logical, and sane, and should be mandatory reading by everyone in this country.

Thank you, Dr. McMickle.

CANDICE ROGERS, ROCHESTER

 

EDUCATION: Support the plan for Northeast Prep

This school year I had the opportunity to substitute teach in the Rochester school district. I crisscrossed the city. Thirty-eight schools. All grades, all subjects. From stately Neo-Classical Jefferson to Colonial Revival Nathaniel Hawthorne to the elegant Collegiate Gothic of John Charles Carroll to Charlotte’s stunning Art Deco to the atomic age International Style at East to the poured concrete 1960’s Brutalism of John James Audubon to Freddie Thomas’s 1990’s award-winning Post Modernism.

I petted an RPD police dog and watched Xerox retirees demonstrate dry-ice experiments at Roberto Clemente, helped an RFD lieutenant time hydrant maneuvers during firefighter class at East and field tripped to the George Eastman House with media students from Northeast.

Of all the schools in which I taught, Northeast was the most frequent. As has been widely reported, starting in September Northeast will hold school 11 months a year, 11 hours a day with Saturday half-days.

Ideally, the additional time will provide enriching experiences. Community members will act as mentors and tutors. There will be mini-courses like yoga and cooking taught by volunteers. Job shadowing with potential employers. Increased field trips, including visits to local colleges and universities. More extracurriculars. Expanded sports participation as the athletic facilities are renovated. Based on my observations as a substitute, Northeast’s model should be paid attention and strongly supported.

Substitutes like to think of themselves as multifaceted resources: teacher in the classroom, tutor in a free period, one-on-one mentor. Sadly, we often face resistance and suspicion. Of course, there are the universal hijinks: fake names, feigned discomfort for the coveted Bathroom Pass, every encounter with a waste basket an opportunity to practice jump shots.

But it is more. Too many students seem unused to positive, everyday dialogue with unfamiliar adults. As one substitute colleague says, sometimes it feels like you need to make an appointment to have a conversation – even if just talking about last night’s NBA game.

Fundamentally, the Northeast initiative exposes students to enhanced adult interaction that is often missing. To Principal Mary Aronson, the aim is bringing the community into the school and the school into the community. In school, students will build relationships with volunteer teachers, tutors, mentors, and coaches; outside, with prospective employers.

Aronson imagines a future Friday night at Northeast where the community – students, parents, and fans – join to watch a football game or school play. Let’s give it a chance.

DAVID KRAMER, BRIGHTON

Kramer is a Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History.

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