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LETTER: District's Valley Crossing plans should be questioned

Last month, District 833 sold bonds to use a lease levy purchase option to fund the purchase and remodel of Valley Crossing Community School.

The South Washington County School Board had just heard an update with the proposed blueprint of the remodeled building. I found it interesting and sad that as I sat in the audience and had many questions, that nobody on the school board asked a single question of Julie Nielsen, nor was there a comparative blueprint of the current layout of the school shown for comparison purposes. It reaffirmed that our elected officials for our children's education either are afraid to question or haven't taken the time to get to know the current layout and foundations for which Valley Crossing was designed 20 years ago.

Valley Crossing was intentionally designed to be cutting edge and ahead of the cubed, sterile and rigid environments that schools were designed to be at the time. Twenty years later, Edina passed a referendum last fall to take out walls and create more open space, and here we sit in District 833 with a school that they would love to have in Edina and it is being destroyed.

The collaboration space for professional staff in each neighborhood is also being reduced to a work/copy room with the proposed design. At a recent meeting with current Valley Crossing, Gateway and the new boundary neighborhood parents, it was explained that the walls and doors would now create a hallway, and the remodeled "work area" would allow for a teacher to take a child out of the classroom to speak with him or her. Once again this shows the lack of understanding and knowledge of responsive classroom principles. Responsive classroom does not endorse isolating children or shaming them in singling them out. Furthermore, what kind of teacher would leave her room of 24 to 32 students alone without having them in eyesight?

Many people left the meeting with more questions than answers from the district leadership. One thing that was answered was that more questions need to be asked and more explanations given both by parents and the school board.

Mary Yapp