To the Editor:
Near the conclusion of last week’s Educational Visioning Workshop, the consultant asked each participant to write two words describing the future of education in Warwick. The reoccurring workshop themes that stood out to me were flexibility and equity.
Flexibility – for individualized, 21st century learning and teaching – and flexibility in building design, district policies, operations, and the contractual language to support educational changes. Equity – meaning every student will be given the opportunity to follow their own individualized learning path in an environment and with the supports required.
As voters and decision-makers, evaluating a generational investment in our community’s future, we must have confidence that final plans have the support and demonstrated commitment from all stakeholders to make the required changes to maximize the benefits of building investments. This plan is about more than updating infrastructure or building a replacement school. It is about redefining the way we deliver education and the opportunities we provide students across the city. And as our future system of education is defined, we need to ensure all our children will have access to buildings, programs, and educational models that best support their academic interests, learning styles, and goals.
Although the majority of the first workshop participants were from the high schools, all elected leaders and residents are encouraged to attend the upcoming February 12th community educational visioning meeting and the following meeting to present recommendations in March. Education is the foundation of a community and the current facilities planning process is about more than buildings.
It will result in a plan to improve education across the city and invest in our children, our property values, and our future – and it impacts all of us. A very insightful high school student said during the workshop, “This won’t impact me, but I wanted to be here for my children.” We should all follow her lead.