The Jefferson, Longfellow, and Mark Twain neighborhood schools are an asset in the educational system. We value their size, their presence in the neighborhood, and their architectural character. Smaller school populations have been shown to improve:
· parent and community involvement
bonding between teachers and students
· the sense of belonging
· student performance and involvement
In addition, smaller schools allow faculty and staff to rely more on personal relationships and less on rigid rules because they know all of the students well. As the student body grows this becomes difficult and eventually impossible.
Many residents of these neighborhoods selected their homes because of these small schools. We consider their size and location an asset to the neighborhood and our children's education. Removing these schools and dramatically increasing the resulting school size by 2-3 times is not what we want for our children, our neighborhoods or our lifestyles.
Furthermore, when our downtown is thriving and becoming more and more vibrant it makes no sense to weaken neighborhoods adjacent to it by removing these key institutions that keep these neighborhoods attractive and viable for families.
Finally, these buildings - though needing various levels of physical improvements - are not remotely close to a state that justifies sun setting or destruction.
In conclusion, Mark Twain should not be destroyed, Longfellow and Jefferson should not be closed or destroyed and the three schools should not be consolidated into one new building at the Mark Twain site.