As students, parents, Elm Place Middle School community members, and Highland Park residents (past present & future), we are petitioning the North Shore District 112 School board to: SAVE Elm Place’s industrial arts/shop equipment. ENABLE the continuation of a unique learning environment at little or no cost to taxpayers. COMMIT to supporting this well-loved and valuable industrial arts program as an extracurricular activity. North Shore School District 112 must ensure that it provides educational opportunities that are rooted in an appreciation for all modes of learning, even as they institute new technologies and programs for the future.
We understand that curricular changes will be made as part of a new plan the school district is developing for all schools to be paid for by the local taxpayers. However, it is not necessary to eliminate these Elm Place facilities in the process. We have an experienced teacher who could continue an extracurricular program using the equipment, and the students have expressed a strong desire to participate in such a program.
Each middle school in the District has its own, unique extracurricular programming which reflects the interests of the student body, the expertise of the educators, and the facilities at each school. Though industrial arts will apparently not continue to be a part of the District’s formal curriculum, there is strong support for it to be an extracurricular option at Elm Place. This simple alternative does not require additional funding. Why waste such valuable equipment and professional experience when so many students could benefit for many years to come?
We agree that the learning that comes from the industrial arts can benefit students in this day and age. Please consider that Paul Jobs, Steve Jobs adoptive father, was a hands-on man who taught his son how to work with tools and machines, and how to make things from scratch; thereby creating a sense of capability. Years later, Steve Jobs made the Apple computer literally by hand. Apple’s success is directly attributable to Steve Jobs’ understanding of how things are created. Our practical skills complement our intellectual knowledge; one needs the other.
We respectfully request that the District keep Elm Place’s existing industrial arts facility and equipment intact, so that students will be able to benefit from this valuable and unique learning environment that will reinforce all aspects of their learning and development.