OPINION: BHS - Achieving the Very Best of Small School Benefits

Creating a small class and small school feeling in a larger high school building is possible.


I have a fifth grader at . He was moved as a fourth grader from a “small” elementary school of about 350 kids to the middle school numbering nearly 600 kids as part of our last consolidation.

At West Hills, the 4/5 grades are nestled in a wing all by themselves. My son has a small single classroom elementary educational experience. He gets all the benefits that the building can offer, like more computers, a large gym and field house, band rooms, and art facilities. He now has the opportunity to take accelerated classes with the 6th graders, all without leaving the school grounds.  He has a counselor that he never had before that will get to know him over 5 years. He has the opportunity to join clubs and school sports to meet older, more-experienced kids. And he gets all this and feels part of a larger community at West Hills in his small, safe elementary wing.

This is a perfect example of past experience we can draw from to create a small class and small school feeling in a larger high school building community. One that captures all the benefits that we can provide to enhance that experience.

Do we really want to isolate the 9th graders to where they don’t feel a part of a larger community? Keep them from a complete high school experience? For clubs, arts, and sports they will either be separated or bused back to the main campus including any advanced or other classes that are not offered at the 9th grade campus.

For the people thinking of voting ”no,” please think about this. We will lose out on $1.4 million each year that we could be spending on academics. Instead, we will spend this money to maintain two very old, out-of-date infrastructures. The environment is less safe in these two older buildings. The teaching flexibility will suffer and we will not keep pace with our neighboring communities that have spent money to invest in their futures. Is that really better?

True, it requires us to make an investment in our community, in our future, in our own excellence. But it asks us to invest at a level that is 20% lower than what we currently pay now.

I choose an investment rather than risk the deterioration of my community and my schools as they fall the way of the old edifices that the buildings represent.  Our community stays strong when we attract people to it that are looking for the very best. Will they continue to move here? Will the best teachers choose us? Let’s not gamble with the answer. Vote 'Yes' on May 8th.

Barb Kaufman,

West Bloomfield

Barb Kaufman May 04, 2012 at 02:08 AM
I am assuming that since no one has commented on the topic that we all agree that the district has demonstrated well that they can create small classes and a small school feel in a larger school building.
Neal Charness May 04, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Chris: The campaign finance issue was instigated by Jenny. I believe she's still part of B2020. This is regarding your post, just below. You didn't, by the way, say your filings were complete when they were made so we still can't say whether they were fully filed on time, all we know is that at least some filing was made, although, according to Charles the clerk's office did issue "errors and omissions" warnings. If this is true, then your statement that the filings were made at time is, at best, a partial truth.
Ken Jackson May 04, 2012 at 11:29 AM
Ms. Kaufman, Slight correction. If anyone bothers to track the string they will see that several people were agreeing -- rather wholeheartedly -- with your important point about the district's proven capacity to create a small school feel in larger buildings. Then the distractions about campaign financing paperwork jumped in -- egads.
Howard Baron May 04, 2012 at 11:53 AM
All, the campaign finance world is made up of campaign committees vs. candidate committees, error and omission letters vs. failure to file letters, late filing fee notices and then waivers, etc. Let's disarm on this issue please. We all are trying to follow the detailed rules the best we can. If someone is obviously trying to skirt the law, that is one thing. They are putting themselves at risk of being prosecuted. Otherwise, drop this subject.
Neena May 04, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Jenny, I will be voting YES on May 8th for all the reasons Barb explains. From the comments below it is obvious that you are simly trying to derail the conversation by changing the subject. I would like to bring it back to the original post. I feel like I could have written it myself. I have been so pleased with the transition of the 4th and 5th graders at West Hills. My son has flourished in a setting that allows him opportunities he would not have otherwise. That he gets to do this while still having the elementary school experience is amazing! If you ask both parents and students, the response will be overwhelming. This district has consistently demonstrated that they can make tough choices result in successful outcomes. To preserve the quality of education Bloomfield Hills demands, this next step is necessary. They deserve our trust, support and vote!


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