Letter: Writer supports more learning opportunities for district middle schoolers

Dear Editor,

In the 11 years my children have attended the Nelson County Schools, I have been an active parent in getting to know my children’s teachers and the administration at the schools they attended. I also have the benefit of being the parent of a Thomas Nelson grad under the Wes Bradley administration there. Teacher and staffing changes at the schools my kids attended seem to be for many reasons. I think of my son’s favorite Bloomfield Middle 7th grade Social Studies teacher. He was fortunate to have her last year as she was fantastic, always keeping him interested and engaged. Leaving after a single year, she was ran out of this town by parents over a football coaching mess with no regard to her teaching ability or her students. Many motivations can be at play for these changes and it’s not factual to point in a single direction. I think context and details are important. A piece of data that is incomplete is difficult to use when trying to explore or solve an issue. Certainly one individual can’t be blamed as the singular cause for our turnover rate, it’s simply not logical and definitely not helpful or productive for the discussion. I appreciate the turnover numbers being discussed and would love to see the same passion used in naming those figures, used to truly evaluate what the root causes are so they can be addressed in an honest format.

My personal experiences with Wes Bradley during my daughter’s years at Thomas Nelson were exceptional. The leadership he showed the staff and students was contagious. I saw teachers using the programs he implemented reach students I knew in middle school be transformed. Kids with diverse situations finding a place to belong and charting a course for their futures in ways that met them where they were.

The proposed merger of these schools has ignited many parents to get involved and there is no downside to that. Our kid’s education is at stake. There should be no sacrifice too great to give them the best opportunities possible even if it means tough choices.

I grew up in a small town in Indiana and my junior high and high school shared a campus and resources. My most formative experiences in junior high were the classes, clubs and experiences I was able to participate in at the high school. My experience was completely safe, there was clear thought put into the regulation of younger participation. Behavior was elevated because the leadership in place fostered that.

I am a strong advocate for workplace experiences for our children. They were life changing for me and all these years later I still use those early skills and work ethic they taught me. More importantly, I got a head start on many of my peers. After graduating, many friends were just learning about things I’d known for years and my two early employers noticed. The numbers in Nelson County reflect this. Kids who have participated in these programs at year five are making on average $14000 a year more! Now that’s a head start!!

Making choices to increase opportunities for our kid’s is imperative if we want to keep them engaged and challenged. COVID-19 taught me that my Bloomfield Middle School 8th grader needed more than the enrichment classes being offered. During the third term, at my request and approved by Wes Bradley, my son participated in an Independent Study here at our business. A curriculum was designed by Randy Adams, my husband and I. My child learned more in those weeks than the other three terms combined!

We are challenged to define what education in Nelson County is going to look like in the future. I don’t want a single child left behind because resources were limited or they weren’t challenged and supported. If creating more opportunities and the best and brightest learning environment for our children presents us with hurdles in how to get there it’s up to us to find those solutions. What won’t you do to ensure your child has what they need to succeed?


Heidi Marksbury

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