Letters for the week of June 13

Jun 13, 2012

Proud to be a Marauder

Dear Editor,

I'm a Marauder. I'm proud to be one. That school gave me strength and courage. Never was I a thug or a lowlife, I was a normal student going to school and loved going there [“I’m a Mariner Marauder, not a thug,” The Beacon, Guest View, page 4, May 30]. I still go to visit to this day.

I graduated in 2009, and I will be going there every once in a while. Brings back memories. I love seeing teachers’ faces. Mariner is an amazing school, no matter what anyone says.

Christina Santiago,

Marysville

Mariner an outstanding school

Dear Editor,

As a mother of four former Mariner High School students, LaVendrick Smith, you penned exactly the thoughts and feelings I have had since 1996 [“I’m a Mariner Marauder, not a thug,” Guest View, page 4, May 30]. Two of my sons went onto four-year universities to graduate with a master’s degree (in finance) and a bachelor’s degree (in physics).

Mariner has always received negative vibes, yet has some of the most outstanding students. Thank you again for your courage to put into words what some of us have only thought of saying.

Becky Schultz,

Everett

We had 900 questions for a reason

Dear Editor,

The people in the communities affected by the addition of commercial flights at Paine Field deserve a valid, in-depth assessment of the environmental impact of expansion [“Airport decision delayed again,” The Beacon, front page, June 6].

An Environmental Impact Statement is an absolute must to assure that, should commercial flights be OK’d for Paine Field, the people of the affected communities are not saddled with the cost of doing so.

The Environmental Assessment done in 2009 in no way addressed the impact of expansion. The communities responded with 900 questions for a reason. A realistic study is needed, and not with just a projection of impact for the next five years.

Bellingham Airport is a case in point. Along with the statistics showing a massive escalation of flights there in a very short time, it must also be noted that Bellingham's airport is located in, and only affects, a sparsley populated area.

Paine Field, located in the Everett/Mukilteo corridor, is a densely populated area, with many more households directly affected by frequent airline traffic overhead.

That is why no one believed or accepted the original Environmental Assessment report and will continue to question the facts until the EIS study is done.

And doesn't Bellingham International Airport, which has become such a hub of activity with dozens of flights per day, along with SeaTac, provide sufficient flight choices for travelers in Snohomish County?

Chris Salditt,

Mukilteo

Paraeducators are competent, important

Dear Editor,

I am writing this in response to the letter published on June 6, from Mr. Thom Garrard, teacher-librarian, at Discovery Elementary [“Keep full-time librarians,” The Beacon, Letters, page 4].

My colleagues and I were highly offended by how he chose to vent his frustration. While we all agree that the loss of librarians is very concerning, the focus should not be on the paraeducators in the district!

Mr. Garrard mentioned “research shows” a couple of times in his letter, however that research never states that paraeducators are incompetent to support student learning, as his negative comments imply. It simply states that a certificated teacher is a benefit to have working in the library.

The paraeducators I work with were insulted that Mr. Garrard chose to paint the illusion of incompetence around those that are not “certificated.” I wonder if the paraeducators at Discovery Elementary took umbrage with the statements made.

Surely, they would rather not have yet another responsibility heaped onto their plate during the school day next year, but they are willing to do what it takes for our students to achieve.

Back to research, University of Vermont researcher Michael Giangreco suggests (regarding paraeducators) that, “Joining forces with all parties to take positive steps school-wide can result in actions that are more effective, strategic, and sustainable."

We don’t need to degrade other employees or their positions in the district to make a case for keeping certificated educators in our libraries. Instead, we can most benefit our colleagues and students by banding together.

In support of the district’s valuable paraeducators, there are Washington State Core Competencies for Paraeducators. It’s not a frivolous list of suggestions. This position is not filled with a group of incompetents! This information can be found on the OSPI website, if you find it crucial to compare the competencies and importance of the educational positions in the school districts.

The disappointing reality is that our school libraries did receive budget cuts. According to the recent results of the district’s yearly parent survey, there is great concern over the students losing librarians and having a compromised library system.

As a teacher and a parent in the Mukilteo School District, I am saddened by the fact that our libraries and librarians are not receiving the support and reverence that they deserve.

However, let’s not forget that many other areas have had funding reduced in the past few years. Mr. Garrard said many times in his letter that librarians were “The ONLY budget cut.”

What was not included in Mr. Garrard’s letter is that there was/is a $4.6 billion budget gap for 2011-13. Also, there are likely to be cuts in regard to K-4 class size, highly capable funding, and all non-basic education is on the table. You can find that information on the district’s website.

I propose that we all endure with what we have right now, while being encouraging to our colleagues and students. Being resourceful and flexible should be part of a teacher’s disposition!

I want to thank all of the paraeducators for their hard work and willingness to do what it takes to be a part of providing a comprehensive education to our students.

Most sincerely,

Kym Parise,

Mukilteo School District

Library friends award $4,500 in scholarships

Dear Editor,

The Friends of the Mukilteo Library are pleased to announce the graduating seniors to each of whom we gave a $1,500 scholarship at awards ceremonies. They are Ashley Martin from ACES High School; Kathryn (Katie) Cunningham from Kamiak High School; and Vivian Bosua from Mariner High School.

The Friends could not have funded such awards without strong community support at our on-going book sales in the lobby of the library. We thank you all for helping us to continue offering such scholarships.

Pat Colyer,

Friends of the Mukilteo Library

Play it Forward raises $2,700 for musical instruments

Dear Editor,

I'm writing about the “Play it Forward” benefit concert on May 24 at Rosehill Community Center, which attracted such members of our community as Jesse Jones, of King 5 News and Miss Washington, Brittney Henry.

"Play it Forward!" was a benefit concert as a joint effort between MYAC and the Kamiak Performing Arts Boosters to raise funds for instruments in the Mukilteo School District's elementary schools.

Though the middle and high school music programs in our district are (pretty well) thriving, the elementary schools barely get enough to get by. Many students, especially on the east side of our district, don't have the means to rent or purchase an instrument and are forced to borrow one from their school's instrument library.

The goal of this event was to make sure that these libraries are stocked and ready to be used by deserving new musicians.

The concert included acts by the Mukilteo Elementary orchestra (directed by Lois Beckman), many student groups from Kamiak High School, and Miss Washington 2011 Brittney Henry. Jesse Jones from KING 5 News was the emcee.

All in all, the concert was a big success! We tallied our donations from the hundreds of guests (we had to put out extra chairs!), and raised almost $2,700 in donations and through our silent auction.

That money is being formally presented to the district on July 16 at Mukilteo City Hall.

David Carter,

Chairperson,

Mukilteo Youth Advisory Committee

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