To the editor:
I’ve been reading with interest about the Mehlville School District’s plans to potentially open what they are calling a Choice School of Innovation, or CSOI, at a cost to the district of anywhere from $220,000 to $1 million for the startup, and then close to an additional $700,000 per school year to staff it.
Let me be clear. I don’t live or work in the Mehlville School District, so I’ve got no skin in the game. I am, however, a lifelong educator, an elementary school principal and a doctoral candidate in educational leadership at St. Louis University.
So I’m interested. The kind of innovative teaching being described for the CSOI is effective and being used in schools all across the country. It’s often referred to as the STEM, STEAM or STREAM approach to teaching and learning; teachers incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and sometimes the Arts and sometimes Reading into lessons for kids where they are asked to solve real-world problems. It’s engaging and it gets kids excited about learning.
So here’s my question: Why is the Mehlville School District plucking its best teachers from schools and spending so much money when they will only be impacting a very small fraction of their elementary school students?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to provide teacher training all across the district so all elementary school teachers know how to use this innovative approach to learning?
They could leave their best teachers where they are and give them resources to help lead STEM teaching in their current schools. You’d be positively impacting so many more kids this way.
Bottom line — don’t all Mehlville students deserve this kind of innovative education? I know this could be accomplished with the kind of money the district is talking about spending on this CSOI.
Like I said, I’ve got no skin in the game.
I’m just interested.