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Here are more reasons to vote yes on Feb. 7

The upcoming school referendum urgently needs to pass. PLEASE get out on Feb. 7 and vote YES!Several of my fellow citizen taxpayers have written incisive, responsible letters in favor of the bond referendum before us on Feb. 7. They have cited a myriad of reasons this referendum needs to pass. Here are a few more:New Hampton’s Assets:  New Hampton has many assets, one of which is our hospital and medical staff. I will quickly note that the hospital has been updated throughout the years to accommodate community need and new health initiatives.If our hospital looked as outdated as our school facilities, New Hampton citizens would be driving out of town for their medical care on a daily basis. And, we might not have been able to recruit the group of medical professionals we currently enjoy.Prospective Families and Students: As a retired New Hampton administrator, one of the privileges I had as principal was to greet new and prospective families and give them tours through our school building. I recall my last tour prior to retiring.At some point in the tour through the elementary and middle school building, the parents of a first- and sixth-grader asked me if New Hampton had ever talked about updating their buildings and possibly building new facilities? I hesitated to tell them that to date, we had tried, but were not able to make it happen. I worried they would label New Hampton a status quo community and not choose us as their home.Later that summer, I learned that they had chosen to live in a community about 40 miles from here. The father had chosen to commute so his kids could attend updated facilities to be educated. I think often of how we lost out economically and in so many other ways by losing that family.Impact of Brain Research on Educational Initiatives:  As Mr. Jurrens has said in his presentations, education, as you and I know it, has changed.Students do not sit back and soak in what a teacher in the front of a classroom is teaching. Students are taught the tools of learning and are actively engaged in their own discovery of knowledge and skills.The role of the teacher has changed from being the one who imparts knowledge to being the supporter and mentor of learning. Classrooms are now configured in a way to make this happen.The brain research of the last 20 years is responsible for this metamorphosis in the classroom. The research shows that student discovery is the way students learn best, retain more, and apply more successfully.Students need a different kind of space to collaborate and discover. The present facilities are not adequate from an educational standpoint.The Early Childhood Program of NHES: The early childhood program is an initiative in which I am particularly proud! The program has an awesome curriculum and great teachers to facilitate it.There is just not enough space to deliver it as it should be delivered.Like many new initiatives in our school district, The Learning Center (TLC) was a whole new program without a whole new space.  An early childhood environment does not look like an elementary environment.Ideally, an early childhood program is assigned to its own area with its own entry for parent ease and safety measures. Not having space to designate as the early childhood center, we somehow find the space for it every year by squeezing every inch of our elementary together and creatively making spaces here and there. The Learning Center has proven its value to our district over and over again. New Hampton's young children are ready to learn and the benefits of that early learning program are seen for years to come!I dream of the day TLC will, at the least, have more space to meet the Early Learning Standards and deliver the Early Childhood Curriculum. This will happen with the current building proposal.There should be no question that our facilities need updating. A growing body of research has found:• With respect to a community, facilities can have a profound impact on the economic and civic welfare of a community.• With respect to teachers, school facilities affect teacher recruitment, retention, commitment, and effort.• With regard to students, school facilities affect health, behavior, engagement, learning and growth in achievement.Please vote YES! The future is coming!

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