Parents Lash Out at Chesterfield Schoolboard Leaders - wtvr

Full story: WTVR 26
Fire and brimstone in Chesterfield County, as hundreds of parents, students and teachers speak out against the closing of Chester Middle School. Full Story
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steven

Glen Allen, VA

#1 Dec 17, 2009
hey chesterfield,when you build houses for years and years you need to have the means to support the people you begged in the late 80s to move to your overwhelmed county.You became your own beast.Just send the kids to one of the 1000 strip malls you let go up back then that are now empty.This is what happens when old people run a county,look at henrico.
Angela

Palmyra, VA

#2 Dec 17, 2009
The $40million in debt capacity savings is there, whether Chester Middle is closed or not. It is already a savings based on suspending construction. The School Board is trying to combine the two issues and they are indeed two separate issues.
chad

Wilmington, DE

#3 Dec 17, 2009
t-d and chester middle isnt the only problem. all the schools are over crowded. when you look at the schools having between 1300-1800 kids in one place at one time thats is a big problem. we need the county to stop with all the building of new homes and start getting the schools and road up to date. the county is backwards on how they do things with development. the county is starting to look like the city of richmond...
chad

Wilmington, DE

#4 Dec 17, 2009
this is way the city folks are moving into the county and the old county people are moving to dinwiddie, powhatan.prince george.. this is the same reason im looking at moving (35 years in county).. stop with building 200 homes on 20 acres. make it that new homes be on 1-2 acres. that would help..
still fed up

United States

#5 Dec 17, 2009
“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.”-Arnold Bennett
“The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.”-Charles Kettering
I am highly disappointed by some of the counter proposals being made concerning the closing of CMS. It is apparent that it is fine with the folks in Chester to move other children, just not those at Chester. Options put forth by Chester residents are not fiscally responsible and are disruptive to too many other students. Building a new facility or renovating existing facilities to meet the needs in some of the proposals cannot a fiscally responsible idea when we have partially empty facilities in the county right now.
Some of the ideas mess with other schools but not Chester-- Why is it okay to shuffle students from Community High, but not those at Chester? The students at Community High School are some of the county's most at risk students, and they should not be moved like cattle just because some parents think their children are somehow more entitled to remain at "their" school. We should be working extremely hard to make the students at Community High School feel valued. Why is it okay to move students from Matoaca Middle, but not Chester? That area was redistricted not too long ago. Why is it okay to close Davis Middle (and make it a high school), but not Chester Middle? Those students have just adjusted to their new school.
Another option I have heard, to keep 6th graders at their Elementary feeder schools, and then have 7, 8, and 9th graders at Chester Middle School will be a logistical nightmare. 6th Graders should be included in Middle School sports, band, and chorus. They should have access to the same electives that other middle schoolers in the county enjoy. Not only should they have access, but not all 6th graders in the feeder schools will go to Chester Middle. Why is it okay to move all 6th graders in the county back to elementary, but not okay to move students from Chester? An entire county change just to keep CMS open? In addition not having the 9th graders in a high school environment is counter to the County’s efforts to push the student body academically and the emphasis on a ‘rigorous course schedule’, how do you propose to address the complications with those ninth-grade students taking upper level high school classes; i.e., Foreign Languages II, III or IV, Biology, Geometry or Algebra II? The “fixes” in the proposal are just not feasible. When you have these small 9th grade populations you will not get the number of courses offered so they can be worked into students’ schedules. We will be hearing from these same parents in a few years that their kids do not have access to the same classes as the rest of the county.
I have little sympathy for outcries related to potential miles traveled on winding rural roads. Many county students face this everyday when going to their own zoned schools—when there are schools closer—because it is the best that can be done --- in our part of the county we have a situation where our population is concentrated in certain areas in this county and all those kids can just go to the closest schools – it is just not feasible --- Chester --You are not the only ones who have faced this issue.
The newest option - Option 10 appears to have some merit and thankfully does not reach into other districts -- but from a logistics and access to course perspective (described above)appears to be a real band-aid on the situation - which oddly enough is what the Chester folks seem to think of the boards idea. I again plead for the emotion to be taken out of this and for a sound decision to be made.
Teach

Chester, VA

#6 Dec 17, 2009
We are not saying our kids are "better" than anyone else's, although several people from the CBG program said exactly that last night. We are simply saying you do not CLOSE a school. It is not about the move as much as peole may want to make it that, it is about closing a school. I do not think you would find people more suited to teach the Community High students better that what they have and we fully support all of their efforts. We are not looking to "herd" children either, we are simply looking to affect the SMALLEST number of children since this CHANGE is necessary. Community High students are going to actually be given a better situation at an actual high school more suited for their needs. These students come from all over the entire county, and this building is actually more centrally located in the county. They have 359 young adults, to our student body which is twice that. These students also have CHOSEN Community High as stated on the school's website. Just like any other chosen speciaty center in our county, we provide the transportation. I can not understand why people think we want what is best for "our" kids. We want what is best for the largest number of kids we can possibly service.
david B

Street, MD

#8 Dec 17, 2009
Modulars are the answer. Open your eyes people. They come in and then they leave.
mom of two

Midlothian, VA

#9 Dec 17, 2009
"Another option I have heard, to keep 6th graders at their Elementary feeder schools, and then have 7, 8, and 9th graders at Chester Middle School will be a logistical nightmare. 6th Graders should be included in Middle School sports, band, and chorus. They should have access to the same electives that other middle schoolers in the county enjoy. Not only should they have access, but not all 6th graders in the feeder schools will go to Chester Middle. Why is it okay to move all 6th graders in the county back to elementary, but not okay to move students from Chester? "

If it is not okay to keep 6th graders in an elementary school, why is okay to keep 9th graders out of high school. High school students have a wealth of opportunities presented to them, which would not be available to these 9th graders. My freshmen year in high school 1/2 my classes were considered sophomore classes. Also, how would you offer all the electives presently being offered to high school students? People talk about sports and clubs offered to 6th graders in middle schools. Wouldn't 9th graders be missing out on these same opportunities if they are isolated? In my opinion, Chesterfield County should take the middle school with the worse test score and passing rate, and close that school. Move the kids from the failing school to productive schools. Why close a successful school. I understand that there is no solution that will make everyone happy, but it seems like closing a school that is so successful is counterproductive. Last year, Chester’s lowest pass rate on their SOL scores in any subject was 85%. Carver has pass rates in the 40 and 60 percentiles, and Davis also had pass rates in the 60’s. Why would a parent want their child to leave Chester to attend either of these schools? I am not saying that either David or Carver bad schools, but why close the most successful of the three? By the way, I got my test data off of the Chesterfield County Public school web site http://www.chesterfield.k12.va.us/CCPS/school... .
misturtea

Clarksburg, WV

#10 Dec 17, 2009
You can either fight change or embrace it. If you fight it, you will end up fighting you're whole life. I suggest that, in the interest of the children, we embrace change. We can use this as an opportunity to show them an example of how change, even when painful and disruptive, can be a good thing in the end.
Carver Mom of Two

United States

#11 Dec 17, 2009
Mom of Two and others bashing the change - Carver's pass rates are hardly as bad as you make it sound. 6th grade math was 41% and US History to 1877 was 63%, I can hardly agree that 2 subjects out of 15 tested justifies saying they are unsuccessful. Check out the county and school websites and see how many awards Carver Middle has been awarded over the past several years in comparison to Chester. Yes Carver has had its issues in the past but under its wonderful leadership of Don Ashburn it has improved by leaps and bounds. As for Davis, they have only been open for a year, you cant expect excellence in such a new setting where last year was a transition year for all of those kids and it appears by the test scores they handled their transition very well (66% pass rate in 6th grade math and 67 % for US History to 1877, again only 2 out of 15). Lets also not forget how Davis students were displaced for the 1st half of the year since the school was not complete. They survived and Chester students will survive. You also fail to mention that Chester only had a 60% pass rate for its 6th grade math. If you are going to throw out negative statistics, make sure you include them all.
Everyone understands that you along with many other parents dont want your children disrupted. However, consider how Carver and Davis parents feel about having 300+ students added to our schools. Carver is at 849, Davis is at 775, and Chester is well under with only 697 enrolled. Maybe we should be voicing that our schools dont need the additional enrollment!!! Look beyond yourself sometimes and realize there are other affected as well!
Embrace the change now, otherwise we will be hearing from all of you again once your kids reach Thomas Dale within the next 1-3 years about how much the county needs to do something about the overcrowding just as the current TD parents are doing now. No one can please 100% of people 100% of the time!
If you don't like how things are going in Chesterfield, go talk to parents in Powhatan, Dinwiddie and other more rural areas that have only 1 high school and in some cases 1 to 2 middle schools for the entire county and how far their kids have to travel and the dangers of their curvy roads. Maybe it will give you a better perspective of how good you and your kids have it in Chesterfield!
Recognitions, just to name a few...
4th largest district in VA
Among 100 largest in US
87% of residents rate as excellent or good
100% of schools fully accredited
4 National School Change Awards
3 National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence
3 teachers in 4 yrs honored by Milken Family Foundation
8 of past 12 regional Teachers of the Year
all information pulled from enrollment data, test scores and the annual report http://www.chesterfield.k12.va.us/home.html
hammer

Richmond, VA

#12 Dec 17, 2009
taxpayers in chesterfield YOU don't have the money. keep this up there will be a huge increase in tax collections. where are the "tea party" clones who oppose gov't spending or intrusion into their lives? let the school board decide whats best for all concerned, thats why you guys voted for them in the first place.
Chester - Virginia

Ruckersville, VA

#13 Dec 17, 2009
Even those I know who have graduated from Chester Middle do not honestly care about this issue. This group dedicated to "saving Chester Middle" has not articulated a SINGLE COHERENT REASON as to WHY Chester Middle SHOULD be saved. Other than babbling about some community identity (Guess they don't really understand that Thomas Dale gobbles up that in the local community), there IS NO reason to prevent saving money and relieving overcrowding.
MoM2MandJ

Chester, VA

#14 Dec 17, 2009
And what's wrong with teaching your children to fight for what you believe in? I would much rather teach them to challenge ideas & things they think are wrong than to just roll over and play dead to whatever decisions are made by our elected officials.
chad

Richmond, VA

#15 Dec 17, 2009
we shouldnt talk about closing anything. we need all the space we can find for any school in the county. 1 thing to look at is how the 2 h.s (t.d and bird) with all those kids t.d 2400 and bird 1600 in one place at one time and thats just those two schools. why could they use the community h.s and move those 600 kids to chester middle to releive some space. now they r talking about turning clover hill into the same type school as community. but when we use all that tax money on kids that dont do any better in that type of school setting then why r they their (just for county school drop out numbers) now dont get me wrong some do change but alot dont. when need the county to stop development so much and catch up on streets,schools,police ect..but our county has gotten ass backwards and behind..when i can go a buy 20-30 acres and build over 100 homes on it that should tell us something..kids shouldnt have to go deal with 1300-1900 kids daily to try and learn
chad

Richmond, VA

#16 Dec 17, 2009
Carver Mom of Two wrote:
Mom of Two and others bashing the change - Carver's pass rates are hardly as bad as you make it sound. 6th grade math was 41% and US History to 1877 was 63%, I can hardly agree that 2 subjects out of 15 tested justifies saying they are unsuccessful. Check out the county and school websites and see how many awards Carver Middle has been awarded over the past several years in comparison to Chester. Yes Carver has had its issues in the past but under its wonderful leadership of Don Ashburn it has improved by leaps and bounds. As for Davis, they have only been open for a year, you cant expect excellence in such a new setting where last year was a transition year for all of those kids and it appears by the test scores they handled their transition very well (66% pass rate in 6th grade math and 67 % for US History to 1877, again only 2 out of 15). Lets also not forget how Davis students were displaced for the 1st half of the year since the school was not complete. They survived and Chester students will survive. You also fail to mention that Chester only had a 60% pass rate for its 6th grade math. If you are going to throw out negative statistics, make sure you include them all.
Everyone understands that you along with many other parents dont want your children disrupted. However, consider how Carver and Davis parents feel about having 300+ students added to our schools. Carver is at 849, Davis is at 775, and Chester is well under with only 697 enrolled. Maybe we should be voicing that our schools dont need the additional enrollment!!! Look beyond yourself sometimes and realize there are other affected as well!
Embrace the change now, otherwise we will be hearing from all of you again once your kids reach Thomas Dale within the next 1-3 years about how much the county needs to do something about the overcrowding just as the current TD parents are doing now. No one can please 100% of people 100% of the time!
If you don't like how things are going in Chesterfield, go talk to parents in Powhatan, Dinwiddie and other more rural areas that have only 1 high school and in some cases 1 to 2 middle schools for the entire county and how far their kids have to travel and the dangers of their curvy roads. Maybe it will give you a better perspective of how good you and your kids have it in Chesterfield!
Recognitions, just to name a few...
4th largest district in VA
Among 100 largest in US
87% of residents rate as excellent or good
100% of schools fully accredited
4 National School Change Awards
3 National Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence
3 teachers in 4 yrs honored by Milken Family Foundation
8 of past 12 regional Teachers of the Year
all information pulled from enrollment data, test scores and the annual report http://www.chesterfield.k12.va.us/home.html
but this seems to come from some one that take the word of chesterfield web site to get their info.
and going to powhatan or dinwiddie would be great, you are talking going from our school of about 1500-2000 per high school whichwe have about 9 to theirs having about 600-800 kids. thats y they have only 1 or 2 high schools.
they dont allow to build 10 homes on a acre lot like chesterfield has done.
chesterfield has become a minnie city of richmond. have you looked at the crime rate of the county grow and how the city has went down.. so where do u think they have moved to..
Melanie

Richmond, VA

#17 Dec 18, 2009
I understand everyone has their feelings about all the different options that are being thrown out there. Here is my concern. Within 4 years, my twins will be moved 4 times. 4 TIMES!!!! They are 7th graders this year at 1) chester middle, then 2) at davis or carver next year,3)back to the chester middle building for 9th & 4)finally at thomas dale......HOW IS THAT HEALTHY for a child? how will that affect my childs education...going from building to building? I am not saying that Thomas Dale shouldnt be eleveated, I just want to know if theres other options, other than closing chester middle! & if there are parents that DONT want chester middle students at your schools....did u speak up at the meetings to express your feelings? have you been at any of the rallies? have you voiced your opinion? Lets act like adults & show our children than if the move has to happen to welcome these CHILDREN with open arms & not be negative, as you seem to be! We are role models for our children, lets be positive role models!! OK, im done! God Bless
Matoaca Mom

United States

#18 Dec 18, 2009
I do not understand how you all can suggest in your option 9 to totally upset Matoaca Middle School to meet your needs! 5 years ago we were rezoned from schools 5-10 minute bus rides away to Matoaca 30-40 minutes bus ride away. We were not happy with the proposal at first, but were able to see how it made sense for the greater good (we were just the closest big neighborhoods to the schools and they needed to fill the seats at the two campus middle school and the new high school). So rather than spend all our energy fighting it, we decided to put our energy into making it a good situation. Here we are 5 years later -- we have worked hard to make this work and love what has happened at the middle and high school -- now in order to save your school -- you want to take the CBG program out, add the 8th grade to the 6th and 7th at one campus (reunify to use your word)-- and becuase they won't all fit at one campus -- 150 of us will have to be rezoned again -- we did our part for the greater good -- what have you done besides complain and offer suggestions that effect everyone else except for you. I'm so sorry about your twins-- but what a great life lesson it could be-- sometimes you don't get your way and you need to make the best of it. I know you all claim the better life lesson is to speak up for yourself and fight for what you think is right-- but you have gone past that point and are now making suggestions to help your situation at the expense of others-- this life lesson is called self-centeredness -- I am glad I did not teach my kids that lesson when we went through this. I do feel for you all -- change is hard -- but try to take a step back a really look at the whole situation and how these suggestions you all have made really show an "it’s all about us" mentality. Finally -- I think you would be amazed how resilient the kids are when you show a positive attitude so will they and they will be better for it-- I know my kids are!
Melanie

Richmond, VA

#19 Dec 18, 2009
I do not have the documents with the options listed, so I am unaware of what you are speaking of, but in reference to your comment to me - My children have learned MANY lifes lessons,they know that you dont always get your way. I dont think students being moved 4 times in 4 years is considered a "life lesson". Also, remember, the options that you do not agree with, you would express your concern, right? Well, that is what some of us are doing. We are expressing our concerns about the closure of CMS. Please Do not read this message wrong, it not with any sarcasim or disrespect. Its just an expression of my concern. God Bless!
Richmond

Richmond, VA

#20 Dec 19, 2009
"Matoaca Mom", what is self-centered is that you think the CBG program is Matoaca's program. CBG is a Chesterfield County program. The students CHOOSE to be a part of it. Therefore it can be housed at any school in the county. If 150 students have to be moved to a different Matoaca Middle, at least they are still going to MATOACA middle. And...we are talking 150 students in comparison to the hundreds of Chester students. I personally think that is the best option.
MMS mom

Chester, VA

#21 Dec 19, 2009
The students that attend the CBG program attend Matoaca Middle School and are proud of their school just as those who attend Chester Middle are. It is wrong to think they have no attachment to their school and teachers and would be unaffected by moving them elsewhere. They are a part of MMS's student body in every way. They participate in sports, band, orchestra, chorus, and clubs at MMS and are undistiguishable from any other MMS student. They are not wearing some kind of label identifying them as CBG, but are wearing the same Matoaca Middle hoodies that other students wear to show their pride in their school!

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