Unit 5: Follow-through on Your "Mission"
The ultimate goal of this petition is to make the McLean County District Unit No. 5 of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois aware that the indefinite suspension of the Project Oz liaison and the Academic Student Center (ASC) are severely detrimental to the student body at Normal Community High as a whole. These are programs that are truly needed and must continue to receive funding from the District.
The reason why we as a school must have these resources is because they are both beneficial to our student body in their own way. The Project Oz liaison is a trusted adult that kids flock to for help with anything from college applications to personal problems. This adult isn't affiliated with the District or school, therefore anything a student confides in the adult is kept confidential, which sometimes is more comforting to kids than going to their official counselor or a teacher. The ASC is a tutoring, test-taking, and computer area that was open to students at any time during the day. Students could be found in that room getting extra help on a math subject they didn’t quite understand, taking an exam they may have missed due to absence, or simply getting a head start on a paper during their study hall or lunch period. This center was a huge success, so many students went to the ASC to take care of their business, it was a great resource for teachers and students alike, especially when the library was closed.
To cut either of these programs is to throw many kids into the wind both academically and mentally. When an Ironmen is stressed about anything from balancing their AP classes and their extracurriculars to their parent’s divorce, who do they turn to when they need independent guidance? What are the kids who depended on the Project Oz liaison for these things supposed to do? Similarly, not every child who attends Normal Community has daily access to a working computer, printer, or tutor. When a paper they’ve worked hard on is due the next hour and they haven’t been able to print it out yet, what are they to do if the IMC is closed? What about when they don’t understand a history lesson or the importance of Freud’s theory? The effect of these budget cuts is this; the chance of part of the student body to become well rounded members of the community and prepared for college academically are skewed in favor of those who have these privileges, which is never fair.
This outcome completely contradicts the mission statement of Superintendent Daniel, found on the homepage of the Unit 5 website stating, “The mission of the McLean County Unit District No. 5 Schools is to educate each student to achieve personal excellence. To accomplish this mission, we are an innovative learning organization that focuses upon continuous improvement in all aspects of our work.” Continuous improvement does not mean removing the very programs that facilitated students’ improvement. The statement continues by saying, “With an outstanding team of administrators, faculty, and staff, we work in collaboration with families to engage in continuous improvement efforts that challenge and support our students.” There is no question that the faculty of Unit 5 are an outstanding people, but removing multiple members of that faculty only removes support and adds more challenge for students.
We need Superintendent Daniel and the District Board of Education to follow-through on that mission.