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Saturday, September 22, 2018
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Saturday's New School Celebration

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    Posted: Sep 01 2018 at 5:47pm
From the Journal...

MIDDLETOWN —
The transformation of the Middletown City Schools District is complete.

On Saturday morning, renovated Middletown High School and new Middle School, which represent the district’s historic and massive $96 million upgrade, were open to the public for the first time, culminating a facilities project that began six years ago.

Excluding MHS, which opened in 1970, the district has all new school buildings.

The high school and middle school, located on the same campus on North Breiel Boulevard, appear to be the cornerstone of the public school district.

Middletown Board President Chris Urso called the schools “two impressive buildings” and said they represent more than brick and mortar.

“Because at its core, what makes a community strong is its inclination and capacity to help families,” Urso said before Saturday’s double ribbon-cutting. “Middletown is stronger today because we have chosen to support families by investing in our families. Today is a ‘feel-good’ day. A day filled with hope and optimism. However, we know that hope and optimism can not sustain without action. We must continue to act. We must continue to work. This is our time. Our Middie foundation is strong.”

When that action continues, Urso said, “Middie Magic will work to elevate all of Middletown.”

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Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. believes the technology advances allow the students to “accomplish their dreams.”

Carmela Cotter, principal at MHS, spent part of the ribbon-cutting welcoming students back to school. She hugged several students.

“Shelter is very important,” Cotter said. “And it’s one of the things that make us feel like we are a family. We work real hard to make our students feel like they belong, that they’re valued and lifted up every day.”

She remembers meeting the construction team several years ago. She delivered a message: “This is the game changer in your career because you are going to build a building that will be a family home for students, and it’s going to change our community.”

When students return to classes Tuesday, Cotter said, they will bring “heart and family” back into the building.

She mentioned the district’s motto is “unite, inspire and transform” its student body.

“This structure does that for our kids,” Cotter said. “It gives us a foundation piece and they can feel valued. This is no limit what they can be able to do.”

Tonya Mongar has custody of her three grandsons — an eighth-grader, seventh-grader and sixth-grader — who attend Middletown schools. She said the boys are “excited to come here.”

As she toured the Middle School, she said: “This is totally amazing. This is a great beginning for a new future.”

During the tour, no one seemed happier than Michael Valenti. For the last 29 years, he has served as principal at Middletown Middle School. The new Middle School features six learning pods and an incredible opportunity for students and staff, he said.

“This community deserves a building like this,” he said while looking down from a balcony toward the cafeteria.

Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan said the “fortunes” of the city and its public school district are tied together.

“When schools win, the city wins,” he said. “The City of Middletown has made great strides over the last year. People are starting to take notice. Students have incredible opportunities here.”

Observations:

Urso thinks "Middie Magic" will elevate all of Middletown. The demographics of the community does not support your enthusiasm Mr. School Board President. Most don't share your cheer leading thoughts. There is also more flowery rhetoric from Urso in the story.

Carmela Cotter, by her comments, apparently thinks the schools are a day care/social service/caregiver facility that will act as a social service for absent parenting. Nothing mentioned concerning the real reason the schools are there---ie. for learning in preparation for life down the road. She did mention the schools being a "family home" for the community. Schools are suppose to be academic institutions, not social service organizations. Social service organizations already exist. Cotter also states the motto to be "unite, inspire and transform". Really? Shouldn't the motto be "teach and prepare for success in life"?

Styles wants to "allow students to accomplish their dreams". Exactly what does that mean with respect to actual action toward preparing kids for life's challenges? A tad bit too general in nature isn't it? Specifics would explain your plan with more clarity Mr. Superintendent. As it is now, this is no more than flowery rhetoric which dominates this article. Everything is wonderful and optimistic seems to be the theme here. We all know what it is. The academic record of the Middletown schools has been abysmal the last two decades or more. It has not changed to date. Please, for once in your lives, admit what it is for a change. It will take more than new fancy, latest technology buildings to change the landscape school people. It will take a totally different approach inside your new buildings. Doing ineffective things inside old buildings will produce the same results as doing ineffective things inside new buildings. The change will arrive when you school people realize that doing repeated failed methods will yield only more repeated failed methods. That's a fact and should not be up for debate.

To continue the observations....

Of course, there are flowery comments by Mulligan once again. Larry states "when schools win, the city wins". The fact is, Larry, the schools have not been in a "winning" position for over two decades and the city started it's decline in the 80's. That's a fact. The dismal school performance and the state of the city today are factual evidence that both entities are in serious trouble as to seeing any improvement in the near future. No amount of embellished, nonsensical, ceremonial comments from school or city officials will change that. City and school officials intentionally state glitzy, over-hyped crap to hide the real truths about this city and it's schools.

Time will tell if this 96 million dollar waste as it is now, will prove to be a good investment. If we go by historical performances from the new elementary schools built a few years ago, it doesn't look good at this time as to the expectation of upward movement. The elementary schools have been operating long enough now to have shown improvement. It hasn't happened as yet. I am betting that the middle/high school mega-complex will be yet another waste of hard earned taxpayer money down the drain of futility. Let's revisit this subject in 5 years and compare the performance then to what we have now. I will bet there will be no positive outcome to report and, with time, the public will have forgotten how much this cost them to see continued failure for the ROI. It will not be good news for those who will remember this event IMO.

Now, let's hear from the optimistic, city/school supporting people who will be quick to label me as a "naysayer" and "negative" as they like to do. It is amazing how these optimistic people can maintain their mindset even when the data shows all of us that it is skewed toward the negative side of things. Blind, emotional reasoning I guess without stopping to actually look at what is fact.

I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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