Letters to the Editor, May 9

May. 08, 2014 @ 09:57 PM

Healthier students – better learners

On May 7, we recognized our school nurses by celebrating National School Nurse Day as a way to foster a better understanding of the role of school nurses in the educational setting. The theme this year is, “The School Nurse: Caring for Others. Caring for Ourselves.”

Parents should be able to send their children to school with the peace of mind that they will remain safe, healthy, and ready to learn. Given that today’s children face more chronic health illnesses (e.g. asthma, diabetes, food allergies, etc.) than ever before, school nurses take their role as a licensed professional very seriously. We are grateful for the teachers, administrators, and professional support staff with whom we work with each day -- who help to create a healthy learning environment for every child in North Carolina.  

It seems like common sense that healthier students are better learners. But evidence-based research in fields ranging from neuroscience and child development to epidemiology and public health support this argument. Our elected officials must invest in programs and services that seek to improve the health and well-being outcomes of all children.

As our state legislators make funding decisions for next year, I hope their budget reflects the right priorities – ensuring our children have a successful, productive, and healthy future.

Cheryl Blake

Durham

President, School Nurse Association of North Carolina

Virtual schools provide opportunities

There’s a serious school choice debate underway in our great state that will determine the educational future of children like mine who live in communities across North Carolina. Thanks to innovative public school leaders and policymakers who believe the status quo isn’t good enough for our children, new options in public education have emerged: public virtual schools.

One size does not fit all. This is a key principle in American K-12 public education reform and why charter schools -- with their innovative approach to decision-making, scheduling, staffing, curriculum and filling in the gaps of traditional education -- have grown so quickly around the country. Nationally, our education system is also being revolutionized by technology. Virtual schools, many of them charter schools, are utilizing technology to transform and personalize learning, can improve academic performance and reduce dropout rates. 

There are many gaps in K-12 public education today -- gaps for students who learn at a different pace, in course availability, in the ability of an educator to teach instead of manage a traditional classroom. With state-certified teachers, actively engaged learning coaches, individualized learning programs, standards-aligned curriculum and leading digital learning resources, the proposed virtual charter school North Carolina Connections Academy will fill those gaps and bring educational success to students who, for a variety of reasons, have not thrived in a traditional classroom setting.

Let’s provide more e-learning alternatives that our families throughout the state have been requesting. Our students deserve high quality options like North Carolina Connections Academy.

Bryan Setser

President, North Carolina Connections Academy Founding Board