Letters to the Editor, April 9

(The author red the following to the North Clackamas School District Board of Directors at last week's meeting.)

To the Editor:

I have two children in North Clackamas Schools; one at Milwaukie High School and one at Milwaukie Elementary.

I have been PTO President at Milwaukie Elementary for the past three years. I have also served on the Advisory Committee for the past four years. I am also a Mustang Alumni, class of '89.

Recent events and publicity have me concerned about the future of our community.

Being a very active volunteer in North Clackamas schools for seven years and an additional four years in Portland, I am exposed to the successes and challenges our schools endure.

It is no secret that the Milwaukie community has financial challenges. I am here to confirm that these challenges have not stopped our community from advocating and creating positive, forward movement for the benefit of all. I'm proud to say that these challenges have been added motivation for those of us who seek improvement for our kids.

I consider myself to be a leader in our community. As a leader, I know that my words and actions not only represent me, but my fellow neighbors and citizens who live in Milwaukie. I also know that people look to me for guidance and feedback as well as a resource.

Contrary to what is being stated in the press, I whole-heartedly believe that Milwaukie parents want to be a partner in the success of our students and student athletes. Milwaukie is unique. There is a lot of pride and passion. It is not uncommon to hear of second and third generation Mustangs. Students come back to be teachers. Teachers stick around for 10, 15, 20-plus years.

Realistically though, we need leadership and guidance from the superintendent and his team. Another reality is that administrators must give weight to feedback given from those who live the daily life at the school level. I was once taught that 'perception is part of communication.' If the perception is that MHS is not on par with the other schools in our district, well there must be a reason why. I feel it is imperative that you listen to those who offer their perceptions.

Personal attacks and finger pointing accomplishes nothing positive. It's time to start the healing process. Waiting for things to die down is not the answer. You have an entire community looking for ways to assist but unless there is guidance from the highest level of leadership in our school district, we will all be scattered around trying to accomplish positive end-results individually. Let's unite our efforts and watch how much we can achieve together. As they say: TEAM - Together Everyone Achieves More!

I'd like to suggest that perhaps a public forum where Milwaukie parents, staff, students, and community members are given a venue for their voices to be heard. One where they won't be silenced by a gavel and one where staff members won't feel like their job is in jeopardy if they speak what may seem as brutally honest feedback. Feedback is simply information. Perhaps if we saw the same efforts given to the public forum as say, the Parent Institute, you might be surprised at what results may occur.

Finally, the saying, 'Mustang born, Mustang bred, gonna' be a Mustang 'til I'm dead,' rings true for Milwaukie and it is where you'll find the most passionate of supporters. I urge you to use this bump in the road as a stepping block to greater things for our Milwaukie community.

Rika Warner


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