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Archived Story

Vote for Schmidt, Ausra

Published 10:57am Monday, November 5, 2012

To the editor:

I am writing to urge Dowagiac citizens to vote Nov. 6 to place Ruth Ausra and Larry Schmidt on the Dowagiac school board. My family’s personal experiences with the Dowagiac school system and with Ruth and Larry form the basis for our belief that they would continue and enhance the positive changes occurring in Dowagiac schools.
Although our family has purchased a home in a different part of Cass County and will move shortly, we remain actively involved in the Dowagiac school system.
Our son, who attended Kincheloe Elementary for kindergarten last school year, went to a different school system for the first four weeks of the current school year due to the proximity of the school to our new home.
However, several weeks ago we transferred him back to Kincheloe, and our plan is for him to continue in the Dowagiac school system. So, although we will not live in Dowagiac much longer, we will have a continuing, long-term relationship with the school system.
While some parents choose to transport their children to Edwardsburg and other schools from Dowagiac, Dowagiac definitely is our family’s “school of choice.”
Our son’s time in another school system solidified our belief that his educational needs can best be met right here. Kindergarten in Dowagiac schools was an exceptional experience for him and first grade is following suit.
I am an advocate, first and foremost, for my son and the children who attend Dowagiac schools. As such, I fully support Dowagiac teachers. They are heroes to the children they teach and to the families of those children. This is obvious to anyone who spends time in a Dowagiac classroom and witnesses the love, care and dedication the teachers provide our children.
Although no Dowagiac school is officially a “Blue Ribbon School,” our teachers take top honors for the way they educate our children. Also, I applaud, appreciate and support Dowagiac principals, who cultivate and maintain the environments which are key to our children’s success.
Dowagiac school principals, teachers and most importantly, children, need the guidance of a school board which will encourage and enable our school system to keep improving.
Much improvement has taken place within the last year: principals, teachers, parents, relatives and friends of Dowagiac students have begun attending board meetings and actively voicing their concerns, beliefs and ideas about our school system.
This involvement has had tangible results: the board reversed its plan to eliminate principals’ employment contracts, largely due to input from the concerned people listed above.
Our part-time, Hoosier, assistant superintendent was replaced by Dawn Conner, who has already started to work her “magic” to improve the system.
The strides made in the last year show that Dowagiac schools need everyone to stay involved in our children’s education; essential to this is a school board receptive to working with the whole community.
Ruth Ausra and Larry Schmidt will continue to move the school board in that positive direction where everyone who cares about our kids is welcomed to meetings and treated by the board with respect.
Ausra and Schmidt are committed to serving our kids and our community with transparency, openness and honesty. Please help our kids and our system by voting for them on Nov. 6.

Liz Rapalee Lyons

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