Consolidation will not make Mingus a better school
For 25 years Mingus was my home, first as a student teacher then as an English teacher. As is the case for all educators, I have seen more changes to our standards, curriculum, testing requirements, and school policies than I can count – all in the name of “what’s best for kids.” This latest attempt at change with the pro-consolidation movement is just another thing that will have, at best, dubious success, and I will explain why I am urging you to vote NO on consolidation.
Studies of small schools who are absorbed by larger districts suggest that consolidating the Cottonwood-Oak Creek school district with Mingus Union could have unintended negative effects on student achievement as Mingus would lose its local control as an independent district. And what really would change? We already coordinate with Cottonwood-Oak Creek in the following ways: our superintendents align academic calendars, we visit our partner schools for Avid recruitment and 9th grade course registration, we provide a multitude of 8th grade transition activities like CTE Day, our “Marauder for Day,” and Special Education transition. Our coaches have instituted a very popular Adopt-a-School athletic program and we bring 8th graders to Mingus for Pre-Algebra. Additionally, each year we host a Verde Valley regional in-service and there is appropriate sharing of facilities and transportation among the districts.
One of the things that struck me the moment I began my tenure at Mingus was its family atmosphere, a singular benefit of a small school district. Teachers and administrators gathered regularly not only to discuss what was working and what we could do better for our 1,100-plus students, but also to spend time together socially, creating a tight symbiotic relationship that engendered a genuine community that put our students’ best interest at the forefront of everything we did.
In all my years on our tightly-knit campus, I always felt the strongest sense of camaraderie and teamwork in how we approached the very specific goal of educating and helping prepare our young adults for success after high school, be that college, work, or (often) a combination of both. All the love, nurturance and shared vision of my colleagues and myself created and continues to create a culture that showcases students thriving at Mingus and beyond year after year.
How do I know? Most notably, I can point to the extraordinary number of local and state awards we have received in programs across our campus: our Skills USA/CTE courses, performance and fine arts, FFA, athletics, and academics, which is borne out in part by the millions of scholarship dollars awarded each year to our graduates.
You have trusted Mingus with your children since its inception and we have always answered the call to do what’s best for our students.
Another change during this era of unprecedented change will not make Mingus a better place for our Valley’s children. The time has come to once again reiterate your trust in Mingus by voting NO on consolidation November 3rd.
Our children will thank you.
Laura Logsdon retired from Mingus Union High School in May of this year after 24 years in the classroom teaching AP and Honors English, as well as standard 9th through 12th grade English. She lives in Old Town Cottonwood with her husband and their two dogs, and will be a poll clerk for the November 3rd election.