At times we have to listen and look around the corner to find those individuals who stay silent and make huge steps to improve the life of our youth with self esteem, self worth, respect for themselves and others through educational sensitivity.
We have such a heroine who has come from out of the shadows to protect, serve and educate our youth on the most sensitive subjects, we as parents find hard to discuss. Her name is Nicole Torres SCR teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. school who in the past has taught a nine-week class called Family Life.
The MUSD board members received numerous letters on Feb. 25 from her colleagues, families from MLK and the Club de Paders about her sensitivity and compassion on subjects ranging from health concepts, eating disorders, media influence, healthy and unhealthy relationships, mental health, process of addictions, gang violence, puberty, teen pregnancy, abstinence and much more.
She came to the board meeting with vigor and drive to bring back the Family Life classes that had been so successful three years prior. This year this class was not offered and a correlation of facts has been reported: Peer-mediation referrals have risen to 43 occurrences and the conflict resolution program usage has risen to 61, totaling 104 instances so far in the 2013-2014 school year, with three months to go. Last year they had peer mediation at 23 and conflict resolutions at 38 totaling 61 for the 2012-2013 school year. We will have an increase of over 100-plus percent before the school year is out.
The community should have noteworthy admiration for the effort put forth from the team of MLK’s teachers, support staff, parents and support groups who are living, seeing and experiencing what is happening in their local school. Outspoken leaders such as Torres, who have pulled everyone together to help the youth here in Madera, follow a path of positive influences with school safety and increasing awareness to personal growth without negative conflict as a priority.
Thank you to all at MLK for having the foresight to know what works, and who fight to put this great curriculum back in the classroom with action. You have this MUSD trustee’s full support with the same vigor and drive you have shown. I have very high hopes that Family Life will be offered to all eight grades in the district next year.
Lynn Cogdill, MUSD trustee, Madera