Transcript of the testimony of Julie Nicols at the SRC April 26, 2018

Click on the picture above and go to timestamp 28:02 to see Julie’s testimony.

julie nicols pic

My name is Julie Nicols and I’ve been teaching at Strawberry Mansion for the past three years.   Upon hearing the news about the changes coming to Strawberry Mansion High School, I was deeply disturbed.  Contrary to the confusing messaging we received, it is still clear to me that the school as we know it is closing.  It will be reopened or re-purposed as a school that won’t serve all the students that it currently does.  This is a mistake.

I worry about the “complex” not serving all students.  Many of our students come back from different sorts of placements – both mental health and disciplinary.  As students coming back and transitioning back from being away, having a school that they can easily access is essential.  Under this new plan, I am worried that they will be sent to schools outside of their neighborhood, which will make it hard for them to adjust back to their normal.

Additionally, the school district has claimed that they are going to bring in new programs to better serve students.  My question is why can’t these programs be brought in now? Our students have not had access to a full range of opportunities through no fault of their own.  Why haven’t we had a culinary teacher? Why did they cut the building maintenance program that so many of our boys loved? Why do we only get a music teacher for one day a week? We have the resources in the building to provide programs for our students but we haven’t received the support from the outside.  I believe that full access to these and other programs would benefit our students greatly.

Lastly, a ninth grade needs to be enrolled for the 2018-2019 school year.  I understand the arguments, but I can’t believe that the situation or projected enrollment is very different from last year.  The ninth grade is one of the most active groups in our school and they are legitimately trying to change the narrative of high school and the neighborhood. After seeing what they have accomplished this year, I truly believe that they can do it.  Because of this I would like to end with a responses from a passionate 9th grade students who is arguing to keep the school open and as it is.  Hopefully hearing her voice will make you reconsider your decision:

I believe that Strawberry Mansion should stay open because there is more to Mansion then you know. Students are in class and are willing to learn. Every student here at Strawberry Mansion has a connection with a teacher or a staff member. We are changing the narrative.

People wrote a future for us, but we are CHANGING and WRITING our own FUTURE. You may have a future planed for us, but we are not going to let you dictate our future. I am a student here at Strawberry Mansion and I personally love it here. I am willing to do everything in my power to keep Strawberry Mansion open. Not once was OUR VOICES heard. The STUDENTS of Strawberry Mansion. When will WE have a chance to speak.

   Tykeria Perry (9thgrade)

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