Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Back To 4th Grade

My first two visits to the Seminole County Student Museum were field trips when my two sons were each in the 4th grade. This beautiful brick building sits in the heart of Sanford, FL and was originally built as Sanford High School in 1902. The extravagant price tag then was between $5000 and $7000.

The entire structure is solid brick, and all the plumbing and lighting was added in later years. Two additional wings added in 1916 face as East and West porticos. The building continued to be used after a new high school was built. From 1911-1984 the school was known and used as the Sanford Grammer School. Since then, the site has been used by the Seminole County Public School System for all 4th graders during their state history curriculum.

The entire site is run by volunteers who maintain and tend to the colonial garden, while providing tours to eager 9 and 10 year olds. The 5 rooms used in the tour include the Geography Room, Grandma's Attic, Pioneer Room, Native American, and Turn of the Century Classroom.

It is an overwhelmingly beautiful building. The items and stories that are shared within those brick walls are a step through a time portal. Back to when Florida was familiar, with the gators and the heat. But different with a glimpse into the simple and seemingly safer days of old.

The kids find it surprisingly did I.

6th in the State?!

I have attended school meetings that range from IEP, to PTA, to 'meeting between frustrated teacher and exasperated parents'. This was my first SAC meeting. It was held at my son's high school, and in attendance were parents, teacher, faculty, and the elected county school board supervisor. To my surprise and delight, they had a buffet.

Supervisor Dr. Bill Vogel opened the meeting and explained that this meeting was scheduled for the entire cluster of schools which includes the 'feeder' elementary and middle schools. Dr. Vogel's presentation to over 100 in attendance began with the expected praises of the Seminole County school system.

- Lyman High School within the top 5% of High Schools nationwide for performance.
- Lyman has 10 sports teams in 8 sports score the highest GPA statewide.
- And drum roll please....Lyman has the 6th largest band in the state.

Following Dr. Vogel's presentation, Walt Griffen from the school board gave a presentation that outlined the coming change to state grading of our public schools. Great emphasis was placed on how the changes would, of course, affect the percentages and therefore the perceived effectiveness of the schools.

Throughout the meeting questions were encouraged and taken with great attention. All questions, whether from parents or teachers, were treated with respect and answered completely.

Dr. Vogel closed the meeting with the final presentation. As can be expected in this economic climate, it came down to dollars and sense. He expressed concerns about several stimulus packages that will expire in the coming school year. The school board is hopeful that the penny sales tax will be continued by the supportive voters of Seminole County.

As a voter in Seminole County, I am all in favor of pitching in a penny tax to continue the successful track our schools are on. What I cannot do, is again chaperone bus #4. It takes 8 buses to transport Lyman's band to Friday night games, and bus #4 is the one that transports the drum line. 6th largest band in the state? Outstanding. But that is too many drummers on one bus for this Seminole County mom.