Sunday, July 15 , 2018, 6:55 pm | Fair 76º


From Our Inbox: Letters to the Editor for Week Ending March 9, 2018

Regarding the March 6 story, “Goleta Plans Massive Sidewalk Transformation in Old Town Neighborhood,” I’m not opposed to sidewalks, but in the five years I worked in Old Town, pedestrian traffic out of that neighborhood onto Hollister Avenue was the densest of any place else on Santa Barbara County’s South Coast except perhaps Milpas Street.

So, if the reason for this investment is pedestrian safety, it would be helpful if some statistics were offered, like how many pedestrians or bicyclists were involved in traffic accidents over the past five years, for example. Especially because it’s mentioned that many trees will be sacrificed for this project, trees that give the neighborhood some of its charm.

Carmen Lodise
Barra de Navidad, Mexico

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It is easily noticed that we are developing a pattern after school violence tragedies of coming together as a people, for a day or two, or even for only a few hours, before the politicians begin using the tragedy as a motivator to further their political agenda. (Then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s astute but callous comment, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”)

Knee-jerk political rants of banning guns or putting armed guards in every school will never solve this problem for 320 million Americans. That’s why this one teacher’s insightful technique with fifth-grade children at the very beginning of this problem (social isolation, bullying) is so riveting and ingenious: “One Teacher’s Brilliant Strategy to Stop Future School Shootings — and It’s Not About Guns.”

The Reader’s Digest article by Glennon Doyle Melton points to the “Do-good-work-every-day” attention to detail for which excellent teachers are known. At the end of every week, this fifth-grade teacher asks students who they would like to sit next to the following week. With this simple device, this “plugged in” teacher can tell who might be isolated or bullied, what problems are developing and defuse hurtful situations.

Social relationships are where the students live, where education takes place and which can not only cause the problem but can also point to the solution. The significance of when this excellent teacher began this activity flashes like a giant neon sign: “Every week since Columbine.” (April 20, 1999).

The formula for great education and incredible schools is not rocket science: small schools, small class size, significant parent involvement, student choices, very limited bureaucracy, teachers who love teaching and are deeply involved in the process of mentoring students.

These parents, teachers, students and schools are all over Santa Barbara.

At my local school, where I teach Human Biology and Health, we have a number of great “devices” to plug the student into our educational process:

» We contract with the student from Day One (with the headmaster) about their promised education efforts.

» The “broken windows” concept is heavily used; even one piece of graffiti triggers an all-school meeting (which happened only once about 16 years ago).

» Our Outdoor Program puts students and classroom teachers on week-long, shared adversity/team-building journeys (biking, hiking, kayaking, mountaineering, etc.) that carry back to respectful and involved classroom relationships.

Every student and teacher makes it their business to take care of themselves, take care of each other and take care of our school (our three rules), every single day.

“You give us your children and we treat them as if they were our own” is our unwritten contract between teacher and parent. It is a priceless relationship.

It’s not rocket science but it’s also not easy. Teachers, parents and students can work to make every school into a place that is entwined into this social learning solution: developing relationships and community as the primary part of the daily educational process. All day ... every day.

Victor Dominocielo
Santa Barbara

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I find the letters from people thanking Noozhawk for removing story comments disingenuous at best. The comments are not there blaring in your face, you have to click on them. So, I know this should go without saying, don’t click on them.

Comments help fill gaps in stories. For example, Noozhawk posts a story about an accident, northbound Highway 101 at Milpas Street with little to no other details. Well, a reader may have been passing through, witnessed the accident and could give further details.

I totally agree with others and I don’t spend as much time on Noozhawk as I did in the past.

Forrest Libby

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