two thousand twenty
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By John Addyman

   NORTH ROSE (APR 12 11) – Three weeks ago, North Rose-Wolcott Middle School Science Teacher Brie Stratton made a delicate but pointed request to the school board.
   She wanted to keep her job.
   Tonight, others – including present and former students – made the request for her.
   Stratton sat in the front row of the meeting room as people spoke about her and what she had meant to them and their enthusiasm for their studies…and their lives.
   While the board debated its final determination on the budget, it was clear some decisions had been made since the last meeting, some changes. Some positions had been added back into the budget.
   Board Member John Boogaard even hinted that perhaps everyone needed to reconsider Stratton’s position being halved, which would necessitate her transfer to the high school. After all, the administration had increased the literacy effort at the elementary school – a staffing shift that hadn’t surfaced before.
   The board then reminded itself that administrators are chosen to make the tough decisions and they had. Stratton listened intently at the end of the discussion to hear if her job was somehow being salvaged.
   It wasn’t.
   And when the board voted, Stratton rose, her cheeks red and her eyes glistening. She was given an immediate hug by one of her basketball players, Emily Youngs.

BEN GERSTNER addressed the school board
   “I have been a colleague of Brie’s since she started in this district seven years ago,” sseventh-grade science teacher Peter Treasure told the board at the start of the meeting. He noted that since Stratton took over the Living Environment Regents class three years ago, it had a 100% passing rate. She is “sorely needed at the middle school level” to keep the science program strong, he told the board.
   “Currently Brie is the only female science teacher in the middle school. It is important that we do no underestimate the impact on our female student population to have a strong female role model in a traditionally male role,” Treasure said.  
   He mentioned Stratton’s role as science ambassador to the Rochester Museum of Science, her coaching, and her general worth to the school population.


   “While this reduction in staff may not be a program cut to some, it is going to be felt as one to many middle school students who will be impacted by her loss and the loss of the opportunities she makes possible. Brie has been a guiding light for our students. Please don’t be responsible for turning the light out.”
   High school student Ben Gerstner – whose mother, Trish, is so ill that Schools Superintendent John Walker asked everyone to keep her in their prayers – rose to support Stratton. He said her eighth-grade class “really prepped us for our high school lessons.” He noted the club Stratton hosted – just for girls who wanted to get involved in the sciences.
   Gerstner said 12 sophomores were in the Finger Lakes Community College Chemistry class, something that Stratton helped set up. It is a course “that really woke us up to maturing as high school students.”
   When he finished speaking, Gerstner left the room.
   Student Noah Barnes said Stratton is a teacher so valuable that cutting her role in the middle school was a “risk.”
   Claudia Wheeler, yet another student, said Stratton is an “outstanding teacher who sets high standards,” is always available after school, “and is an incredibly important part of the middle school…a role model, teacher and coach.”


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  1. Anonymous Said,

    Sad micro American story,
    Sad for our state of our nation, states, counties, villages, and families as children are our future. Our culture just plain does not value education. As other nations push math and science we cut.

    Posted on Wed Apr 13, 04:53:00 PM EDT


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