These are letters sent to the Cabarrus County School Board and to the Independent Tribune in support of keeping Beverly Hills Elementary School open.

The school board could make a decision at its meeting Thursday, June 28.

Beverly Hills made lifelong impacts

Editor,

I remember I was writing my spelling words in perfect cursive penmanship when our principal, Mr. Joe Fries, walked in, whispered something in the ear of our fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Jane Cress, then left our classroom.

 “Class, I have some very sad news. Our President John Kennedy has been assassinated. We’ll be dismissing school and will advise your parents of our school’s schedule.”

I walked up Palaside Drive as several classmates whizzed by on Schwinn bikes. Church Street was quiet and free of cars. The crossing guard was absent as I made my way across the road and into our Wil Mar Park neighborhood.

Friday November 22, 1963 has remained with me these fifty-five years as if it happened this morning.

Recently on Facebook many recalled that day. The comments became more focused around the impact that Beverly Hills School had on our lives than on President Kennedy. Those who attended Beverly Hills (1960-1970) are spread all over the world.  Many are beginning to retire from careers in law, medicine, journalism, politics, art, education, research and technology.

Some have returned to Beverly Hills, Wil Mar and Hyde Park to “clean out” the homes of our deceased parents or place them for sale and visit Beverly Hills Elementary.               

The impact of Beverly Hills School on our lives cannot be over-emphasized. I attended Vine Street Elementary School in Hollywood, California and Coronado Beach Elementary in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, but it was Beverly Hills School that instilled a dream of becoming an educator and traveling the world.

I realize the Cabarrus County School board cannot make a decision based upon the fond memories of its former students, but the board can avail themselves to the current literature on the impact of small schools. In particular, the work of Harvard’s Dr. Jordan Hylden’s “The Case for Small Schools.”

While politicians in North Dakota were under pressure to dissolve and consolidate, they used the Institute of Government Policy at Harvard as a guideline to keep their school’s small.

“The growing body of evidence points to the SIZE of the school as a significant determining factor in academic achievement,” writes Dr. Hylden.

Will the school board postpone the vote long enough to conduct proper academic research?  Has the school board been advised by an outside fiduciary on how financial data may be manipulated? Have school board members ridden a Kannapolis City School’s bus down Dakota Street at the time Royal Oaks School will be dismissed?  Have school board members sat on the corner of Dakota and Highway 29 on a Friday afternoon to view traffic leaving ‘backed up’ Interstate 85? Have school board read the academic literature on small schools experiencing less violence?

I urge school board members to take their time and a Socratic approach to this decision. I hope they vote in favor of Beverly Hills.

Alisha Sides

Concord

Data does not support closing Beverly Hills

To the Cabarrus County Board of Education,

I know you will be reading and hearing this a lot this week, but please vote NO for the closure of BHES.  The data does NOT support the closure (BHES is the ONLY elementary school projected to show growth through 2028), the public does NOT support the closure of its established historic community centered schools, and the welfare of the children you are tasked to serve is NOT a priority in the current plan.

There should be room for smaller “city” schools.  And if the city had not deferred maintenance over many years, we probably would not be where we are.  It’s time for the city to step up and do the RIGHT thing and the RESPONSIBLE thing and start to fix the poor decisions of the past.  Poor decisions over poor decisions just digs the hole deeper.  No one is asking for shiny and new.  Just safe!  Keep our historic school open.

Thank you,

Suzanne Smith

Beverly Hills neighborhood resident

 

Please vote no to closure

Dear Board Members,

I am asking you to vote against the closure of Beverly Hills Elementary School.  The data does NOT support the closure (BHES is the ONLY elementary school projected to show growth through 2028), the public does NOT support the closure of its established historic community centered schools, and the welfare of the children you are tasked to serve is NOT a priority in the current plan.

Thank you,

Camille Luther Pittman

Please vote no to closing Beverly Hills

Dear Board Members,

I am asking you to vote against the closure of Beverly Hills Elementary School.  The data does NOT support the closure (BHES is the ONLY elementary school projected to show growth through 2028), the public does NOT support the closure of its established historic community centered schools, and the welfare of the children you are tasked to serve is NOT a priority in the current plan.

Thank you,

Dan Liebel

Vote no against closing Beverly Hills

Dear Board Members,

I am asking you to vote against the closure of Beverly Hills Elementary School.  The data does NOT support the closure (BHES is the ONLY elementary school projected to show growth through 2028), the public does NOT support the closure of its established historic community centered schools, and the welfare of the children you are tasked to serve is NOT a priority in the current plan.

Thank you,

Heather Nimer

Beverly Hill an integral part of community

Beverly Hills Elementary needs to remain an integral part of this community.  The school provides many parents with the ability to reach out to teachers creating an environment of trust and communication.

And, we all acknowledge the imperative of personal communication for the good of the community.

Don't let the kids down.

Pauline Powell-Corner

The public does not support closure

Dear Board Members,

I am asking you to vote against the closure of Beverly Hills Elementary School.  The data does NOT support the closure (BHES is the ONLY elementary school projected to show growth through 2028), the public does NOT support the closure of its established historic community centered schools, and the welfare of the children you are tasked to serve is NOT a priority in the current plan.

Thank you,

Arlyn Miller

Beverly Hills zone predicted to grow

Dear Board Members,

I am asking you to vote against closing Beverly Hills Elementary School. The data does NOT support the closure (BHES is the ONLY elementary zone projected by your consultants to grow through 2025), the public does NOT support permanent closure of its smaller, established community-centered schools, and the welfare of the children you are tasked to serve is NOT a priority in the current plan.

Thank you,

Carmela Herrick

BHES was and is the best fit our children

To whom it may concern:

I am reaching out to you to offer you a fresh perspective on the closure of Beverly Hills Elementary School. While there are many reasons that the school should remain open I wanted to share with you my families personal experience with Beverly Hills Elementary School and the effect that closing this personable neighborhood school will have on it's families.

To start off I attended Beverly Hills as a child, as did my three brothers while Mr. Padgett was principal. My husband is active duty Air Force and in spring of 2016 we found out he would be going on an unaccompanied tour to South Korea for a year. At that point I had to decide if I wanted to stay at our current base in Eastern NC or move home to Concord, I of course chose to move to Concord. I knew that during the year my oldest son would start Kindergarten, and that my husband would return home in the spring of his Kindergarten year, and we would be expected to be at a new assignment not long after.

Upon moving to Concord I researched all of the schooling options that Concord has to offer for Kindergarten. I looked into private schools, public schools, and even online home schooling. My husband and I decided that without a doubt Beverly Hills would be the best fit for our son. We knew that I would be working close by, that our family would be in the neighborhood, and that we would be part of an incredible community while he was  away. The problem was finding a rental house in the Beverly Hills Community, not only is it highly sought after but it is also an established neighborhood, one that is full of families that also love the Beverly Hills neighborhood.

I settled for a rental home (the only one!) that was far below the standards that the military has for homes so that I could be right around the corner from BHES. When I went to enroll my son for Kindergarten there were teachers that remembered me, that knew my brothers, that knew my parents. It felt so good to be back in the comfort of our home community.

My son started Kindergarten and he excelled. He loved Beverly Hills, he loved his school, the work, his teacher, all of it. A year that was extremely hard for him to get through was made easier by the love that this school has for their students. The principle and assistant principle not only knew him but knew me and knew our situation, the teachers took the time to work with him through his hard days and celebrate his good days. They embraced our family and made us part of their own.

Leaving Beverly Hills in March of 2018 to move to Italy was extremely hard. When my son started school at the American military school in Italy we realized just how special Beverly Hill Elementary School was. He went from excelling to struggling, he went from loving his school to hating going to school, he struggled so much going from a school of 400 to a school of well over 1000. The communication to parents was subpar, I have no clue who his principle was- so they certainly do not know my child, and he just got lost in this huge overwhelming school.

I ask you to please think about the huge change these children are going to experience if you take away this neighborhood school. This is proof that large schools do not benefit a child. Beverly Hills was able to give my child the community, the bond, the love and support that he needed while he went through the hardest year of his life. Beverly Hills is something so special and unique, there is no greatest injustice you could do to this neighborhood or these kids then if you shut down Beverly Hills.

Thank you,

Ashley Odom

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