I have had friends ask me where to find good information about the SK School Facilities bond referendum. They are confused by what they are seeing on social media. Why would they ask me? They know I care about education since I am often excitedly talking about some new student interactive, project-based lesson in my class at Providence College, and they know I have worked with the hands-on/minds-on K-8th grade GEMS-Net science curriculum adopted by South Kingstown.

And they guessed correctly; I do care deeply about education and have used the web site below to answer my questions:

 http://www.sksdbuild.org/wp-content/uploads/SK-Building-Projects-Fact-Sheet-2.5.21.pdf and www.SKSDbuild.org

There is excellent information, including videos of presentations that explain both the financial and educational aspects of the plan, with question and answer periods for community leaders and neighbors of the schools. I attended one presentation on Nov. 30, 2020, at which I learned that the original proposal to renovate the current high school was rejected by RIDE due to multiple reservations (including cost)  that did not fit the requirements for state funding. The current application for matching funds, part of which is to move the high school to the Curtis Corner location, has been favorably received by RIDE. But what really struck me as so important at that community forum was the enthusiasm of the teachers about improved instruction that will be possible in new classrooms specifically designed to allow student interactive, project-based lessons. As an educator at the college level for the last 16 years I have had the privilege of teaching in new classrooms recently built at Providence College similar to those proposed for renovations of SK schools. I have experienced how these spaces have allowed a remarkable transformation of my teaching and conversion of my students into enthusiastic, independent learners, who are also learning how to interact in teams. They remember so much more from what they do than from listening to a teacher in the front of a classroom. These classrooms are used for all subjects and are in huge demand among our staff at the college.

I recommend the website I listed above and I urge you to vote yes on May 4.

Barbara Watts


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