Phyllis Bush, representing NEIFPE, visited Nebraska Elementary School. Here is the note she wrote to the Nebraska school principal, Jayson Balsley, after her visit.
Dear Mr. Balsley,
Thank you so much for hosting my visit to Nebraska School today. While I was prepared to see a typical "dog and pony show" that most schools show visitors, I was pleased to see the real operations of your school. While there are clear and high expectations throughout the building, the care and concern that the staff and students show one another is apparent.
I really enjoyed spending the day at Nebraska school. Thank you so much for being so warm and welcoming, and more importantly, thank you so much for all that you and your staff are doing for children. You are principal and an educator of whom FWCS can be justly proud. You and the Nebraska staff rock.
NEIFPE member Anne Duff, representing Fort Wayne Community Schools Board of School Trustees, visited Ward Education center and the Allen County Juvenile Center. She blogged about her experience in Principal For a Day.
I went to Allen County Juvenile Center or “ACJC.” At the end of the day, Mr. Pruitt sent me an email and wrote, “I hope the tour of ACJC was what you were expecting.” Well, I guess it wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting to see young people wearing orange prison uniforms in classrooms. I wasn’t expecting to see a 9 year old who was waiting for a decision to be made about his placement or release after entering ACJC earlier that day. I was not expecting to see the garage door where the police cars enter with the arrested young person. I did not expect this to be the last place these children will see “the light of day” once they are booked until and the time they are released. I did not expect to see a 6’x8’ jail cell made for two inmates, bunk beds attached to the wall with a pillow/mattress foam combo.
So, what was I expecting? I don’t know. I guess I was expecting it to be less harsh. I guess I wanted to believe we don’t need a “real” prison for our young people. I wasn’t expecting a “scared straight” experience. But there are positives from my visit. The teachers said they loved their jobs. ACJC is a state of the art facility. In addition to continuing one’s education, the young people are given other opportunities after “school” - chess club, Youth for Christ, addictions counseling, plus other wrap around services to make this program something that will give our young adults the skills to be better citizens once they are back home. These children are fortunate to be surrounded by caring adults. Hopefully they will be touched by one of them who will make a difference in their lives. That is what I expect.