Margaret Hopper  

Candidate for Silver District 4 School Board Member

As a teacher, substitute, tutor, and interested parent and grandparent, I have watched the educational scene and interacted with it. I have taught elementary and junior high classes in many states and still carry a life-time teaching certificate from the state of Missouri. The last classes I taught in New Mexico were as K-1-2 instructor at Agape and 1-2 instructor half-days for a few months at Christian Academy.

Bright little kids can learn more than you think. I have high standards, but I give them choices. Most learn more that way. I try to show them what they need to develop for their own growth. As long as they are trying and learning, I give them all the freedom they can handle. That’s not easy; many children aren’t used to making choices. But it takes that to make them creative, capable, and able to lead. Good decision-makers learn by doing. When they make mistakes, teachers are there to show them how to grow from them.

I am running for the Silver District 4 school board position being vacated by Pete Holguin. I have written news reports on Silver and Cobre schools and have learned what is currently happening in Grant County. My own grandchildren in Virginia and Missouri are honor students with interests in art, music, sports, math and science. I’d like to see more scholarship and honors for our local students. Sports are great, but it takes more than that to make a living and succeed in life.

I have hopes for the vocational school that local administrators are considering. Federal mandates and guidelines are intended to help, but students are individuals and “one size does not fit all.” The Vo Tech could help here. Students need choices to stay interested and invest in their own educations, and patient, respectful parental support is vital to changing New Mexico students into successes, not dropouts. Not confrontation, but problem-solving together brings about good relations and citizenship. Fairness for all.

My experience includes assignments in Kansas, Missouri, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Germany, the Philippines, Texas and New Mexico. I have taught K through 8, GED and art in a variety of classroom situations, once with 37 second graders and special work for 9 gifted students on my only break period. I know teaching can be hard; I respect the work teachers do. I have also taught beginning music students, worked with 4-H and scouts, supported community projects and raised community standards.

A final thought: Schools should remain flexible enough to allow students to find a place of their own design; they need choice and freedom to do that. Good students can raise school standards on their own. If they are a part of the process, they may very well do it.

We have what we really need right here to improve our schools. Let’s do it together.

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Editor's Note

The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.

The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.

The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.

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