Every day as I walk between the music and science buildings I hear joyous laughter sprouting from the fields of Reid Elementary. I can’t help but smile as the children run around, tirelessly enchanted by the newest schoolyard game. My heart always swells; my laughing voice used to fill that air.
Yes, I’m a Cheney girl. I’ve been in this city since I was four years old. Some of my earliest memories are literally on this campus, on that playground that I still pass by daily.
I remember waiting in line to challenge the “A” space in foursquare, holding snow-sculpture building competitions whenever an inch of powder graced the grounds and playing kickball with determination to try to hold my own against the boys.
When I walk on that brick path, those distant memories flood back. I remember absolutely loving school when I went to Reid. Each day as I opened its doors, new discoveries awaited my return.
Everyone’s been talking about shutting down Reid for years. They even talked about it when I went there. I cried pretty hard when I heard some parents talking about it, until my mother reassured me that it wouldn’t happen any time soon.
And it didn’t happen soon, although the discussion was always ongoing. I thought they would never actually go through with it, but it’s finally happening.
The administrators at Eastern are shutting down the school because Cheney School District cannot afford to take over the funding from the university.
Reid teaches its students to be strong, creative and independent thinkers, and it is exactly those thinkers who tried to save it. But Reid will close its doors forever at the close of this school year. This is a travesty.
Reid is an historic part of this campus. According to the Reid Web site, the school has been in partnership with the college for more than 100 years, though Eastern only recognizes 51 of these years. They may have been financially supporting Reid for only 51 years, but Reid has been supporting Eastern for so much longer. Reid obviously must have been important to the college for it to have remained open for more than a century. Has Eastern forgotten Reid’s importance?
Eastern is citing the remodel of Patterson as its top priority at present, one of the main factors preventing Reid’s survival. According to earlier reports this quarter by The Easterner, each regional university is only permitted one major project per budget period, and Patterson’s remodel would suffer because Reid needs at least $150,000 to continue operation.
Personally, Reid has done more for me than a remodel of Patterson will ever do, especially since the remodel probably won’t be finished by the time I graduate (if the recent remodel of Hargreaves is any indication).
With the current budget crisis, I don’t see the point in spending tens of millions of dollars to update Patterson when Reid only needs $150,000 annually. Why can’t we make do with Patterson until the current economic depression (because let’s face it, using the term recession is putting it lightly) comes to pass?
I understand that Patterson Hall is very beneficial to the campus. But Reid is an invaluable part of the education program.
Being one of the only remaining laboratory schools in the country, Eastern students can observe elementary teachers without affecting the classroom environment. Several Eastern students use Reid as a way to be near to their children while they are attending school. My mother did.
Going to school and working full time was tough. Since I was only at Reid, my mom was able to swing by and visit me on any rare breaks she had. Reid also provided an opportunity for her to act on the Parent Teacher Organization, doing the books as an internship for her accounting degree. Reid doesn’t just benefit Eastern students. It is an integral part of the Cheney Public School System.
Reid is the only “open-enrollment” elementary school in the district. Its 140 students have the unique opportunity to experience small class sizes and develop lasting relationships with the same group of peers for six years. Aren’t the benefits of smaller class sizes something Eastern boasts on its own Web site? I thought we were supposed to learn to avoid contradictions in college.
Reid also has an open door policy for any parent visitors. It truly operates as a family, nurturing its students on the path to academic, social and personal growth. I want my children to experience a similar environment when they go to school. Thanks to a “joint decision” by the university and the school district, they won’t be getting that experience in Cheney.
The laboratory environment benefits the children as well. When I was in kindergarten, some Eastern students were experimenting with different methods of teaching children to read. As a result, I was reading “chapter books” on my own before my sixth birthday.
Now I am an English major at Eastern. Reid is no longer a benefit to students? I see a benefit right there. I know I’m not the only Reid alum who travels to Patterson every day.
We may need to be reminded of its benefits, but it is undeniable that Reid isn’t just a drain on the Eastern budget. I don’t know the answer to this crisis, but I do know that my heart will break a little this summer when those doors of discovery that I so lovingly opened at the launch of my academic career are locked forever.