A Message About Public Middle Schools for Our Children

By Pablo Valarezo

As some of you know I’ve been involved with the Middle School Initiative (MSI) and Arkansas Learns‘ efforts to bring an option for quality, nearby middle school education for our children to West Little Rock. I know our Kindergarteners are years away from needing a 6th grade education (and I do have a 2nd grader that will be there sooner), but building a school is also a multi-year effort.

Consider this: the Don Roberts Elementary was initially approved pre-1999 (court ordered the district to build two schools). The millage vote/money came in 1999. The land was purchased in August 2007. In January 2008, the LRSD board said it will be a PreK-5 school and not the intended PreK-8. In 2009, they break ground for construction and Roberts finally opens in August 2010. In other words, it was a decade-long effort.

Because of my involvement, I get asked for updates on a regular basis. Is the LRSD making progress on building a school or at least buying land? What about the Charter school effort? Doesn’t the district know that we need a school out West? There typically isn’t enough time to bring someone up to speed in the few minutes we have to visit.

If you’re interested in staying abreast and – more importantly- contributing to either or both of these efforts, please ‘Like’ the MSI facebook page and ‘Sign up’ for the Arkansas Learns organization. If you have already done both of these, thank you!

My hope is that one day our 6th graders will continue to enjoy a wonderful public education (as they have at Roberts), and they will not be torn apart due to the lack of options our community faces.

Thank You.

Pablo Valarezo (Vienna’s Dad)

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