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Say Yes to Tower View

If the upcoming referendum on funding schools in Red Wing is defeated, Tower View Alternative School is likely to close, due to the need to save money. And if Tower View ceases to exist, the Red Wing School District will have to reinvent it. The District will need to develop new ways to help kids who are at risk of dropping out to succeed and graduate.

School districts are measured by the Minnesota Department of Education on many aspects of educational performance, including graduation rates. Schools with substandard graduation rates are identified as problem schools. Tower Views unique program has helped the District achieve a significantly higher graduation rate across its more than 25-year history.

One of the oldest and most successful alternative high school programs in the state, Tower View has graduated 16% of the past five Red Wing graduating classes-thats 1 student out of every 6 who otherwise might drop out or leave the District.

The sad thing is this: its reinvention would in all likelihood not again be located on the most beautiful and affordable campus (thanks to the low rent charged by the Anderson Center) in the state of Minnesota, a campus that offers an extraordinary supportive and nurturing environment to approximately 100 children per year. These are children who need such support to achieve the academic success that they are unable to find in other high school settings.

After having taught at Tower View for the past 7 years before retirement, my lasting memory is this: I have never worked in a school in which so many parents, when they come to parents-teacher conferences, actually weep in gratitude for the education their children are receiving. In addition, Tower View boasts some of the most highly favorable student responses to school climate in the Red Wing School District.

For these reasons and more, the elimination of the Tower View program would prove a great loss and sadness for the Red Wing community.

This is a paid endorsement letter to the editor.