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Marty Hiller - Parent Testimonial

While it's true that New Roots was not originally chartered as a second chance school, they have no more control over who enrolls there than any other public school. (They have far less control than a school like LACS, whose demographics are now indistinguishable from IHS despite their original charter as an alternative for struggling students.) New Roots is -- by necessity, not by choice -- serving two very different groups of students: high performers who are attracted by their innovative sustainability curriculum, and struggling students who are looking for a second chance.

The presence of this second group is a clear indication that other area schools are failing to meet their needs. I'll use my daughter's own words to point out one obvious way in which New Roots may be attracting these students: "The kids are so much nicer there," and, "New Roots actually *enforces* their no-bullying policy." The contrast with Boynton was so stark that after just one day of shadowing at New Roots, my daughter refused to even consider going anywhere else. If this difference is so compelling to a unique & quirky honors student, it must be even more so for someone who's struggling to get through school at all.

We have many parents in our community who are deeply concerned about the challenge of transitioning to a more just and sustainable society. As one of those parents, I feel an urgent need to provide my child with an educational foundation for understanding and addressing that challenge. Our school district's mission is to meet our children's educational needs, but IHS is in no way prepared to provide such a foundation. And after attending the dismal presentation that IHS put together for its incoming families -- where most of the slides were illegible, even though they do this every year -- I couldn't see any justification for pushing my daughter in that direction.

Sustainability education is the service New Roots was chartered to provide. And providing a second chance for struggling students has been forced on them by the failure of other area schools to provide that chance. Our district should be working to improve the school's success, not throwing its students under a bus because the task is such a challenge.

- Marty Hiller, Parent of New Roots 9th Grade Student