, Newburyport, MA


April 25, 2012

Vote yes for optimal learning environment

To the editor:

On June 5, I will be voting yes to fund Newburyport's community and school building projects; it's clear that this investment will be correlated with positive learning outcomes. We know from industrial studies that environment can affect mood, focus and behavior. Similarly, no child can perform their best in a hot, overcrowded, poorly-lit classroom; no teacher can be expected to facilitate the academic success of students in this same classroom. Further, the failure to maintain optimum learning environments can undermine other efforts to maximize education benefits.

Recognizing that many and various factors will play into the educational success of my children, I am compelled to recall, from my own experience, that learning outcomes are affected by environmental attributes. Having attended a newly constructed elementary and middle school, I can attest to the positive impact that the enhanced physical characteristics introduced. Aside from conspicuous physical modifications, students and teachers alike saw environmental health improvements, psychological enhancements and, most importantly, an increase in quality instructional time.

Current school building conditions in Newburyport exist because of chronic under-investment in these public buildings. Providing the ideal academic-built environment for Newburyport students and teachers includes addressing existing structural deficiencies and necessary enhancements to school health and safety environments. By investing now in our public school buildings, we are sending our children the message that their education is a priority. I encourage you to vote yes on June 5 to give Newburyport children the best possible opportunity for academic achievement.

Ramy Yim


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