LCISD - Elementary School

LCISD – Elementary School

Many are the educational fads which have swept school districts across our fair land in the last half-century – New Math, Whole-word reading and other such ilk beloved of the advanced establishments purporting to teach our teachers. Fortunately, when it comes to the Luna City Independent School District, very few of those ill-considered pedagogic fads have come to roost permanently, or at least their roost was not long enough to damage without possibility of repair the intellectual development of those children trusted to the local educational establishment.

And for those parents sufficiently unhappy with the LCISD, there was always the outlet of a grimly old-fashioned Catholic grade school, St. Scholastica’s in Karnesville, where the children wore the traditional school uniforms – including white shirts and school-patterned-plaid neckties for the boys – and the handful of teaching nuns wielded stout rulers with the expertise of Babe Ruth in his prime.

But on the whole, the parents of Luna City and environs are content with the elementary and high schools in Luna City – after all, most of them attended and graduated from them in their day, often having been taught by the same teachers. Indeed, Miss Letty McAllister’s tenure as kindergarten and first-grade teacher began in 1947 and ended – under half-hearted protest from all concerned – in 1990, so it was entirely possible to have had a young student’s grandmother or grandfather face the formidable Miss Letty on the first day of school in the high-ceilinged classroom arrayed with the small-sized desks which had been bought in 1920 … desks which were still equipped with little round holes in the top right corner to accommodate bottles of ink … a classroom in which the faint odor of chalk lingered like an exotic perfume. Miss Letty missed her classroom in her years of official retirement. (The desks were eventually sold in the antique market for an eye-poppingly gratifying sum early in the 2000s, and replaced with high-quality small-sized wooden tables and chairs.)

But retirement did not end Miss Letty’s teaching career; dear me, no.

Among the educational heresies which were dropped from the high school curriculum around the time that the new high school building was constructed were mandatory home economics classes; that is, cooking and sewing. Most parents – and indeed most students – had the vague sense that educational time given over to that was wasted time. Girls – and boys too – who wanted to learn to cook and sew had already acquired those skills from their parents or by other means of instruction by the time they hit high school. And those (admittedly few) students who were passionately interested in haute cuisine and needlework had already gone far, far beyond learning to make meatloaf and construct a drawstring denim gym-bag. Pointless to waste five hours a week for a semester on those projects … but the home economics kitchen classroom with the adjoining room which could be set up as a dining area still remain in active use.

Geronimo “Jerry” Gonzales (a second cousin of Jaimie) while in his tenure as Luna City Superintendent of Schools (which lasted about half as long as Miss Letty’s as a teacher) suggested sometime around the mid-1990s that some kind of life-skills class ought to be instituted in the curriculum for junior or perhaps sophomore-year students. Jerry, as one of the bookish and intellectual Gonzaleses, was singularly unencumbered by conventional pedagogic idiocies: the class was instituted in the following academic year and has been continued ever since.

Jerry’s Gonzales’ mind-blowing stroke of genius with regard to the life-skills class was to have a wide-ranging curriculum of practical skills taught by volunteer experts in the Luna City community, who might do a single classroom hour – or as long as two weeks worth. Jess Abernathy, for instance; teaches financial management. How to set up a household budget, manage a checking account, fill out a simple tax return. Jaimie Gonzales does a down and dirty auto maintenance course; checking oil and fluids, how to safely change a flat tire. Roman Gonzalez, the construction foreman teaches simple household repairs and residential trouble-shooting. This comes in handy especially when graduates strike out on their own following graduation, and find their own apartment in Karnesville, or Beeville, or the big city, San Antonio. Even Doc Wyler contributes; a single hour-long class on how to interview for a job.

But Miss Letty’s emergency First Aid class is a stand-out, and in more ways than one. Oh, yes, Miss Letty covers the usual First Aid classics; broken limbs, snake, spider and animal bites, splints and tourniquets, bandages and all that. Then there is the emergency child-birth portion of Miss Letty’s class, for which she brings in some particularly graphic visual aids. (Film in the early years, of late on a DVD.) Graphic … as in no portion of the delivery process veiled from the delicate sensibilities of the susceptible. That at least one student will either faint or throw up is a constant to be relied upon; Miss Letty incorporates the treatment of those conditions into the lesson plan. Most students depart from Miss Letty’s classes firmly and silently swearing a vow of chastity.

It is a matter of quiet community pride that the incidents of teenage pregnancy in Luna City is refreshingly below the national average – as are also STD infection rates.

 

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