The past several days have been bittersweet for me.


Within the past week I?watched as Eci Nompa Woon-spe (ENW), the charter school in Morton, had its run come to an end. I also heard Monday a man I grew up listening to and learning from had passed away.


 


The past several days have been bittersweet for me.

Within the past week I?watched as Eci Nompa Woon-spe (ENW), the charter school in Morton, had its run come to an end. I also heard Monday a man I grew up listening to and learning from had passed away.

This past Thursday afternoon, I?watched as the contents of the charter school, from the books to the building, were sold to the highest bidder. The sale was the result of the dissolution of the school after it was unable to find a sponsor.

From the beginning, I?want to say I?am a strong proponent of charter schools. Three of the Krause children are currently attending the MILROY?Charter School. Over the years, I?have watched charter schools develop into great successes, such as the school in Echo, and I?have watched another end in failure.

Let me be clear, I?don’t consider ENW a failure at all. I?have watched from the beginning as this school replaced a similar charter school known as Dakota Open. I was there when it opened, and I?was there, so far as I?can remember, for every graduation ceremony it held.

I?believed it was making a difference. Granted, mistakes were made, but in the end I?think the kids who attended ENW were better for being there. I?think some students who earned diplomas there would not have graduated in a traditional setting.

The Redwood Area School District served as the sponsor for the charter school from the day it opened, and during that time the message it offered was clear – this was a short-term deal. Another sponsor needed to be found. Unfortunately, that never happened, and the mistakes, along with the lack of a new sponsor, led to the downfall of this education program.

Charter schools, I?truly be-lieve, serve a purpose, as they create a unique educational niche in the system. They often serve students who have experienced failure in other settings. They attempt to delve into uncharted waters in trying new things and utilizing cutting edge concepts. As an example, each of my children have an individualized education plan that establishes goals in math and reading that fit where they are and where we as parents working in concert with their teachers think they should be at year’s end.

Don’t get me wrong. I?think education at any level can be a success, but it takes all kinds of teachers and schools to teach all kinds of kids. While I?know this is the end for ENW, I?am confident a group is already working to take the place of that school to provide what is best for kids.

I?heard earlier this week that Art Berthelsen had passed away. I?grew up at Grace Lutheran Church in Belview where he was the pastor, and spent two years of my life taking confirmation classes from him.

While I?knew him as pastor for most of my life, I?got to know Art on a different level after he retired. He was the kind of guy who had a smile on his face and was quick to offer his latest joke.

I?had a great respect for Pastor Berthelsen, and his example was partially responsible for my decision to attend Bible college. 

I?want to offer my condolences to Rose, Mike, Mark and Beth. 

 Art was one of the good guys.