EDITOR’S DESK: Midland returning to ‘normal’

       After all the angst over the Midland Elementary situation - its International Baccalaureate (IB) originating principal having been removed and the secrecy about the reasons and the added twist of her being the superintendent's wife - it was refreshing to sit in on a parents' meeting at the school this week. New Interim Principal Robyn Colbert may or may not be the ideal long-term choice for the school; time alone will tell that tale. But her unadorned enthusiasm now is good to see. That will probably help sway many parents to keep their children at the school, or perhaps for others to use the “choice” option to put them there.
       There was a sense in the past few weeks of a school at the brink. Enrollment had fallen in the past year, and when District 11 suddenly yanked Barbara Bishop a week before school ended with no IB principal groomed to take her place, Midland's niche as the district's one and only IB elementary magnet school seemed ready to come crashing down. Remember, it was to save the Westside's small schools that the magnets came about over here in the first place. Others include Buena Vista (Montessori), Bristol (arts), Whittier (gifted) and Washington (Core Knowledge). In any case, the belief then (and now) of Westside school supporters was that by offering specialized instruction our little schools could attract (like magnets) students from outside their attendance areas, thus increasing enrollment and evading the district's ever-ready school-closure ax.
       Quite frankly, it's hard to imagine the Midland area without an elementary of its own. Imagine those youngsters having to be bused daily to one of the schools north of Highway 24. Ouch. So it was good to see things looking "normal" again at Midland this week - a principal in place, eager to meet parents and kids and to guide that ever-elusive goal of learning. Good luck, Robyn Colbert, but it looks as if you're already making your own.

- K.J.