Let's not lose our minds over school boundaries

I don’t even remember when the conversation happened at my house about my siblings and I leaving one elementary school to now attend a new one.

I spent first grade at Blackburn Elementary in Independence, and, having just left Holy Family Catholic School in kindergarten, wasn’t at all looking forward to attending a third school in three years.


I mean, I had my routine down. My friends. Lunchtime. Mr. Gastineau was a fantastic principal. Recesses were on point.

And then bam. Hey, you’re going to Spring Branch.

Now, looking back, I cannot imagine a better grade school experience than being a Wildcat at Spring Branch. I met lifelong friends, some of whom I still see today. My second- through sixth-grade experience there was exceptional. And while I didn’t get to have the full seven years there, I was thankful, later in life, that boundary changes moved us to this wonderful and diverse school.

Boundary changes in Lee’s Summit are inevitable. They’re going to happen. For the betterment of our district, our buildings and our future, we must look street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood and school building by school building to realign, reorganize and best use our facilities.

That’s just life, folks.

And if no one has told you this, I will: your kids can handle it.

They’re resilient. They’re adaptable. And they take cues from us, the adults, on how to handle these situations.

For a brief moment, I, too, thought my life was ending when I was leaving Blackburn. I mean, seriously… I didn’t get to see Penny on the playground any longer? I am sure I was a brief, hot mess over that.

But second grade started, Mrs. Butler welcomed me to the class and we got rolling.

I realize junior high and high school are challenging in many ways. It wasn’t all that long ago I was there. Changing schools, coaches, mentors, all of that comes with immeasurable degrees of stress.

How do we handle such stress in our lives? The stress of change? When our priests move parishes, how do we cope? When our favorite coach or teacher leaves for another school, who do we lean on for guidance?

As parents, we have that utmost responsibility.

Telling my daughter about my layoff from the newspaper was one of the most painful things I have ever endured. I still hear her little voice telling me, “dada, I thought you would always work at the newspaper.”

So did I, kid. So did I.

We can’t go anywhere near the former Lee’s Summit Journal building now without her mentioning it. And I welcome that. It gives me an opportunity to revisit that topic and talk about the thing that is most constant in any of our lives: change.

Boundaries changes. Leaders change. The changes in our lives are so constant and sometimes come at us with such veracity that we can overreact and even come unglued.

But then we right the ship. We come back to center.

And we tell our kids that change is part of everyday life. It helps us grow, learn, cultivate our culture and expand our minds.

In other words: it’s life.

Also, if no one has said “thank you” to the committee of parents and R-7 citizens that worked on these boundary changes, I will: we appreciate your time and talents on behalf of our district.

Editor's Note: John Beaudoin is a Lee's Summit resident and award winning writer and former newspaper publisher in the Lee's Summit community. Views and opinions expressed in his columns do not necessarily reflect those of Link 2 Lee's Summit, it's employees or any other guest contributors.