Letter to the Editor - The Lakeville Journal - 5-17-18

Reflections post-referendum

First, many thanks to all of the members of the community who came forward to vote on May 8.  Referendums related to school budgets are generally not exciting, and those who made the trek out to vote should be applauded.

The issues related to the grading policy implementation that were co-joined with the budget referendum have not completely gone away, and would not have gone away had the referendum been defeated either. It should be clear, though, to anyone who attended the May 7 meeting of the Region One Board of Education that the concerns voiced by parents, students and teachers have been heard by the board, the Central Office and the Building Administration. Dr. Jose Martinez, principal at Housatonic Valley Regional High School, and Mr. Ian Strever, current assistant principal and future principal, have a timeline for completing the details for an improvement plan — a joint effort of the Leadership Team comprised of faculty and the Building Administration, with any support as needed offered by the Central Office. Collaboration among many groups has brought about the plan timeline, and the board is grateful.

Changes are never linear. It sometimes takes many refinements to set a new initiative down a path to success. That’s why data isn’t always immediately available, as data needs to be realigned to create apples to apples comparisons. Data is a primary focus of the board moving forward, as the need to assess the viability of initiatives and their impact on student achievement is crucial.

On May 18, the parents and students will have the written plan. Following the plan release, the School/Community Partnership meeting scheduled for May 29 should be able to address any questions or concerns that still exist. In the interim between the plan’s release and the Partnership meeting, everyone is encouraged to direct any immediate thoughts to Dr. Martinez or Mr. Strever.

There are very talented people at all levels in our local District and Regional Education system — this is what makes Board of Education service so gratifying. Working together without rancor and in open forums will always achieve great things. Much can be achieved through an exchange of ideas based on truth rather than on misstatements or innuendo.

Education is an ongoing collaboration, attempting to balance the needs of today with the perceived needs of the future, and since it deals directly with those we love the most, our children, there will always be passionate conversations. Civil discourse should be the rule, though, not the exception, as the audience is broad.  

Bob Whelan

Region One Representative