The first thing that struck us about Sudbury was the stone walls. Other towns had them, but here it was the rule and not the exception. It signaled a foundation we wanted to build our family on.
We found a home we loved, and did our homework. The schools stood out. It was 2006, and the quality of the schools was what brought our family to Sudbury.
2010 was the last year of all five SPS schools rated “Level 1.” In 2011, Curtis became a Level 2 school based on its MCAS scores. In 2012, Loring joined Curtis at Level 2. Last year Noyes and Nixon joined them.
I would expect the SPS to be laser-focused on this decline, if only to get to the bottom of it. I would certainly expect them to acknowledge the problem, and to take action.
At the School Committee meeting in September, Superintendent Wilson presented these scores with comments emphasizing that our student scores remained “above average.” No note was made of the drop in Math scores for grades 5, 6, and 8, nor of the drop in the Language Arts scores overall. Committee member Scott Nassa took her to task, highlighting drops in statewide rankings that included a fall in the Nixon 3rd grade math score from 105 to 487 among the Commonwealth’s 955 schools. Next year, we’ll have a Nixon third grader.
In February, the School Committee said Sudbury had never been a Level 1 District. In the current election, one sitting candidate asked that we not “over emphasize MCAS.” The other grudgingly acknowledged a problem, only to attribute it to the end of budget over-rides a few years back. Really? So the problem is we’re not spending enough, with residential tax rates near Massachusett’s 90th percentile?
I don’t think our schools are failing us, and I know there are good people at every level of SPS. I feel a growing disconnect between my level of concern over all this, though, and the SPS’ level of focus on it. I’d like to see another parent on that committee, someone who feels as I do that for all that’s going right, something is going wrong, and we need to do something about it.
Christine Hogan is that parent, and that candidate. She’s a leader in Sudbury, and a fiscal grown-up running a family business. She’s been a resident for fourteen years, raising five great kids here with her husband Paul. When Christine’s youngest graduates in the L-S Class of 2027, she’ll have spent 25 consecutive years in the Sudbury schools. She’s a tireless volunteer for our schools, especially in the music programs for both SPS and L-S. If you caught The Little Mermaid Jr. this month, you saw Christine right up front playing piano.
Christine Hogan is who we need on that committee, to make sure the perspective of parents is driving decisions, and the voice of parents is heard. Please join me in supporting her on March 31.