Haynes Elementary School continues to thrive and serve the needs of students, parents, teachers and the community, according to school officials who presented the Sudbury Public Schools Committee with "A State of the School" address at its Wednesday night meeting, which was held in the auditorium at Haynes.
"We enjoy the opportunity to hold these meetings at the different schools, at least once a year," said Committee Chair Rich Robison about the change in venue from the usual Senior Center location.
Jill Marsh of the Haynes Parent-Teacher Organization said while scores indicating that Haynes students consistently test at proficient and advanced levels in key subjects are impressive, they are not the most important thing.
"When we see smiles, when we see engaged students, that becomes a source of pride and keeps us going," Marsh said. "We want it to be a great experience for everyone, including students, teachers, staff and parents."
The State of the School address was delivered by Haynes Principal Kim Swain, Assistant Principal Laura Dayal and Lead Teacher Michelle Marino. Swain said that the school recently committed to a "Growth" mindset which helps students focus on positive self-talk and develop a positive self-image.
"We can't grow time. You can only grow how you use time," Swain said during a discussion of how teachers use both instructional and non-instructional time. She said a recent survey found that 100 percent of teachers agree the Haynes faculty is committed to helping every student learn.
Student independence and personal investment in learning has always been part of the Haynes atmosphere, according to Swain.
"It feels like a family," said Jill Marsh about the Haynes community.
The meeting's Open Forum session included some comments from resident Robert Stein, a frequent critic of Sudbury's government. He requested that the minutes from a Sept. 5 school committee meeting be edited to include a comment that he made during that meeting that was not recorded into the official record.
"What I had said (regarding a recently-approved teacher contract) was that the raises represent the largest dollar-value pay raise in the history of Sudbury, coincidentally during the worst financial times," said Stein, who began by saying he was not speaking as a member of the town's Financial Committee.
He also expressed concern about the workloads being handled by teachers who work in special education at Curtis Middle School.
"I'm hearing reports that teachers are overworked, and not able to eat their lunch, and are responsible for more kids that they can cover," Stein said, noting that he's concerned that a recent decision from a special education teacher at Curtis Middle School to take a position in Hudson on short notice was prompted by a workload that could not handled by one individual.
"I know you can't comment on that," Stein said, in a reference to previous assertions from the School Committee members that they are not allowed to comment on personnel matters per state law.
Members listened quietly to Stein's comments about the special education teacher who left her position, but offered no remarks on the subject. The meeting did not include any public discussion of the job status of Peter Fardig, an adminstrator at Curtis who is currently on paid leave amid an investigation into allegations of an unknown nature.