1. Housatonic’s performance on the SATs last year were above the state average (537 English Language Arts / 503 Math….. state averages were 520 and 502, respectively). HVRHS performed less well than Litchfield (533/530), Northwestern (561/541), Shepaug (553/542) and WAMOGO (536/508) but better than Gilbert (499/499) Thomaston (502/478) (Cromwell 529/509), and Danbury (I mention this because we contrasted that immense school with our tiny one with a school exchange this year – 490/466). Quite a few high schools did not do SATs last year (New Milford, Terryville), but these are the standardized test the state is using, now that CAPT has ended.

    HVRHS participates less in AP exams now because, during the Harnett-as-principal era the administration decided to do less AP in favor of ECE (Early College Experience) in cooperation with UConn. The Assistant Superintendent does not mention any of this when she cherry-picks data to portray HVRHS as a failing school.

    Housatonic is emphatically not a failing school. There is always room for improvement. Teachers, students, administration and parents can collaborate to make real and meaningful improvement.

  2. Phantomedu paints a fuller picture of the high school than Ms. Vogel would prefer the public see. Why else would she build her well-rehearsed talking points around AP scores, a test taken by a small percentage of Housatonic’s students, as opposed to the SAT, a state-mandated test taken by every junior at the school? It’s worth repeating that HVRHS’s SAT performance, while comfortably in the middle of its reference group, is above state average in math and English (and state goal in the latter). This in the first year the state required the test of all students.

    Instead, let’s keep blathering on about Ds and Fs, ignoring entirely the drastic reductions in both categories over the course of the last three years, a trend that has continued through the end of the most recent marking period. Ms. Vogel is determined to convince the public that the high school is failing, and that the only fix involves the kind of experts Twain famously dismissed. She’s upped the ante, though. Not only do her experts come from far out of town, they’re peddling innovations brought to us by way of a time machine.

    We’re just a few days away from a new schedule being unveiled (for a rubber stamp) to the leadership team, yet teachers and department chairs have not been asked for input, as Ms. Vogel promised the public they would. Nearly every department has seen entire lines slashed from its budget, without notice. Meanwhile, central office administration awards itself with salary increases that should raise the ire of every taxpayer in Region One. All the while, the BOE seems guided not by logic, but by the fallacy of sunk costs.

    The budget must defeated until Ms. Vogel and the Board acknowledge that educational leadership in the 21st century does not involve decisions made in isolation and then forced upon the school community at large.

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