I thought you would be interested in the complimentary comments that Governor Hassan made about our Pittsfield schools in her state-of-the-state address delivered at the State House in Concord on Thursday, February 6, which are excerpted from her speech below. Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and school.
John J. Freeman, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
… New Hampshire’s public schools are often ranked among the nation’s best in graduation rates, in reading pro-ficiency and in math proficiency. And many of our schools are innovating and working to find better ways to edu-cate our students. Pittsfield Middle High School, for example, has brought businesses, parents and the entire community together to develop a student-centered learning program. Educators are working collaboratively with students to identify what they need to learn and what they are having trouble learning. Then together they build plans, including opportunities outside the classroom, that help each student thrive. Pittsfield students are seeing the results in their test scores, with the number of 11th-graders testing proficient in math nearly doubling since the program began. Pittsfield is seeing improvements because they were willing to look at education differently. And that is what we need to do across our state. We may be doing better than most states, but we have heard from our businesses that we still have work to do to ensure that we have a workforce that can compete in the future. That is why, across New Hampshire, local school districts are pursuing college- and career-readiness standards that include the Common Core, an effort that has the support of educators and businesses, of Republicans and Democrats. States came together to develop these robust standards in order to provide a consistent, clear under-standing of what students are expected to learn, so that they can develop the skills they need and the ability to think critically – helping our young people succeed in their careers, in higher education and in life. Local school districts continue to have the flexibility to determine whether and how to implement these standards — and they should be implemented. For our students to succeed, we must work together to ensure that communities are able to implement college- and career-readiness standards effectively, through collaboration with parents, students and educators. These standards are an important step forward, but we must build upon them and make sure that students have access to a strong curriculum in a full range of subjects, from English – to math – to the arts. And to help young people fill the jobs that growing businesses are creating here in New Hampshire, we need to come together as a state to ask tough questions about how we can best educate our young people, especially in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Is it acceptable in today’s economy to only require two years of math from our high school students? Should we be requiring computer science as well as biology? How can we better integrate engineering and technology into our classrooms? For New Hampshire to lead the way in building a workforce that is prepared for the high-tech jobs of today and tomorrow, our schools need to provide an even more rigorous STEM education that our businesses believe in, our educators believe in, and our students and families believe in. That is why I will be creating a STEM Education Task Force made up of diverse stake-holders who will make recommendations for modernizing STEM education in our schools. Strengthening educa-tion in the STEM fields is just one part of the equation. New Hampshire’s high-tech and advanced manufacturing companies are struggling to fill job openings, even for jobs with wages over 25 percent higher than average. We need to reach our students at a young age and help them understand that they can stay in New Hampshire, find jobs here that are interesting and exciting, and build careers that will allow them to support their families and climb the ladder of opportunity…