Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


November 28, 2013

Charter school divide widens

Hearing on STEAM Studio packs library


Speaking on behalf of student government, 16-year-old Tarushi Sharma said the main factor for her group in supporting the school “was the distinction between the debate over the budget and over opportunity.”

“The student government believes that the STEAM Studio serves as a unique and innovative opportunity that is unavailable at Andover High School, and that it would benefit its students and prepare them for the ever-evolving world we live in today,” Sharma said.

Another student, Angelina Lionetta, however, spoke against the school. She described a school project working with the green construction certification program L.E.E.D. from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Using the project as an example, she said STEAM initiatives are alive and well at Andover High. She said she didn’t see “why a new school is necessary when very similar programs are being developed here.”

“Are there issues at Andover High School? Yes, of course,” she said. “No system is perfect. It’s my strong belief that we, as a community, should work together to truly fix our problems rather than cover them up with a fancy, expensive Band-Aid.”

Andover parent Cindy Cromer voiced her support for STEAM Studio based on her son’s prior request to go to a technical school, given that he wasn’t getting what he wanted at Andover High.

“There isn’t enough hands-on for all of the students at Andover High,” she said. “I know some students excel there, and I’m happy for them. But there isn’t enough there for all of the students.”

Based on that, Cromer said she had trouble “understanding why an option is a negative thing” in the eyes of school officials.

“The opposition I’m hearing is based on budgets and money, and fear,” Cromer said. “I don’t hear much about students. The focus needs to be on students.”

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