Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


August 2, 2012


For four years a growing number of West Middle School students have been helping their fellow students with developmental special needs to be more thoroughly involved in the school community. Serving as peer mentors, they’ve helped go over lessons, break down stereotypes and create a more inclusive school experience.

Now, with 34 West Middle mentors moving to the ninth grade this fall, there’s talk of bringing the mentoring program to the high school with them. New principal Chris Lord said the program, called Excel, has him interested and he is talking to the schools advisor for special education about it.

We’d like to offer praise for the students involved in this program for being good students and improving their school; praise to the middle school administrators for fostering this program, and encouragement to the high school leaders, including Lord, for considering its expansion. Often when a new person comes in, the leader talks about listening to the community. But listening only goes so far without strong action to support what’s successful and squash what’s not. The school year hasn’t started yet, but Lord is already getting involved and considering how to make positive change. That’s a good early indicator of the type of leader he may be.

As for the Excel program, it seems to be a feel good story - with feel good results - all around.

Stiff fine would hold

National Grid accountable

The power outages of last October’s freak snowstorm and Tropical Storm Irene are a distant memory for most, but we’re glad to see they were not forgotten by Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office.

Coakley recently announced that the results of her office’s investigation into the electrical utilities’ handling of the storms showed, “National Grid’s preparation for these storms was inadequate and its response was unacceptable.” National Grid acknowledged it failed to meet customer expectations but said Coakley’s recommended fine of $16 million — the largest penalty ever proposed against a utility in Massachusetts — was “extreme.” The Department of Public Utilities said it would take Coakley’s recommendation under advisement. The penalties, if enacted, cannot be passed on to National Grid customers.

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