Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

December 12, 2013

STEAM Studio would offer further diversity

Editor, Townsman

I’m a parent of three Andover High School graduates and the former chairman of Cornell University’s Alumni Admissions Ambassadors in Eastern Massachusetts. In those roles, I became quite familiar with both student capabilities and high school programs throughout Eastern Massachusetts. I also have some familiarity with science, technology, engineering and mathematics. I earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from Cornell University and spent over three decades in R&D within the telecommunications industry.

I urge you to support the Andover STEAM Studio Charter High School. Its programs more closely match the needs of our technology-based economy than that of either Andover High School or Greater Lawrence Vocational Technical School. Although both claim to have excellent STEAM programs, they fall far short of the STEAM Studio Charter High School proposal.

For years, the Andover School Committee and faculty have fought the introduction of STEM programs and school/industry cooperation. The recent extended labor difficulties at Andover High School are indicative of faculty intransigence, especially, some union leadership encouraging teachers to boycott the state certification process.

Although Greater Lawrence has excellent programs for a large segment of the region’s population, it seems that it has been unable to attract many Andover students. It could be that its requirement that students enter as freshmen precludes Andover parents from making the decision that their child is best suited for a vocational career at such an early age.

I wish this STEAM program was available when our three sons went to Andover High School. Their career paths might have had fewer perturbations if they had had more “hands-on” and “project-based” experience. Especially for our eldest, who moved through three environmental management consulting companies and two middle school teaching positions before finding his passion as an elementary school science teacher.

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