Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

December 12, 2013

STEAM Studio would offer further diversity

(Continued)

A new Obama Administration program, Youth Career Connect, will give substantial grants to “innovative programs that give students industry-related job skills.” This grant program also addresses those teenagers who find “high school boring and drop out because they don’t see the connection between a diploma and future job prospects.” This proposal addresses both the needs of those who will aim for careers in research and development, and those who work on teams to implement, install and maintain evolving technologies.

Andover is strengthened by the diversity of the interests of the people in the community.

Its citizens support a multitude of educational institutions. At the primary school level, in addition to the public schools, they support Catholic, Jewish, Montessori and independent day schools. In addition, they participate in cultural, religious, music, arts, drama and athletic after-school programs.

At the secondary school level, I would guess that about 20 percent of our students seek education outside of our public school system. Phillips Academy, Brooks School, Governor’s Academy, Central Catholic, Austin Prep, St. John’s Prep to name a few. Our top students find the need to attend the Russian School of Mathematics enrichment program.

They seek summer programs at a full range of local camps, colleges and universities.

I would expect the STEAM program to bring back many of these students and provide educational access for others. Its curriculum significantly enhances that which is provided at Andover High School and its smaller size can make it more nimble to respond to evolving needs.

At the public hearing held at Andover’s Memorial Hall Library, I perceived an intriguing split ... a couple of parents against, a couple of parents for; a couple of students against, a couple of students for (including the student representing the student council); the educational establishment strongly against, those who worked in technology-related industry strongly for.

We should encourage, not deny, our youngsters this opportunity.

Bob Friedenson

109 Bellevue Road

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