September 21st, 2011

posted Sep 21, 2011, 11:42 AM by

Yesterday another major milestone for the Town of Maynard occurred.  The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Maynard High School signifies the beginning of a new era for the Maynard Education Department!


The life of a superintendent is often double and even triple booked at times.  Unfortunately, yesterday was one of those days.  I had to attend to some Maynard legal matters and could not enjoy this celebration with our community.  Fortunately, I appreciated Dr. Chesson sending my regrets at not being able to attend and my regards to all of the important attendees who helped make this day possible.


If I were in attendance, I would have spoken about a school construction experience that I had in my previous position as superintendent.  In that district, they replaced the largest middle school in New England with 1400 students in a building that was terribly run down and antiquated with two state of the art buildings on one campus designed to accommodate approximately 750 students each.  Much like in Maynard, the community rallied around the need to provide quality facilities to support the school and community needs.  


The parents hosted an open house to welcome the students and community to the new building before classes began and that was another exciting milestone for that community.  While visiting the empty buildings was impressive, it was not the actual facilities that amazed me most.  What I found most amazing occurred on the day that the students and teachers actually began classes. There was a spirit of hope and excitement that only happens very rarely in life.  In addition, in the weeks and months that followed, there was a new found respect for the community support.  Traditional facility issues of vandalism disappeared.  Most importantly, an atmosphere developed that elevated the behavioral and academic expectations for everyone, students and adults alike.  When Maynard gets to that magical moment, we will have reached another important milestone that I am truly excited to be a part of.


Now usually I like to end my writing with a quote because I like to honor the brilliant people that have shaped our lives and culture.  Often times those quotes come from an historical figure of great prominence.  However, I have found it interesting that the Maynard School Department administrative team has provided me with timely and positive quotes for each of my first three Superintendent’s Notes.  While I normally put these quotes at the end of the article, a very profound statement from Dr. Chesson is pertinent here to support my final thoughts.  Dr. Chesson said to me the following:

“When the new high school opens, Maynard will have a 21st century facility, but our next goal must be to provide 21st century learning in that building.”  


Dr. Chesson is absolutely on target about this national expectation.  It would be great if you have the chance to visit the website created by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills.  On that website, under the overview pull down menu is the skills framework link, which is a good place to begin learning about 21st Century Learning.  In the future, I am hoping to find ways to survey our community on the understanding and interests in 21st Century Skills.