Granby schools NOT in decline

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After reading Kim Becker’s October letter to the editor, I must make a number of comments in support of the Granby Public School System. In her letter, she states that “Granby schools are not stagnant; they are in full decline.” Ms. Becker bases this opinion statement solely on the recent standardized test scores, namely, the SBAC and the SAT. Assessments are important to drive curriculum to support student learning and pinpoint a child’s strengths and weaknesses, but standardized tests do not give us the whole story. These tests measure what the child is able to answer on a timed sequence of questions that are presented on a computer screen. The tests fail to measure whether the child is creative, artistic or talented in other areas. Neither do the tests measure whether the child has a specific interest in a certain area of learning. Standardized tests are limited: they cannot measure determination, work ethic or success in future endeavors. 

My husband and I have lived in Granby for 40+ years and in those years our children attended Granby Schools K to 12, graduated from fine colleges and are successful professionals. I taught at Granby Memorial Middle School for many years so my perspective of what makes a good school system is not based on just standardized test scores. Our granddaughter attends Wells Road School, and I have witnessed her growth as a reader, writer and math student. What she is doing in the area of math is cerebral and requires not just an answer, but how and why. As a Language Arts Consultant trained at Columbia Teachers College, I am delighted to see her work in the Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop. This is authentic work, not filling in worksheets. Granby Public Schools offer enrichment programs, after-school programs and summer programs that are well-developed, child-centered and tailored to further learning in specific areas of interest. 

I must give credit to my daughter and her husband for being involved in their daughter’s learning and to all Granby parents who support their child’s schooling. Parent involvement is the key for the continued success of our schools. If our schools are in decline, certainly these parents would raise the alarm. 

I am distressed that Ms. Becker made a politically biased statement in her assessment of the Granby Public School System. Surely the members of the board of education and administration, some of them parents of school-age children, would not sit idly by and watch as our schools in the last six years declined. 

Ms. Becker states that “Together we can strengthen our schools.” Absolutely! The people of Granby have always worked toward the common good. That’s what makes this town so special. Instead of tearing down, let’s build up. Be positive. There is no place for politics—as well as negativity—especially when it comes to the education of our children.