They are offering tours of the high school, Thursday, Oct. 10 and Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. and at 7 p.m.
The following message were scheduled to be sent out Thursday morning;
"We, the School Committee and School Administration, need the help of parents and citizens who care about our schools. We are in dire need of a new high school. We need you to show your support to our legislators so that they can advocate for us to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. More information and contacts are attached. Please come on one of the scheduled tours so you can understand the need."
The following letters are from the superintendent and the school committee
Impact of the Stoughton High School building on the delivery of Curriculum and Programs 2013
At the present time the condition and innate limitations of the high school building are significantly impacting the delivery of curriculum and programming, putting our 1100 students at a competitive disadvantage when compared to students from other schools. In addition to the fact that there is no space for the entire student body to assemble, some of the areas of study where this can most clearly be identified are Science, Special Education, the Arts, World Languages, and Physical Education. We have also been cited by NEASC.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has put Stoughton on warning status for the state of the facility. They demand regular reports on our progress toward a new building. Downgrading our status will impact our students acceptances to colleges and will be a huge black mark on the community.
40%, or approximately 126 of the students who take Physics are unable to take advantage of the full Physics curriculum because only one classroom has the facilities of a lab. The other is a classroom with a sink in which real experiments cannot take place. This creates immediate inequity in delivery of curriculum.
49% or 25 of the students enrolled in Engineering, each semester, do not have access to the full curriculum because only one room is equipped to teach the full engineering curriculum with tools and space to build.
34%, or 73 of the students enrolled in Chemistry at any given time, will have altered curriculum because of limited space to conduct Chemistry labs. Only two of the three rooms used for Chemistry are equipped to conduct labs.
Labs are not ADA compliant, making it impossible for students in wheel chairs to have complete access to the facilities.
All of the science rooms were built in the 1960’s, and cannot support the types of innovative safety, analytical, and instructional equipment found in the 21st Century in newer school facilities.
Within our own high school population, students enrolled in exactly the same course are receiving inequitable instruction.
Erin O’Connor, Staff Director for Representative Bill Galvin, herself a 2001 Stoughton grad, went on a tour of the building and remarked, “.....it certainly hasn’t changed since I was a student! I remember how difficult it was using out-dated science and language labs...”
The band room is too small for instruction and so the band practices on the stage, and the chorus in a regular classroom. This situation impacts at least 100 students every year who take band.
There is no room in the building to teach/build a drama program, for which there is a high demand among the student population.
There are only two art classrooms, stunting any growth in the arts program, which is an essential element of a 21st Century curriculum. All best practice literature is pointing toward fostering creativity and the relationship between art and mathematics.
Computer music classes are taught in the room used for instrument storage.
The lack of physical accommodations for visually impaired students led directly to two very expensive out placements of $250,000 each to schools that could meet those students’ needs.
The school store shares a room with the Life Skills program, inhibiting the teaching of skills related to tooth brushing, hygiene, self care, and other proficiencies that require privacy for the student involved when there are business classes in the store.
There are no therapy rooms for social skills, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and group counseling.
The stoves are old and substandard, and all cooking facilities far too small for the number of students in the program.
There is no capacity to have a washer and dryer because there is no possibility of hook-ups. There is no sensory room, or room for assistive technology.
The electrical supply to the building does not allow for enough computers for each student to have access to computer based reading programs, voice to text programs, etc.
There is no space for IEP meetings.
Speech therapist shares room with the evening school office, impacting ability to conduct sessions with students at certain times of the day.
The Life skills room is not wheelchair accessible, all counters, cabinets, controls are the wrong height and potentially dangerous.
No separate space for students from any of the separate programs for restraint, cool down, private conversations about sensitive emotional issues.
School psychologist office is in a storage closet, with no private place to meet with parents to discuss sensitive issues like students wearing ankle bracelets, DCF involvement, eating disorders, diabetes, bowel movements etc.
School Committee, School Administration Ask For SupportWe, the School Committee and School Administration, need the help of parents and citizens who care about our schools. We are in dire need of a new high school. We need you to show your support to our legislators so that they can advocate for us to the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
Where We AreRecently a meeting and tour of Stoughton High School was organized for Stoughton’s legislative delegation: Sen. Brian Joyce, Rep. Louis Kafka and Rep. William Galvin. Senator Brian Joyce's office arranged to have executives from the Massachusetts School Building Authority there also. The meeting was organized to show our legislators and the team from the MSBA exactly what the conditions of the high school are. We want them to hear from high school administrators, teachers and former students how the outdated, deteriorated facility is constraining educational programming, curricula, and instruction. Members of the School administration such as the SHS principal, superintendent, Science curricula coordinator, a teacher, School Committee members, municipal officials, a member of the Board of Selectmen, officials from the MSBA, and our legislators and their staff directors (one of whom is a SHS graduate) all came. We asked our legislators for support for a new high school and they offered their help to prioritize this project. We were asked to provide a little more information on how the high school facility is impacting instruction, scheduling, curricula and student achievement and we are preparing that information. Due to the severe restraints of the high school facility and condition we are unable to deliver the 21st Century Education the students in our town deserve. We are forced to alter our curriculum, programs and instruction to fit an outdated facility. For instance, we have only three science labs, only two of which have proper safety equipment for a chemistry lab; our gym is inadequate for any playoff games in several sports; there is no one place large enough to hold the entire student body; many classrooms are too small, Special Education spaces are inadequate (former storage areas); the Guidance Department is often unusable during a rainstorm; the front facade (Gale Associates Engineering report) of the high school is bowed and deteriorating due to water infiltration; NEASC, the school accrediting agency has put us on WARNING STATUS for the state of our facilities; the 2010 Facilities Master Plan report on town buildings commissioned by Town Meeting has detailed in excess of $11 million worth of repairs to bring the high school back to it's 1923 and 1950 standards. Additional needed repairs including Asbestos removal, plumbing and pipe replacement, security upgrades, ADA compliance have added another $14 million of repairs, bringing the total to over $24 million – and we would still have an outdated facility. Times have changed and we must also if we are to help educate our children and prepare for the 21st century. The next steps are to provide the additional information requested to the MSBA officials and Sen. Joyce, Rep, Kafka and Rep. Galvin, to organize tours of the high school for parents of students so they can understand what the School Committee and administration is trying to do and what the problems with the high school facility are and to ask them to reach out to our legislators thanking them for their support and ask them to please continue their efforts on our behalf.
The Honorable William C. Galvin Massachusetts House of Representatives
State House, Room 448
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2582 Email:William.Galvin@mahouse.gov The Honorable Louis L. Kafka Massachusetts House of Representatives State House, Room 185 Boston, MA 02133
Email: Louis.Kafka@mahouse.gov The Honorable Brian A. Joyce Massachusetts Senate State House, Room 109D Boston, MA 02133
Email: Brian.A.Joyce@masenate.gov School Committee/Administration
Contacts: Deborah Sovinee Feasibility Study Chair D_sovinee@stoughtonschools.org
Joyce Husseini School Committee Chair Facilities Committee J_husseini@stoughtonschool.org
Dr. Marguerite Rizzi Superintendent of Schools M_rizzi@stoughtonschools.org
In 2009-10 The Town of Stoughton's Facility Master Plan Committee town- wide assessment of all town buildings. The Plan was accepted at the 2010 Town Meeting.
May 2010 - Town Meeting accepts the Facilities Master Plan detailing repair costs for all town-owned buildings. October 2010 - School Committee forms the Facilities Committee on School Buildings to prioritize repairs for school buildings.
December 2010 - School Committee forms Feasibility Study Committee composed of citizens from throughout town to explore renovating or rebuilding school buildings.
March 2011 - Facilities Master Plan Committee on School Buildings recommends that the School Committee not spend any more money on South School and High School facilities -- except for life safety and emergency repairs.
June 2011 - The Feasibility Study Committee recommends that the School Committee send Statements Of Interest (SOI) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority.
October 2011 - The New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC), which accredits all public high schools, puts Stoughton High School on Warning Status, which means the District will lose its accreditation if it does not correct the deficiencies in its facilities. The School Committee votes to authorize the Superintendent to submit Statements of Interest on the South School and High School to the Massachusetts School Building Authority.The Feasibility Study Committee and the School Committee each vote to give the high school priority over the South School.
January 2012 - SOI submitted
May 2012 - After a presentation by
the Feasibility Study Committee, Town Meeting votes 135-6 to appropriate $1,000,000 for a Feasibility Study (which would result in schematic plans of various options for repairs, including a new high school) for Stoughton High School should we be invited into the process.
March 2013 - SOIs submitted for repairs on three elementary school and for the high school and South Elementary again. July 2013 - SOIs on repair projects for three elementary schools are approved by the MSBA.
Since then, the Town of Stoughton has submitted, twice, Statements of Interest (SOIs - what the applications are called) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on the South School and Stoughton High School. The MSBA will begin reviewing the SOIs until January 2014. It is imperative that we get on their agenda by then.