OPINION: Meeting the needs of our students:  today . . . and tomorrow



By Rob Kosienski, Jr.

I have had the honor of serving on the Meriden Board of Education for several years, and have served as the Board’s president during the pandemic. What has continually been reinforced over the last eighteen months is that Meriden has exceptional teachers, resilient students, supportive families, and a caring community. 

When other districts closed schools or failed to open them, Meriden provided a high-quality in-person learning option for its students and families. In addition, Meriden offered a comprehensive remote program for those families and students who selected that option last school year. Our collaborative efforts paid off as our students continued to make positive strides on in-district and state-wide testing measures. Our students’ combined efforts continue to outpace other more affluent districts. Our students and staff deserve our applause and appreciation.

However, we all know school is so much more than a test score. That is why I am proud that our Board of Education and administrative team made sure that our students had access to our art and music programs, sports teams, and extracurricular activities through the most challenging of times.

We had teams playing at Falcon Field last Fall when many districts didn’t even consider giving student athletes the opportunity to play. We had thousands of spectators attend outdoor musicals at Hubbard Park, while students from Platt, Maloney, Washington and Lincoln performed.  Our students needed and deserved those opportunities, even more so during a pandemic. We were open for business as others shuttered in place.

I also want to thank the over 1100 parents who completed our survey and advised us how best to utilize additional federal funding. The top five requests were, in this order--more staffing, outdoor learning spaces, building modernization, technology, and summer learning. 

We have added teachers to reduce class size, tutors to support student learning, professionals to support the social-emotional well-being of all students, and custodial staff to support building cleanliness measures.  Outdoor classrooms, pavilions, playgrounds, and new fields will be on the way. Air conditioning will be added in five of our elementary schools, and fitness center upgrades will be made at  Edison and our high schools. New Smartboards, additional devices, online tutorial options, and family communication tools will also be added. 

Again, next summer MPS will feature a full array of summer programming to meet the needs and interests of all of our learners.

I can assure you that our Board of Education will use every resource available to us to meet the needs of our students today . . . and tomorrow. We are preparing our students for college and life success by giving them as many opportunities to succeed as possible.

All Meriden Public School graduates will leave us prepared with the skills to be a learner, a thinker, an advocate, and a collaborator.  We are proud that over 92 percent of our Platt and Maloney students are now graduating in four years. We have been most impressed with the terrific colleges our students attend, and even more importantly, succeed at and graduate from. The Meriden Public Schools remains a model for public school success. 

This past year Meriden Public Schools was recognized as a 2021 Innovative District by the International Center for Leadership in Education, a Distinguished District for 2021 by the International Society for Technology in Education, and a National School Board Association 2020 Magna Award Winner for Equity and Access.

On behalf of our talented and hardworking Meriden Board of Education, I thank you for choosing to send your children to the Meriden Public Schools and assure you that together we will work hard to meet the needs of our students today. . . and tomorrow.

Rob Kosienski, Jr. is president of the Meriden Board of Education.

 



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