The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 13, 2003

Join the focus group discussion

on economic development June 17

To the Editor:

Bedroom community or working community? Perhaps surprisingly, almost one out of eight working Carlisleans work in Carlisle. As mentioned in the last issue, the Community Development Plan Steering Committee is sponsoring a second focus group on economic development on June 17. Like the first focus group on housing diversity, the committee is inviting certain citizens who we suspect might have something interesting if not sage to say and asks others interested in participating to contact our planning board administrator George Mansfield at 1-978-369-9702. Observers are welcome, too.

Tricia Smith
Indian Hill Road
Committee Member and Economic Development Coordinator

Focus group participants thanked for tackling housing diversity in Carlisle

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the participants in last week's Housing Diversity Focus Group. A cross-section of those affected by and interested in the issue of housing diversity in Carlisle were invited to attend. Others, including some relatively new to town, came in response to our general invitation in the Mosquito.

The participants brought much expertise and enthusiasm to the topic. Many opinions were expressed about the meaning of housing diversity, the need for it, some possible strategies to address the issue and potential pitfalls of those strategies. The conversation was cordial, though views expressed were often contradictory. It is a difficult topic. All should be commended for their willingness to tackle it.

One thing seems clear: Carlisle is at a crossroads. Whatever we as a town decide in the coming months (from changing zoning or other regulations to purchasing land or deciding how to use existing town lands or other parcels), the effects on Carlisle's future will be profound. Doing nothing is another choice, but it has consequences too. Do we want to wait and see if the economic downturn will bring less expensive homes to market or if the impact of 40B developments will be better or worse than feared?

There are no easy answers. Many lingered after the official ending of the focus group to continue the discussion. One lamented that, in our focus on uncertainties of the current situation, where we are headed, and how attain some control over our future, we neglected to identify one key value of housing diversity: the diversity of the people it engenders. On a fundamental level, this diversity makes life here interesting and will keep Carlisle a good place to live in the future: a healthy mix of long-time residents, seniors and retirees, families with young children, families whose children are going off to college or starting families of their own in Carlisle or elsewhere, families without children, people with a range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and a range of incomes and livelihoods from working in Boston, west near 495, or at home.

How best to retain such a mix is the question we face now.

David Freedman
Co-Chair, Community Development Plan Steering Committee

Measure high school success by entry to the most appropriate college, not the most prestigious

To the Editor:

I do not believe that the percentage of students accepted to Harvard, Yale or Princeton should be a measure of our high school's success. Rather, success should be measured by the matching of a student's interests, career aspirations and academic abilities with the appropriate college placement. Let me assure David West ("Is CCHS really one of the best?" June 6 Mosquito) that CCHS graduates need not attend Harvard, Yale or Princeton to continue and build on their high school education. A "rigorous and stimulating" higher education can be achieved by attending a wide array of colleges and universities · not just the Ivy League schools.

The challenging academic CCHS program and outstanding teachers prepare our students well for any college or career choice. I do not believe it would be in anyone's best interest to establish a percentage acceptance goal for any college or group of colleges.

If David is interested in college acceptance statistics, the CCHS guidance department has always maintained a book for each graduating class (no student-specific information). If I recall correctly, the book includes the colleges to which applications were sent and the number of acceptances at those colleges. I found this information easily accessible and I'm sure any member of the guidance department would be happy to assist David. In addition, the Mosquito and the Concord Journal publish, each June or July, the list of town graduates and post-secondary plans.

David asks, "Is it appropriate to claim CCHS is among the best high schools in Massachusetts if its graduates do not have the best chance of continuing their education at the best colleges?" My answer is yes · our graduates are given the chance to continue their education at colleges that are most appropriate for them · even if it is not at Harvard, Yale or Princeton.

Carole Fiorentino
Aaron Way

(Ed. note: See article this issue on Carlisle graduates and their colleges)

CPC thanks event organizers

To the Editor:

The Carlisle Parents Connection would like to thank Mary Beth Stevenson and Mary Bishop for organizing the Wash A Fire Truck event, and Captain J.J. Supple, Firefighter John Bernardin, Firefighter Rich Sibley and Lt. Doug Stevenson for helping to make the event successful. Everyone had a great time. By the end, the fire trucks were clean and the kids were wet!

Lori Jiménez,
Hospitality Organizer, CPC
Rutland Street

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito