Friday, May 14, 2004
Our other outstanding high school
Most Carlisle parents forget that there are two outstanding public high schools where their eighth-grader can enroll: Concord-Carlisle Regional High School and Minuteman Regional High School. Although Minuteman has been nationally recognized as a school which delivers impressively on the promise of a comprehensive education, academic and technical (See "Minuteman named one of the top 50 "High Schools That Work", Feb 6, 2004, at www.carlislemosquito.org), fewer and fewer Carlisle students have enrolled in the past two decades.
Most families with more than one child know that one size does not fit all. CCHS is wonderful for the mature, independent student with grade-appropriate skills who feels comfortable in the traditional academic classroom. However, a great many ninth-graders do not fit that mold — or not yet. Some thirteen-year-olds still need to improve a critical skill, like reading. Some learn in non-traditional ways. Others simply lack the confidence — perhaps lost somewhere in those precarious pre-teen years — that they can compete with their more academically-driven peers. For these students, many parents look to private schools, if they can. Minuteman may be a better choice.
While Minuteman specializes in science and technology, all students have basic four-year requirements in English, social studies, and math. The Minuteman philosophy is that most students can master difficult materials if the teaching matches their learning style. "It's a great school for kids who learn hands-on," says Minuteman teacher and Carlisle resident Jannine Baker. The school believes in the Chinese proverb: "If I hear it, I forget; If I see it, I remember; If I do it, I learn."
Perhaps many Carlisle families don't realize that this isn't your father's voc-tech. The school emphasizes academics for all students. In fact over half of all Minuteman students go on to college. The percentage is much higher, over 80%, in the school's technology division, including the biotechnology, robotics and environmental programs.
However, more important than getting a college degree is building the confidence and self-esteem that enable a young adult to venture out and succeed in the global labor market. A student who is comfortable in class and confident of mastering the material not only accumulates knowledge, but learns how to apply it.
Take another look at Minuteman Regional High School (on the web at www.minuteman.org). Our taxes pay for it and it offers an excellent preparation for college and career — and life.
It is time for environmental concerns to pop to the top of everyone's agenda. Let's see: there's organic lawn care, atmospheric warming, glacial recession, pine pollination, poison ivy, mosquitoes, dogs, bicycles and motorcycles clogging the roads, barns full of what one spouse or the other might refer to as rubbish
So many pressing concerns; which issue to tackle first?
How about dogs and ice cream? The chaos created by the Great Brook Farm State Park renovations has become a pressing concern and an issue we could try to tackle. We could call our legislators and Kathy Abbott at the Department of Conservation and Recreation and weigh in on what may happen to Great Brook Farm State Park and one of our area's most cherished institutions — Mark Duffy's dairy and ice cream operation. Without Mark's dairy, Great Brook Farm State Park would not be a "farm." In this day and age, all farmers must diversify to survive and, for the Duffys, ice cream is the most logical extension of their dairy business. The parking fee concept is ill-advised, unnecessary and punitive. It has put a serious crimp in the contractual agreement with the Duffys and, really, who seriously thinks they can eat a banana split in a half hour and appreciate Mark's battery of bovine pulchritude after waiting in line for more than a few minutes? I mean, after dinner and a drive to the country (as we blithely fancy Carlisle), does anybody really want to eat and run? Carlisleans are under the determined scrutiny of every crepe-soled meter matron in all the surrounding towns, but why here? No other facility has an ice cream tax. In the interests of getting insight with one's ice cream, parking should be free to all comers!
Now on to dogs, or rather, dog owners. The State Park's threatened canine control and parking policies (as well as the increasing fame of our open space) have had a far-reaching impact on conservation lands in Carlisle. Commissioners at recent ConsCom meetings have been hard-pressed to resist wryly commenting upon the excremental excess that has been created on other conservation parcels since the leashing policy was put forward. The Cranberry Bog in particular has been all but paved with unmentionable specimens of dog droppings. ConsCom has received irate letters complaining about the carelessness of dog-walkers who apparently feel no responsibility for picking up after their pets.
It should not fall on the shoulders of Carlisle's public servants to clean up after your pet. If you do not want your pet relieving itself in your backyard, why would you want it in your Cranberry Bog? The bog should be treated with much more respect. We do not allow our pets to defecate in our gardens. The least that can be expected is that those who enjoy walking on the dikes will pick up after their pets so as not to despoil the experience for the rest of us. If you see careless dog-walkers abusing the privileges of our open space, remind them that dogs, like children, need to be cleaned up after when in the public domain. Give them a baggie and politely indicate your expectations. We should all be able to get back in our cars with clean shoes!
© 2004 The