"Accountability" has become a favorite buzz-word when folks talk about education. Thanks to Scott Brown, who argued that cuts to the education budget, and further increasing classroom sizes would force teachers to be more accountable; it's become a word that is often misused and mis-applied; evidenced in some of the reader's comments that appear in this publication.
It's a word that was thrown around by the system's incoming superintendent as justification for the inevitable vengeance-based purging of politically disloyal staff from his team.
It is my hope that the politics of education do not interfere with the quality and opportunities available to the students of Quashnet Elementary; as the helm of this school is under the leadership of a high-quality educator in the form of Patricia DeBoer. She is the caliber of educator and educational administrator that the new superintendent would be well advised to take stock of her philosophy and approach as a model for crafting a quality educational system.
I am tough on schools
For a variety of reasons, as an educator and a parent, I am tough on schools. The school system in Mashpee was a major concern for me when I was moving back to the Cape. My experiences and observations of the school system, as a substitute teacher and director of an after school program in Mashpee, left me with serious questions as to where to send my son, that would be equal or greater in quality to the the school he was attending in New Bedford.
My memories of the experiences that my nephews, cousins, and various other friends and relatives endured left me looking at private schools and home schooling as the only viable options.
My fears were put to rest when I encountered the confident, smiling face of Patricia DeBoer at Quashnet Elementary School. The difference between a teacher and an educator is the difference between "impart" and "instill".
My observations of an interactions with Ms DeBoer consistently indicate that she is one who instills. A principal who knows each student by name (not just the ones who get into trouble); and is encouraging and nurturing to all. Rising through the ranks, from substitute teacher to administrator; it is clear that Ms DeBoer has made excellent use of her experiences to form an environment and 'culture' condusive to positive academic and social development.
Quashnet is above the state averages in MCAS scores
Even the bean- counters among us would have to note that most of the school is above the state in MCAS scores. When interacting with parents she is always responsive, respectful and caring; and has the same expectations of her faculty and staff. A truly refreshing departure from the plethora of horror stories of experiences in other schools of the district.
To my fellow Quashnet parents: revel in our fortune. However, like many conscious parents of a certain demographic, the question remains: what do we do when our kids finish sixth grade? At any rate, thank you, Ms DeBoer for championing the fight against mediocrity in our children's educations. To the Mashpee school system leadership: take notes.