Dear Billy T and Somerville/Medford News Weekly Speakup Line,
Attn: SHS Class of 2021 and supporters: please see the letter below that was sent to the School Committee and Mayor Curtatone this morning from the SHS PTSA. If you share the same thoughts please contact the SC and Mayor. Comments and letters from students are very appreciated and could be very impactful.
Please do not use this opportunity to post negative and unhelpful comments. Thanks so much!!!
Dear Honorable Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Superintendent Mary Skipper, Assistant Superintendent Chad Mazza,
Chair Andre Green, City Council President Matt McLaughlin, and members of the Somerville School Committee,
We, the Officers of the Somerville High School PTSA are writing to you on behalf of the Class of 2021 and their families and guardians.
We have been patient, we have been understanding, we have kept the Highlander Spirit and we, the parents, and the SHS PTSA have
trusted you to look out for ALL of our children throughout the City. (02143, 02144 and 02145).
Unfortunately, this has not happened.
Our High School students are not included in the recently approved MOA. How can we be excited to begin our phased in person learning
when our Seniors are not even acknowledged? How can we pretend that the majority of our students are not succeeding at this time?
Many of our students are struggling with the reality that this is the end of in person learning for them at Somerville High School.
We are grateful for the educators and staff at Somerville High School who have worked tirelessly to support our students throughout this year.
Their commitment, diligence, compassion and understanding is commendable ,however we feel that remote learning and zoom classes and meetings in no way replaces in person learning and relationships.
By not including SHS students in the recent MOA are we pretending that they do not exist.? What has happened to the class of 2021?
Yes, we agree that the high needs students should be the first to return to some form of in-person learning. We ask that our Seniors at SHS
be considered among our high needs students.
Yes, we understand that data proves that early education is foundational for children. Have we forgotten what the data shows us about
depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, isolation and anxiety in teenagers?
What we don’t have data on yet is how the pandemic and the decisions that we have made will affect all of our students.
We have learned many things in the past year and we have been given a chance to redeem ourselves for the inequities in our system, however
we will never have a chance once again to leave an impact on the Senior Class of 2021.
Many of you have watched all of our City’s students grow up. From all corners of Somerville, SHS students have come together on the Hill to create relationships, become self confident, overcome obstacles, learn about themselves and their peers, achieved many of their goals, formed their dreams, supported one another and represented our City.
The students of SHS stayed on course throughout the entire construction of their new school. They waited patiently and were flexible as they longed
for the day to walk through the doors of the promised state of the art building. Now, many of our Seniors are facing an uncertain future.
Many have not had the in person guidance of college prep work that occurs at the end of Junior year, many have not completed their CTE hours and will not be eligible for employment in their chosen fields. Many are uncertain about their future educational paths, unmet goals, disrupted relationships with mentors and peers.
We are sending the class of 2021 out in to the world unprepared. We are graduating students that may seem ready on paper but are so far from ready
emotionally and academically.
After 12 plus years in Somerville Public Schools, this is how we let them go? This is unacceptable. Negotiations have been made with the teacher’s union, COVID protection protocols have been put in place , the building is close to receiving a certificate of occupancy.
Why have we forgotten the Class of 2021?
Yes, all of the children of our City deserve the best that we can give them. Yes, all of the students of our City have suffered through a pandemic and continue to do so. However, we ask that you consider the implications of letting the Class of 2021 graduate from their school, which they never stepped foot in, only to look back and see others standing where they belonged.
Finally, we ask that consideration be given for future accommodations for our students. Could you consider the possibilities of access to guidance counselors and mental health supports after graduation? Could you consider an alternative space for students to meet with each other and their teachers? Could we grant these students access to the building? Also, continued career counseling for those who request it.
We are hopeful that this letter conveys to you the many thoughts and feelings that have been shared with us. We hope that you give serious consideration to our requests as we are speaking on behalf of many that have shared their requests with us.
We are hopeful that Mayor Curtatone and members of this Board acknowledge that IF the ventilation systems in ALL of our school buildings throughout the years had been maintained properly we would not be in the situation today that we find ourselves in.
With deepest respect and gratitude we sign this letter on behalf of the students and families of the SHS Class of 2021.