School Committee and Dr. Rodriguez, Stop With The STEM!

Benjamin Carme, Special to The Big Red

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AMSA, a school well known in the Middlesex District for their concentration in math and science. Assabet, a school well known in the Middlesex District for their concentration in trades. Hudson, a school well known in the Middlesex District for… well, who really knows anymore.

The identity of Hudson High School has gone through serious modifications in the last 10 years. What used to be an oasis for teachers and students to delve into a passionate humanities curriculum, with a unique schedule, has become just another High School.

With enrollment plummeting to an all-time low, with teachers being laid off left and right, with administration spending $14,000+ on a desk, Hudson, we need to get our act together! We need to have our own unique draw.

Hudson Public Schools has faced a rapid decline in student enrollment. In 2014, HPS had an enrollment of 2,947 students, in 2015, 2,876 students, now all the way to 2018 there are only 2,643 students enrolled.

This trend keeps spiraling downward and it has very negative consequences on the district at large. Teachers are laid off, making class sizes less attractive to prospective parents of future students, the district is granted less money from the government, leading to fewer materials and resources.

These low enrollment rates aren’t due to a lull in the general population of Massachusetts, they are due to students leaving to other schools around us that are more attractive. But continually, HPS School Committee combats that problem by morphing to become more like those schools around us with STEM curriculum.

In recent years, the school committee and the new superintendent have taken the liberty to adopt a boatload of new STEM classes and programs. These classes were adopted to become more like AMSA, hopefully resulting in the loss of fewer students.

Though this may be attractive to some HPS students, most who are really serious and dedicated to STEM go to the school that specializes in that field. If you put yourself in their shoes, wouldn’t you want to go to the school that is created just for STEM?

But when HPS was at an all-time high with enrollment statistics, they weren’t offering many STEM courses. But, AMSA and Assabet still existed. So one may wonder, what were they doing so well? At that time, Hudson Public Schools had an intense program of studies with really interesting and effective courses.

Teachers would travel great lengths to get a job at HPS. They were home to a magnificent performing arts program and an awesome schedule that allowed for a close-knit school community. They weren’t home to trades or STEM, they were their own unique entity. But over the years, that has really drifted away, along with high enrollment.

Tons of research points to the importance of being your own person.

Though our school doesn’t have a brain and isn’t a person, I think it’s important to listen to these ideas. We have fantastic humanities teachers and programs. What other High School offers Cold War Era and Film or fantastic World Cultures classes or a beefy linguistics program? 一Not many!

We shouldn’t focus our time on being something we are not. I’m not saying get rid of all STEM classes, but I am saying let’s become our own oasis. Let’s become our own unique school that garners a stellar reputation for fantastic classes and programs. Let’s become our own for the sake of our teachers, students, and community.

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School Committee and Dr. Rodriguez, Stop With The STEM!