, Salem, MA


March 18, 2013

Letter: Salem's College Bound course should be preserved

To the editor:

I addressed the Salem School Committee on Monday, Feb. 25, with the following, which I want to share with the parents of Salem High students:

I have been a resident of Salem for more than 40 years. I have been teaching in the business department at Salem High School for more than 25 years. Before a vote is taken tonight on Salem High’s program of studies, I respectfully ask the School Committee to think long and hard about some of the proposed changes.

The first is the elimination of the College Bound course, an elective for seniors in their fall semester. The business department proposed the course nearly 10 years ago when Dr. Herbert Levine was Salem’s superintendent. It had his full support since he had firsthand experience with it at Peabody High, where it is still offered. My husband and I have helped our three sons with the college application process and know how confusing it can be — and we are college graduates.

I am here to defend the course in its current state so that our students are given as much help in the college application process as students in wealthier communities, where both parents have college degrees and a fair knowledge of the application process. Many of our students do not have ideal support structures at home, and many do not have college-educated parents.

Following is a list of what we teach in the course, as well as some observations:

1. Students are led through numerous websites to help them find colleges that may be good matches.

2. Salem High’s Naviance website is used extensively. It is so full of information that it is hard to absorb everything even after using it numerous times.

3. Many of the students have never set foot on a college campus — and it’s September of their senior year!

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