Glad To Be Back on the School Committee

By: DJ Deeb – Dec. 2017

deeb2Although I ran unopposed in the recent municipal elections, it is nice to know that I am officially back on the Methuen School Committee. I want to take an opportunity to congratulate my colleagues Jana DiNatale, Bob Vogler, and Nick DiZoglio on their re-election bids. I also want to welcome new members Janna Zanni Pesce, Susan Nicholson, and Mayor Jim Jajuga, who by ordinance serves as Committee Chairperson. I look forward to working with all of you to continue moving Methuen Schools forward. I will continue to be an advocate of fiscal responsibility.

In late October, the results for the new MCAS Test were released. Methuen students scored slightly below state average on the math and english tests. Many of you are aware that the test itself has been revised and the system of scoring the tests has been changed as well. As a result, the 2017 MCAS Test results cannot be compared to the test results of previous years.

Even Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser has cautioned against comparing the 2017 results from previous years and has stated that this past “Next-Generation” MCAS Test was a trial run. Rest assured that Methuen Public Schools will be scrutinizing these test results closely and working to ensure that our students are prepared to take these tests in future years.

With the holiday season upon us I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the students, teachers, support staff, and parents of the Timony Grammar School for collecting and distributing food items to needy families in the area through the Friday Backpack Food Program. Students have been collecting nonperishable canned goods, boxes of cereal, pasta, canned sauces, soup, peanut butter, canned tuna, and gift cards to Market Basket and Stop and Shop. Donation boxes have been placed throughout the school to collect these items. Kudos to the Timony students, parents, teachers, and support staff for encouraging this worthwhile effort.

On another note, I want to recognize Patricia Comeau, who works as a school nurse at Methuen Public Schools, for being recognized and awarded the Massachusetts Nurses Association [MNA] Image of the Professional Nurse Award on October 12, 2017. According to MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams,

“The MNA Image of the Professional Nurse Award recognizes a member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in enhancing the image of the professional nurse in the community. Selection of award recipients is based on the nominee’s achievements meeting award criteria.”

Congratulations to Patricia Comeau!

Currently, members of the School Committee are completing their annual evaluations of Superintendent Judy Scannell. This is required by state law each year and I will be following up on the results in a future Valley Patriot issue.

Finally, it was reported in late October that a Virginia-based company (Crutchfield Corp.) is filing a lawsuit against Massachusetts for our state’s demand that the company collect sales tax revenues from Massachusetts consumers. The case is headed to court and I fully support the position of the Virginia-based company Crutchfield Corp. which states that the collection of tax revenues from Massachusetts residents is unenforceable. It is truly disappointing that Gov. Charlie Baker and a majority of the Massachusetts Legislature believe that companies operating outside of Massachusetts should actually collect taxes from Massachusetts residents. Gov. Baker is even campaigning on a deceitful platform that he opposes new and higher taxes. I am sure that the voters will see through this in 2018. I know that I will be voting for real conservatives in the upcoming election. More on this in future issues.

That’s all for now. I hope all my readers have a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

D.J. Deeb is a Methuen resident and member of the Methuen School Committee. Deeb is an Adjunct Professor of History/Government at Bunker Hill Communications to the following college and an Adjunct Political Science Instructor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Deeb also serves as Social Studies Department Chair at Notre Dame High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He is the author of Israel, Palestine, and the Quest for Middle East Peace (University Press, 2013) and The Collapse of Middle East Peace (IUniverse, 2003).