Number of Methuen High Scholars Increase

D.J. DeebBy: DJ Deeb – November, 2014

Methuen residents have much to be proud of when it comes to Methuen High School and its students. The number of students taking and passing Advanced Placement courses is on the rise and the number of students qualifying for the John and Abigail Adams scholarship for scoring at Advanced and Proficient levels on Grade 10 MCAS tests has also been climbing.

In 2013, 630 Advanced Placement Examinations were administered at Methuen High School. A total of 238 qualifying scores (38%) were earned that year. In 2014, 735 Advanced Placement Examinations were administered at Methuen High School. A total of 292 qualifying scores were earned in 2014 (40%). In 2013, there were 43 total Advanced Placement Scholars while in 2014 there was a total of 56 AP Scholars. It should be noted that Advanced Placement courses at Methuen High School are open to all students. As Superintendent Judy Scannell wrote in an October 6th memo to the School Committee, “While total exams given, total number of qualifying scores, and total number of AP Scholars rose significantly, the percentage of overall students earning qualifying scores also rose slightly.” Kudos to these Methuen students for working to obtain college credit while in high school.

On another note, approximately 127 Methuen High School juniors qualify for the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship for scoring at Advanced or Proficient levels on their Grade 10 MCAS tests and having a combined score that placed them in the top 25% of students in their district. The Adams Scholarship provides a tuition waiver to a Massachusetts state college or university. There is no application for the Adams scholarship award. Students who qualify for the scholarship receive an award letter in the fall of their senior year. The tuition waiver is in effect for 4 years provided that the student maintains a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher. According to an October 8th memo to the School Committee, Superintendent Scannell noted, “In order to use the award, students must present their award letter to the financial aid office of the Massachusetts state college or university they plan to attend and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The tuition waiver applies to all Massachusetts public state colleges and universities with the exception of the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.” A big Congratulations to these Methuen High students! With the cost of higher education soaring nationwide, this is a significant number of Methuen High students who can choose to attend a state college/university in Massachusetts free of charge.

I am pleased that 58.3 % of Methuen voters joined me in supporting Charlie Baker for Governor on Tuesday, November 4th. As I noted in my October column, Charlie Baker has rightfully called for Massachusetts to abandon Common Core and PARCC Testing as has former Governor Bill Weld and former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Birmingham. It is my hope that Governor-Elect Charlie Baker will hit the ground running in fulfilling his campaign promises of working to reduce state government spending, cutting taxes, and creating jobs in the Commonwealth.

Finally, on a personal note, I want to apologize to State Representative Linda Dean Campbell for incorrectly writing that she supported the sales tax increase from 5% to 6.25% in my October Valley Patriot column. I spoke with Representative Campbell and told her that the information on her vote came from the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. That information was inaccurate and it should be noted that Rep. Campbell voted against the sales tax increase. What is fair is fair and although I take issue with several of Rep. Campbell’s votes including her voting for the gas tax increase I commend Rep. Campbell for opposing the sales tax increase. A correction was also posted online last month.

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 Community College and an Adjunct Political Science Instructor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He teaches Social Studies full-time at Reading Memorial High School. 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).