Presidential Election Offers Teachable Moments for Methuen Students

By: DJ Deeb – Dec. 2016

The fall has been a busy time for students and staff in Methuen public schools. September, October, and November have been packed with numerous activities including test preparation, mock presidential elections, educator goal-setting, and maintenance repair work, among other things.

As a career educator at both the high school and college levels, I can appreciate the teaching opportunity that presents itself every four years with the presidential elections. This always seems to be the best time to teach about the primary election process involving political parties, the Electoral College, the roles and responsibilities of the Chief Executive, the checks and balances provided by both the legislative and judicial branches of our Federal Government, and the initiative process at the state level. Methuen students have been learning about these things at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Students at Methuen’s elementary schools received a hands-on lesson with being allowed to vote in student mock elections for U.S. President. As is usually the case, student votes reflect how their parents vote in the community and thus Hillary Clinton won the popular vote with the students. Being able to vote in mock elections provides a valuable learning lesson to students about the importance and meaning of voting. I am grateful that our teachers and administrators made the necessary arrangements to allow for this important lesson to take place. In addition, the MHS Democrats and Republicans worked together with the League of Women Voters to register more than 60 high school students to vote in this year’s presidential election. Kudos to Methuen teachers and administrators for making this learning opportunity possible and to students for participating!

By the beginning of November, Methuen public school teachers had completed their annual Educator Plans as part of their evaluations and they have started to work on their proposed action steps. These plans help to ensure that everyone is working together in order to prepare our students to be lifelong learners.

Congratulations to our Methuen Varsity Cheerleading Team who will be competing in the National Competition to be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Center in Dallas Texas on January 21-22, 2017. Best of luck to our Methuen Rangers Cheerleaders!

Bruce Stella, Director of Facilities and Maintenance, reported to the School Committee that “Our maintenance staff has been busy on our rooftops, changing bearings, filters, and motors. They have already completed the seasonal HVAC conversion, including cooling tower cleanings, chiller turn-on and boiler switchover.” Stella added, “By utilizing the talents and expertise of our maintenance staff we can claim a savings of approximately $7,500 on each start up (as we have previously contracted outside for the service).” I am always grateful to our support staff whenever we save the taxpayers’ money! Kudos to Bruce Stella and the Methuen Schools Maintenance Staff!

On a personal note, I would like to offer some reflections on the recent elections. First off, thank you to Methuen voters to overwhelmingly voting against the expansion of Charter Schools. I explained in my October column the reasons for opposing more Charter Schools in Massachusetts. Although I supported Sen. Ted Cruz in the Primary, I cannot be more thrilled about the victory of Donald Trump as President. I predicted this outcome on social media two weeks before. As a conservative who favors slashing government spending, repealing Obamacare, balancing the budget, abolishing Federal Government agencies, eliminating Common Core, and reducing taxes, I have high hopes for President-Elect Trump and I wish him well as he takes office. We understand and expect that there will be some compromises and practical modifications that will need to be made, but we expect that most of the promises he made will be carried out, especially given that Congress remains controlled by Republicans. I hope Tom Duggan’s predictions of what to expect in the November issue of The Valley Patriot hold true!