Over my six years as a member of our Sandwich School Committee, I’ve witnessed the birth of a U-Knighted public school system, for the betterment of the entire community.
Upon arrival to the school committee, the district was at a crossroads, and there was disharmony among school committee members. A debate raged as to whether neighborhood schools were appropriate, or if a new method of one flowing public school system better served students. The new system clustered all students by grade for consistency in lesson planning, a better use of resources and better collaboration among teachers. Most importantly, it has allowed students to meet their peers well before middle school years.
It is gratifying to have been one of the deciding votes in favor of the new reorganization of our public schools. The fruits of the vote and the labor of all stakeholders has produced results beyond expectations. Students are no longer abandoning Sandwich Public Schools at alarming rates; there is stability in the superintendent’s office and a renewed faith in our public schools. There are so many to thank for this transformation.
Thank you to our teachers: your value was known well before COVID-19. Thank you also to our parents, especially to those who are in the PTAs. Your philanthropic efforts to every aspect of student life from the classroom to field trips should never go unnoticed. To our school counselors, therapist and nurses: you are on the front lines every school day caring for our children in body and mind, for that I thank you as well. Thank you to those who make our schools function, our secretaries, custodians and administrative staff. To the countless volunteers who teach our kids to sing, dance and play, thank you for allowing students to express themselves outside of the classroom. A thank you also to my fellow school committee members: we come from different backgrounds, may not share philosophies, but have always shared a passion for public education.
To the students, you are my last thank you, as you have taught me the most. A generation of students born in the shadows of September 11 has once more had tragedy befall them. Yet, they remain strong. Is this perhaps the Second Greatest Generation growing up before our eyes? I say a resounding YES. It has been a privilege to watch, and learn from you, our students. Let your wisdom, spirit and thirst for knowledge never cease. We need you now, more than ever. Best of luck to the new school committee members, I hope to make budget time much easier by my next endeavor. We are Sandwich U-Knighted.
James J. Dever
Sleepy Hollow Lane