Letter to the editor: Letourneau is incorrect and not productive

Letourneau is incorrect and not productive

Mr. Ed Letourneau's recent pre-election interview by the Banner, as he ran for school board re-election, requires some clarification.

Regarding graduation rate and requirements, Mr. Ed Letourneau claims that MAU's graduation rate improvement is due to the requirements being reduced, and he incorrectly claims that there is limited follow up with graduates to see what they are doing after graduation. MAU's 4-year graduation rate has increased from 78.40 percent in 2006 to 84.62 percent in 2013, which is the last time these numbers were published. Mr. Ed Letourneau should refer to the minutes of the November 19, 2014, MAU Board Meeting, where principal Ms. Sue Maguire presented board members with a spreadsheet of MAUHS Students Post Graduate Work analysis, which took place annually. MAUHS has tracked this information for several years, until this past summer. Numbers of students who attended two- and four-year colleges and higher education programs, as well as students who remained in the same programs or transferred, and a list of all of the colleges that graduates were attending were provided in this information. It was stated that there is no other school in the state that tracks post graduate activity in this way. Ms. Maguire had staff members contact each former graduate to track his or her status at the end of the first year post high school. The numbers show that for 2011 72 percent of the graduates stayed in the same college, 12 percent transferred to another college, and 16 percent suspended their college educations at that time. In 2012, 82 percent remained in the same college, 14 percent transferred, and only 3 percent suspended their college educations at that time. Also, MAUHS had the highest number of students taking college classes in the CCV system. These high numbers reflect the excellent job that the guidance office does with working to match students to the best colleges for their particular needs and interests. Additionally, prior to that board meeting, the Bennington Banner published an article discussing how MAUHS tracked each graduate's college status. In that article, it was also pointed out that the number of MAUHS students who went on to college exceeded the Vermont state average.

Mr. Ed Letourneau incorrectly claimed that students are not graduating college and career ready, with students requiring "remedial classes" upon entering college, and stated that "we need to raise academic standards." He continues to insult the many achievements of our students, including the fact that MAUHS has some of the highest Advanced Placement test scores in the state.

MAUHS is a NEASC accredited institution, which means it meets or exceeds the academic and program requirements to attain this accreditation through a thorough and vigorous process. The faculty and staff were particularly commended in their findings for being "committed, energized, and resourceful."

MAUHS's improved graduation rates are the direct result of the multiple flexible pathways its staff worked very hard to develop over the past several years, even before this was a state requirement. Some of these include the High School Completion Program through their partnership with the Tutorial Center, Virtual High School Classes, summer school, Twilight Program, "Aftermath" tutoring after school, the Alternative Program, Academic Mentoring, and a multi-tiered level of supports and programs for its special education population.

Mr. Ed Letourneau's consistent use of negative commentary and of false information incorrectly represents the high school and is not productive.

Respectfully submitted,

— Marilyn Woodard Shaftsbury


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