My Turn: A terrible report card for Greenfield High School

Greenfield High School in Greenfield.

Greenfield High School in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ


Published: 02-26-2024 6:21 PM

I am writing this open letter as the parent of two Greenfield High School students. I just reviewed the Greenfield High School Report Card from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and you will not be going out for ice cream.

Our schools are failing our students. GHS went for 80.7% access to the arts to 56.1% over the last two years. That is an F! During the same time, the state went up from 77% to 81.7%; so please don’t say that everyone is having a hard time or that you are being graded too harshly.

I think you all need detention so that you can have time to work on a credit recovery plan. Step one, however, would be restoring a full-time music teacher to the high school. It is awfully hard to have kids engaged in the arts when you only have a teacher at the high school for one period a day. Let’s hit the books and find the money.

If I had brought a grade like this home to my parents, you can be sure that I would have spent the next quarter grounded until I brought it up. So that is what I have to say to all of you. No social media for a quarter until you can bring this grade up by bringing arts to Greenfield High School.

Which reminds me, you’re also failing in digital literacy and computer science. I know you have made small improvements, but moving from 16.8% to 19.9% is not going to cut it, especially when the state average is over 36%. Let’s brainstorm. You could have a digital-based arts class. Teaching our kids the skills to make better videos for use on the digital platforms of the 21st century would be a step in the right direction.

Also, what kid would not want to learn how to make the best TikTok? Honestly, digital literacy is something you’re going to need for your future. If you don’t learn how to use artificial intelligence, AI is going to take your job.

You know, I’m no rocket scientist, but as the owner of an arts-based business in the center of the Crossroads Cultural District, I am just disappointed at where we are failing to offer the opportunity for an arts and technology-based education. I mean, we have talked about this before. As I am sure you are aware, the arts is one of the things that keep students engaged in school.

I know this conversation may seem harsh right now, but I believe in you and know you can do better. I love you and I am here to help — you just need to decide to respect yourself and set the right priorities. Why don’t you go to bed and we can talk about this in the morning? We can start looking at music teachers and you know what? I bet it will be fun.

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Isaac Mass of Greenfield is a member of the Greenfield High School Class of ’94.