8 thoughts on “Watertown School Recognized for MCAS Results, No Schools Require Intervention

  1. Congrats! Well done. I’m curious as to what factors account for these dramatic improvements in performance and test scores.

  2. I don’t really believe that our schools improved in any substantial way. This has long been a pattern in this town with much lower performing schools compared to the rest of the state and especially compared to our neighbors. Look at any ranking for schools and you will find Watertown Public Schools ranked BELOW AVERAGE for various reasons. Look at GreatSchools and you will see some troubling comments from parents, teachers, and students.

    What I also find concerning is that there is a lot of discussion about building a new high school and renovating all our elementary schools. My understanding is the money for the elementary schools would come from the town, which of course begs the question – If we had the money for this then why didn’t we do this a lot sooner, as in many years ago?

    The next concern I have is in regards to high school and the plans to rebuild it. In order to rebuild it the additional expense for it needs to come from the property owners in town. This has to be voted on and I am not so sure residents/voters will want to increase their taxes especially given that the schools seem to have many internal problems. The MSBA will not cover the entire expense of a new school the remaining money needs to come from residents. For instance, Belmont voted YES to build a new high school and that increase for property owners will mean the average homeowner in that town will see an increase in their property taxes of at least $1500.00 a year. I don’t see Watertown residents going along with this. I know I will likely vote against it, especially given that we recently had a tax hike for a CPA tax.

    What if voters reject this new tax hike? What happens then?

    • Good questions. The money the Town will be spent on the elementary schools has been going to pay down the pension deficit that Watertown had. That will be paid down at the end of FY 2020. (Note that all towns in Mass ls faced the deficit).

      If the high school is voted down the high school will project will be at the very least delayed. I think the town would have to reapply to the MSBA.

      As for tax Bill’s, I have not seen numbers but I think they will be lower. I believe Watertown has more households and I am pretty sure Belmont does not do the shift property taxes onto commercial/industrial properties, partly because they do not have the commercial base that Watertown has. Stay tuned. The debt exclusion (property tax I create for the high school) will be on the ballot in 2021.

    • I’m not exactly sure what changes some folks expect to see happen in Watertown public schools within a single year, but the specific evidence sited in this article regarding increased MCAS scores (some quite dramatic) across ALL schools over this past year definitely seems to indicate that positive things are happening. Again, congrats WPS. The new school buildings will certainly be a catalyst for progress, as will the influx of upwardly mobile young couples calling Watertown home.

  3. Yes cohorts, who were certainly low, are doing better this year. This is encouraging. However the commenter does make a point that over the years the trend line is not great, which is factual too. Mcast is one data point that, though different tests in the past 5 years with Parcc/Mcast and Mcast 2, certainly provides that trend line comparison against state and other towns as average or below. Looking at Wms, the results are less stellar generally. Other general data points which can be looked at Sat scores, high school graduation rates, college acceptance (where/rates) along with graduation rates from those colleges would be good information to gauge along with feedback from parents(which looks like she/he did look to some sites with parental feedback). I’m not certain if WPs collects the information above but it would be helpful. Other factors would be our schools population and the challenges and opportunities that come with that population. Some of which the value can not be quantitatively measured( The diversity is a great plus IMO) . I agree that Rome was not built in a year but progress in schools is very slow, maybe give it 5-8 more years otherwise supplement if you can which is unfortunate.

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