Friday, May 14, 2021

Letters

We Should be Proud

There are many things to be proud of as a resident of Old Saybrook. I am particularly impressed with the leadership and oversight of the Old Saybrook Public Schools. The strong voting support of our community is an indication of its appreciation at the annual budget vote.

As a former superintendent for 26 years and the current Director of the Leadership Institute at Seton Hall University, I look objectively at results. Old Saybrook’s students perform very well. Last year they ranked ninth in Connecticut on language arts testing. About 85 percent go on to college. Two students gained admission to two highly competitive service academies: the Naval Academy and the Coast Guard Academy. Others went around the country and to our fine state institutions of higher learning. Others proudly went into the armed services or to work. It is true that not every student needs to go to college.

Like many other school districts, Old Saybrook has experienced enrollment decline. This has been intelligently managed, including by sharing staff and programs with neighboring districts, including sports. The football team and hockey team are composed of students from other neighboring school districts. The budget comes in almost flat this year—not any easy task with contractual obligations and rising energy and insurance costs.

I am especially proud that during this terrible pandemic the Old Saybrook students have been in school. They were spared the learning loss and mental stress of the students in most other school districts. This took careful planning and great teamwork from the entire staff and district leadership.

I have had the privilege of speaking with many Old Saybrook High School students. They were always confident, but not cocky. We should be proud of this fine school district.

Michael Osnato
Old Saybrook