April 12, 2011

Letter to Superintendent Horan



I just wanted to thank you and Sherri for the presentation this evening. (She will be missed.) The discussion did go on much longer than planned, but the opportunity to speak afforded the small group who gathered there, time to continue. It was frank and heartfelt.

In contrast, East Greenbush public comment is limited for each community member. Time being kept by a basketball timer that is set to 5 minutes and put on the front of the BOE's table as a reminder that when the time runs out and the buzzer goes off - time is up! Much different than the discussion that went on tonight with parents, teachers, board members and administrators actually talking and listening to one another.

The taxes, as we will all agree, are very high in Schodack, but the comment made by the mother who was worried about class sizes in the elementary school, whose friend had such a positive impression of Schodack reminded me why I am so glad that I chose Schodack for my own children.

We moved from East Greenbush when Erica was in second grade and although it was a difficult decision (both David and I graduated from Columbia High School) we realized very quickly that it was the right decision. She excelled in her classes and was an exceptional student - honor roll, high honor roll recommended for the National Honor Society, basketball, volley ball, softball, band and even a little cheer leading. She went on to HVCC scoring a 4.0 in her first semester there and went on to graduate from Potsdam, Magna Cum Laude, after making the President's list every semester. 

Matthew, started Kindergarten and with Mrs. Williams as his teacher. A perfect match, his education was off to a good start. She was kind and gentle, caring and attentive. (She still asks about him.) Although he and his cohort group did get to meet the principal early and often, as he moved through the elementary classes he was recognized as highly intelligent, but not the best of students. He played baseball, and basketball and played the trumpet in the MHMS band. Homework was a sticking point as he did not see the reasoning behind proving over and over that he had mastered the material. Hence, no honor roll for Matty. He only barely passed English his senior year thanks to the 110% he earned on his final exam.

However, at HVCC when he scored a 100% on his first grammar test, being  the only one in the class to even pass the test with the next highest grade being a 60%, I was understandably proud. When he told his professor that he learned grammar in 4th grade in Schodack, she said "Oh, ok, now I get it," as if that was the reason; he'd graduated from Maple Hill, as if that explained it perfectly.

I only share this story with you now because I know you know Matt and the MHMS Principal, Tom Rabone, knew him and recognized him as the bright, outgoing boy who could always make people laugh. Mrs. Adams the CES Principal, knew him as the boy who could (mostly) smile his way out of trouble. I think that Matt is able to be who he, is in part, because of the caring community in which he grew up. 

Schodack is a large part of who he is now and although I'm dying from the tax burden, Matt has already told me that I can't move until he is in a position to buy this house for himself.

I planned to say that before I left the meeting, but I'm not much of a public speaker, and frankly I was feeling sentimental thinking about how long we've been here and what this community and school district means to me personally.

I hate that we pay so much in taxes...but I also know that the Board of Education has always done their best for this community, and I know that the work they put into presenting a budget that will be supported by the district residents, and benefit all of our children, is always their first priority. 

Please let me know if there is anything more I can do to help with the difficult task facing you and the Board Members who serve our children.

Catherine Sager


  1. Thank you for taking the time to make these comments. You have really captured the essence of Schodack culture, which I believe is special and rare. It's made me feel sentimental over my coffee this morning, but also has re-energized me for my work - both my day job and my volunteer board service here. Thank you!

    Susan Megna

  2. He that won't be counselled can't be helped.


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