While Mitt Romney and Barack Obama parried in presidential debate, Sudbury Public School Committee members last night at their meeting reviewed some recently-released — and quite pleasing — MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) test results.
"This will be the most exciting show in town tonight. Never mind these guys who are on TV this evening," Committee Chair Richard J. Robison joked.
The Sudbury MCAS news was good, indicating that Sudbury's middle school and elementary school students are consistently testing higher than the state average in key subjects such as English and math.
Superintendent Anne S. Wilson showed the School Committee charts that indicated that Sudbury's students are testing above the state average in all schools, grades and subject matters.
"It's just nice to know that we are above the state average, which is where we aspire to be. We're striving towards 100% proficiency," she said, about proficiency figures that ranged from 92 percent to 97 percent.
Sudbury also showed improvement from its 2008 scores, which were already higher than the state average.
"We have some really phenomenal rankings here," said Wilson, presenting a chart from Boston.com that showed where districts stand among 301 school districts. "Frequently, we're in the top 20, or top 10."
Assistant Superintendent Todd Curtis showed charts that detailed test results over a number of years, when many of the same students were progressing through the grades and remaining consistent or improving their test scores. Sudbury's school population tends to be steady enough for long-term charts to have value, he said.
"Everyone involved should be congratulated," Robison said.
Wilson did point out that "this is one measure that we use to gather information about how our students are doing. But it's only one piece." She added that school officials use more than one method to assess student learning and prefer not to place too much emphasis on any one method.
Wilson also updated the School Committee on the search for a new principal for Loring Elementary School. She said the position will be advertised beginning the week of Oct. 15, and then a committee will review applications and begin setting up an interview schedule for finalists. She said there is no deadline date for the hiring of the new principal, since the committee will take some time to see how the process unfolds before setting a firm date for the new principal to start his or her new position.
Wilson also asked the School Committee to accept a donation from national retailer Target for $610.36 to benefit the Nixon school. It's part of a program that allows shoppers to designate a school to receive one percent of their purchase amount.
"It does make a difference," Wilson noted.