OPED: Fairfield schools ranked in Connecticut’s Top 10
It was great to read in early August in the Connecticut Post that Fairfield schools were in the top 10 in the state. I learned that we were number 9, “scoring ahead of Greenwich, Ridgefield and West Hartford.” But I certainly wasn’t surprised.
According to the piece I read, “ Each Connecticut district received a letter grade for Academics, Health and Safety, Teachers, Diversity, College Prep, Clubs and Activities, Administration, Sports, Food and Resources and Facilities. Our district scored an A+.”
In addition, according to Niche, the data compiler for the study, Fairfield teachers were ranked 3rd best in Conn., Fairfield was considered 7th best place to teach in Connecticut, we were the 10th safest district in Conn. and we were the 16th best district for athletes in Conn. Those scores only reinforced what an excellent education our daughters received in Fairfield schools in the 80s and how well prepared they were ultimately to face the rigors of college environments.
Particularly in the athletics area, our older daughter Stacey was on the track team in her last couple of years at what was then Fairfield High School and the track program was outstanding. While she didn’t attempt to make the track team in college, Stacey went on to coach track for two years at Kennedy High School in Waterbury where she teaches now.
Stacey completed her entire master’s program in Special Education and Reading at Southern Connecticut State University. She credits her success in the field to the foundation she received in Fairfield schools.
And 7 years ago, for a short time, before joining the Kennedy staff in Waterbury, Stacey actually substituted in Special Education at Fairfield Warde and found her time there extremely valuable. Some of her former teachers were still at Fairfield Warde and I was a substitute many times at that school, so we were often in the same classrooms.
Our younger daughter Jeri received an excellent education as well at Fairfield High School and went on to pursue a degree in Spanish at Southern Connecticut State and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
Both girls also benefitted from their guidance counselors who I thought were among the most professional and qualified people I’ve met. And they were excellent representatives of the district. And I would say the same about teachers and counselors across the board in our schools.
I know a lot about the quality of teaching and education from my days of subbing in Fairfield’s high schools and middle schools for five years from 2008 to 2013 before I joined a charter school staff in Bridgeport. And I taught a short program for Junior Achievement at McKinley school and was extremely impressed with the elementary school staff and all that they were doing with younger children.
I know many teachers in the district and believe that the Niche data findings were spot on. As this new school year begins, it’s great to know that students at all levels are in the most capable teaching hands.
In acknowledging the quality of our Fairfield schools I would, of course, add Unquowa, Prep, Notre Dame and our archdiocese schools to the roster of outstanding places to teach and for students to attend. These schools have, like our public schools, always maintained the highest academic standards and send their graduates to some of the finest colleges in the nation.
When our kids went to school, we weren’t in any financial position to afford high private school tuitions, but we never had any hesitation in sending them to Fairfield public schools. From what I can remember, back in the 80s, at least 70 percent to 80 percent of our students were college bound and many were accepted to the finest colleges in the country.
As our schools welcome students back this week, I hope that administrators and teachers will share the Niche data information with their students and families. I feel a great deal of pride that our daughters had the benefit of being in Fairfield schools and I applaud the district for its recognition by Niche.
Steven Gaynes is a Fairfield writer, and his “In the Suburbs” appears each Friday. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.