.

Potesak, Jr.: "I Know What It's Like To Be In The Current Morgan School"

"Voters, I am asking you to stop thinking about yourself and look at the future of this town."

 

This letter is written by Sheldon Potesak:

My 9 year old sister and I were walking in the Morgan hallway before her dance recital, as we were walking a piece of the ceiling fell on her head and she started crying. She looked up at me shedding tears and asked me, "Sheldon I don’t want to go to this school it's too old."  Since that day it's been my job to make sure we get new school.

I am 20 years old and will never get a chance to use this new high school. My friends are asking me why do I support a new high school? First reason is because of my 9 year old sister.

Clinton needs to attract a new wave of teachers. From 1st grade to 12th grade I can honestly say from every teacher I had, there were about 5 credible teachers that actually knew how to teach and those teachers know who they are. We need Clinton to have a new high school where credible teachers will want to go.

Better public school education is key to success. The technology in Morgan is some-what comparable to my grandfather's house. Laptops barely work, no Wi-Fi, computers are out dated, there are not enough computers, etc. For example Branford schools have Ipads for their students. It would be oxymoron to have Ipads for students with pieces of the ceiling falling on students' heads. With a new school comes a new breed of students, technology, teachers and great atmosphere.

I do understand with every positive there is a negative. I do understand about the taxes and mill rates of the town. People may move out of town or move in with this new high school. But I am asking parents and voters to look at this issue from a bigger perspective. Voters must see that yes, taxes may go up, but look at future generations. I am scared that my sister and her generation may not get the education they deserve.

Voters, I am asking you to stop thinking about yourself and look at the future of this town and the current young students in Clinton Public Education.

Since I heard voting was taking place for this issue I've been trying my best to support it. Being 20 years old as a registered college voter people think you may not know enough about the issue but I certainly do. I've been supporting through Facebook, Twitter, Clinton Patch, etc. I even helped to register voters in my age group no matter what side of the issue they were on. I know my parents are the ones paying the taxes and have to deal with the bigger issues. But I was a recent former student and know what it is actually like to be in the current Morgan. I have talked to many recent alumni and current students, most have stated we need a new school and I agree.  I wasn’t going to write this letter but after getting phone calls from a few former teachers asking me to write, I decided it was time for the young generation to act on this issue!

So please when voting, remember there's more to it then just taxes, accreditation, property values, etc. Voters must realize there's a generation that needs your help that is too young to vote. With your help we can make great changes to Clinton and watch this town transform into even a better community over the years!

-Sheldon Potesak, Jr.

Tim April 11, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Len, I just don't agree with your line of thinking. You're assuming that people and business will leave because taxes are going to be increased. You could also assume that people and business will come into the town of Clinton once the school is built, as it now looks like a town that is focused on growth and improving it's infrastructure. I don't think you can prove out either side of that discussion unless you own a crystal ball. However, if a new school isn't built, one of the things you can bank on is the town having this very same discussion not long from now. What will have changed by then? Will we finally have spent enough on patching up the old school to make building a new one seem like a good idea? A school that leaks rain water, is undoubtedly growing mold and is falling down from the inside out is an embarrassment. Be smart with your money and don't waste it, but have the vision to see an opportunity for improvement, and take it. Yes, it will cost us money. Just about anything a municipality does will cost us money...but this is what we pay taxes for: To improve our community. I don't want to hear that my taxes were raised because the town needed to add a line item for mold remediation for the current school. I'd rather they go up because the town has built something to be proud of, not because they need to slap another coat of paint on an eyesore. I'll be voting yes today.
Susan Barr April 11, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Nice letter Sheldon!!! I agree with you. I am new to Clinton. I am a single woman who owns her own home so I shere the resposibility of the tax burden. I do not nor will I have any children that will utilize the school and I am voting for it anyway!!! It just makes sense.
M.H. April 11, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Keep in mind that this letter was written by someone who thinks he had 5 credible teachers in 12 years of school. I think that calls his own credibility into question.
Steve Bristol April 11, 2012 at 05:15 PM
The author writes: "From 1st grade to 12th grade I can honestly say from every teacher I had, there were about 5 credible teachers that actually knew how to teach and those teachers know who they are." Gee, that doesn't speak well for our school system, does it all you new Morgan activists? Now, if I (or either of my sons) had written that, we'd have been figuratively taken out behind the woodshed and whipped with a switch. Besides, in order to have new teachers, positions need to be open and 'credible' teachers would need to apply and actually be hired. It also reminds me (again) of my Intro to Ed professor's comment about a good teacher being able to teach in a broom closet. RE: being approached by teachers to write--that opens another can of worms. I have spoken with many parents who have been hit by their kids with demands to vote YES. These kids aren't getting these ideas on their own, they're getting them from their teachers/administrators--even those not eligible to vote. This is sad and more than a bit troubling. We keep telling parents to be involved with their kids' education yet they're being ridiculed because of propaganda received at school. Talk about bullying!
Susan Bartone April 11, 2012 at 07:02 PM
I will tell anyone who listens that there are major problems with the education our children are receiving at Morgan and it has nothing to do with being in an older school. The problem will just be moved up the road! My vote today will be no!
MRH - Class of 2008 April 11, 2012 at 07:28 PM
As a 2008 Morgan graduate and a 21 year citizen/resident of the town of Clinton, I admire the point Sheldon is trying to get across. Many of the teachers treat high school and teaching as a joke and are not as involved as they were when they first started teaching. When both teachers of your last 2 period classes never notice your even gone from most classes than there might be a slight problem with some teachers and teaching styles. Don't get me wrong as a high school student getting off scott free from the last 2 periods after lunch was golden,,,but now that i have grown from that attitude I have noticed that this is a big problem for upcoming students of Morgan. What message is this town sending if students are able to skip classes with no repercussions? We need this new school and I believe that it is a guarantee that more teachers will want to work at a updated, more fitted school for the town of Clinton.We have a beautiful town here in Clinton and most likely the worst thing you can really say about is...our high school is outdated and has been for years...walking by trash cans in the hall that are catching rainwater, dripping from the ceiling at a constant....this is the school I learned, grew up and matured in. I don't want this to be the school my kids will attend in the future. i can't imagine what that school would look like then. I may never step foot in this new school unless I have kids, and for them, Honestly, The Morgan school right now just won't do.
MRH - Class of 2008 April 11, 2012 at 07:33 PM
As a 2008 Morgan graduate and a 21 year citizen/resident of the town of Clinton, I admire the point Sheldon is Making. Many of the teachers treat high school and teaching as a joke and aren't as involved as they were when they first started teaching. When both teachers of your last 2 period classes never notice your even gone from most classes than there might be a slight problem with some teachers and teaching styles. Don't get me wrong, as a high school student getting off scott free from the last 2 periods after lunch was golden,,,but now that i have grown from that attitude I have noticed that this is a big problem for upcoming students of Morgan. What message is this town sending if students are able to skip classes with no repercussions? We need this new school and I believe that it is a guarantee that more teachers will want to work at a updated, more fitted school for the town of Clinton.We have a beautiful town here in Clinton and most likely the worst thing you can really say about is...our high school is outdated and has been for years...walking by trash cans in the hall that are catching rainwater, dripping from the ceiling at a constant....this is the school I learned, grew up and matured in & love, but I don't want this to be the school my kids will attend in the future. i can't imagine what that school would look like then. I may never step foot in the new school unless I have kids, and for them, Quite Honestly, The Morgan school right now just won't do.
M.H. April 11, 2012 at 07:37 PM
You cut classes and blame your teachers for it? Wow. And then you use it to somehow argue that you need a new building?? Maybe if you had gone to class more often you would have developed some logic skills.
Ryan April 11, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I have to say, I really struggled with this vote. My wife is a teacher, a very good one, we left great jobs in LA to come to Connecticut. She has all of her CT certifications, and while she is being requested almost on a daily basis as a substitute teacher she still has not found an open FT position. I have no issue with raising taxes for education, but it really seems like there are some huge glaring holes in this plan, I mean for 65 million dollars that will collectively come out of our pockets I would really like some more answers here. The vacant morgan school has no guarantee on it that it can be sold, the wastewater issue, ponds closing, empty store fronts downtown, I feel like these things should all be addressed before spending 65mil on a single project filled with question marks. I am not saying we should NEVER build a new school but in this struggling economy don't we want to hold off a little longer to make sure we have a solid all around plan that addresses all of these other issues? I voted no, if the vote passes I will not be holding a grudge and will try and get excited for the new school, I just really hope it does not hurt us in the end.
Ryan April 11, 2012 at 07:49 PM
P.S. A GOOD teacher will teach ANYWHERE. They dont do it for the 38k a year and summers off, GOOD ones do it because they love it.
M.H. April 11, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Good teachers teach because of commitment, pay, benefits, working conditions. It's a big picture. Do doctors practice for love regardless of pay? Lawyers? Saying that teachers teach for love is manipulative.
Steve Bristol April 11, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Ryan...Amen...Steve
Ryan April 11, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I wouldn't at all say that it is manipulative, and don't get me wrong, there are some bad teachers out there. I would say that MOST teachers teach because they love it especially at the outset. Bringing doctos and lawyers into it to me is apples and oranges, the pay day for them can me huge. Teachers VERY rarely get over 70k per year while that is the norm for doctors and lawyers.
MRH - Class of 2008 April 11, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Oh No ! Skipping Study hall ! I missed out on so much Education! I am not blaming the teachers for my decisions...Like I said I grew up from that attitude... maybe you will too. I'm old enough to take responsibility for my actions and yea...skipping class is wrong, and Irresponsible, but who hasn't done it at least once?... If teachers had reported you and you got in trouble i bet you would think twice about doing it again. this is not about class skipping, its about defending a point made in this article about the teachers...It's about new teachers being attracted to a new school and boosting moral for old teachers. did you ever experience Morgan High for yourself?....i'm guessing no. A new school would attract many teachers and families to the town of Clinton and boost morale of current teachers at Morgan. I am not afraid to defend how i feel for the town of Clinton. The Morgan school and the town of Clinton deserve a better reputation for their education. The logic is...New school attracting more teachers and families from surrounding areas...
M.H. April 11, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Not apples and oranges. No one tries to drive down doctor and lawyer salaries by telling them to do it for love. But teachers have to hear that all the time, despite also being highly trained professionals.
Ryan April 11, 2012 at 08:25 PM
In this climate new teachers are attracted to any one who has job openings.
Ryan April 11, 2012 at 08:26 PM
Also, that last post was the fist time you mentioned that your last 2 periods after lunch were study hall, why would you even expect those teachers to care?
Ryan April 11, 2012 at 08:28 PM
I can see that a new school would attract people to move here, but they are also going to take into account all of the other issues we have and the face that we have the highest taxes on the shoreline.
M.H. April 11, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Oh, MRH, now it was just study hall you missed, and you expect teachers to waste valuable time chasing you around when they have real students to worry about? Let's see if the story changes again....
Jay April 11, 2012 at 09:02 PM
spoke to two Clinton janitors - Morgan _ "It is all a joke" "politics" " the building is in "ok" shape" -- it appears we all forgot to interview the only people who really know what the building is like from a caretakers view - not the itinerant wishes of non taxpayers, children and glory hunters.
j j April 11, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I graduated Morgan a few years back- while the school needs updating, the facilities are not the big issue. Think about it this way- during my time in the Clinton School System, there were TWO teachers arrested and fired for having sex with students, a PRINCIPAL arrested and fired for being stoned out of her mind and driving the wrong way, and I've heard ANOTHER was just fired for more inappropriate student relations. SERIOUSLY? That's one serious case every 2.5 years over the last 10 years. The new police station was supposed to stop things like that when we paid for it, the full time cop in the school was supposed to stop it as well, but that seems to not be the case. In my time at Morgan, I would test my teachers to see if they were worth my time. Once I wrote the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb" then filled in words around it to look like an essay- B+ from the teacher. Once 4 of us all handed in the same essay- we all got A's. I saw multiple teachers throw chalk at students, one would hit desks with a baseball bat to get attention- things like this would happen weekly, and these were honors and AP classes. My high school education was a complete joke, and this is coming from an honors student, college graduate, and business owner.
j j April 11, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Clinton is acting like an absent parent with this new school- you can't just throw money at something and expect it to be better. You need to spend TIME with it. Spend some money on QUALITY staff, modern programs, and some physical updating.
Sheldon Potesak jr. April 11, 2012 at 09:15 PM
I guess you could call in question my credibility but you must of forgot I've had many credible teachers at a top 200 university. For that comment however I meant to say theres only 5 credible teachers give or take at Morgan! Because we know grades k-8 don't matter and teachers wont make as big as an impact as teachers in grades 9-12
Sheldon Potesak jr. April 11, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Yes I was approached to make a statement on this issue being a recent former student. However I already made a stand on what side of the fence I was on with this issue. No teacher forced me to write this or give me information on this I was just approached. Yes this doesn't speak well on our school system people must know whats going on. PS. I am not sure what they did at Clemson but woodsheds and whipping talk about bullying/hazing days.
Sheldon Potesak jr. April 11, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Heres a question. If you were a credible teacher, who went to credible university or has credible experience, etc. Would you pick the current Morgan School over the new proposed Morgan School to teach at? I am sure any teacher in CT would pick many schools other then Morgan to teach at. But with a new school thats an appealing attraction. There maybe more to picking a school to teach at however.
Ryan April 11, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Sheldon, teachers do not just get to "pick" where they want to work, I wish they could but they can't. It can take years for positions to open up that a teacher is interested in.
Sheldon Potesak jr. April 11, 2012 at 09:36 PM
No, I understand that. I am saying if there ever was a scenario where a teacher could pick from a list of schools, would Morgan School be an attractable name on that list?
Ryan April 11, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Not as attractive as a new state of the art facility absolutely not. But I would not consider it unattractive. Listen, I am all about a new school, I just think we need a better town-wide plan.
MRH - Class of 2008 April 11, 2012 at 10:24 PM
1 of 2 was a study hall...regardless the policy was not enforced and that's just the tip of the iceberg. If teacher don't care about their class even showing up, how are they going to care to teach you when you are there. You think I don't deserve a say in an Issue because I skipped a few classes in high school? If you don't think i was considered a REAL student... and that my opinion doesn't matter cause of choices i made as a teenager, than your as shallow as they come. Good teachers takes into account their workplace, area, and demographic they would be teaching for. so i have to disagree that a good teacher will teach anywhere. A new Morgan will attract More teachers to WANT to teach there and will boost morale for current teachers and students...If students morale was diminished by the fact that their school isn't up to today's standards that would greatly decrease the potential of teachers. Teacher morale is usually a reflection of student morale.
Jim Braun April 20, 2012 at 01:57 AM
No offense to janitors, I was one in the distant past, but if the pinnacle of your professional life is attaining the title of "janitor", would you really be able to properly opine on anything related to education? Seriously Jay, I do not like a lot of your posts, but this one takes the broom. Don't for one second get me wrong here. I really did love my job as a janitor while I was in high school saving for college so I could broaden my horizons. Enough said.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »