I am one Tolland Mom who has nothing but praise for our children’s 39 years in Tolland’s public schools. Do the math.…3 children, grade K through grade 12 = 39 years!
Recently, there have been numerous negative comments in the Patch concerning Tolland’s school system. An outspoken number of parents believe that our Tolland schools do not live up to their dreams of perfect all-around education for their children.
As a senior resident of Tolland for 43 years and registered Independent, be aware that politics play no part in my personal praise of Tolland schools. Concerned citizens have indicated that we seniors should move out of town now that we are out of the educational loop. It is a fact that our children have finished school, but we are not planning a move to Florida or to a retirement community to get out of the way of Tolland’s younger and seemingly more affluent and more intelligent? movers and shakers. We do still care what becomes of Tolland's youngest citizens.
My husband and I hold advanced college degrees, and education has always been a priority. A decision was made, early on, to send our three children through the Tolland school system, Tolland kindergarten to Tolland High School. Parker Elementary School (formerly Meadowbrook), Tolland Middle School and Tolland High School offered small-town personal education and that was good enough for us. We briefly considered area private schools, but decided against taking the children away from friends and solid small-town values.
School problems that arose over the years were addressed immediately in our home. We were the parents and that was our responsibility! We never expected teachers to know and understand our children the way we did. When our son had an early math problem, we hired a private tutor and gladly paid the fee. All three children had private music instruction and we gladly paid the fees. It was the time for our children to experience their dreams and their opportunity to excel. Family vacations and superfluous activities were put on hold.
Our elementary school principal at the time, Bob Lincoln, knew me well and was never surprised to get a phone call. He likely doesn’t recall my request, first day of one school year, to change one of our son’s teachers. I phoned him immediately because I knew that this was not the best teacher for our son and might result in poor performance. Bob likely doesn’t remember another conversation when I asked him if he would like our very talkative and overly sociable son to move in with him until high school graduation!
Homework was top priority in our home. It was our responsibility each and every school day to make certain that homework was checked and completed. Remember, there were no home computers at that time which meant numerous trips to our former very small Tolland Library (now Tolland Historical Society) for books and research.
There was plenty of time left for extra-curricular activities and sports enjoyed by our children. If there had been a fee for cross country, baseball, extra science or math activities, we would have gladly paid the fees. Band instruments were our responsibility and we wrote the checks for used and new instruments as needed. We are not wealthy, but the children came first.
We told our daughter and two sons to "reach for the stars" and they were able to do this through the Tolland public school system. Our daughter is a respected Developmental Pediatrician specializing in autism, physical and mental disabilities and holds M.D. & D.M.D. degrees. She is on staff at Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore. Both our sons graduated from top-rated universities and hold advanced degrees and financial letters in accounting and business administration. And, by the way, you won’t hear any of this from our children, modest about their accomplishments. My husband and I are proud to do the bragging for them.
Our 3 children did exceedingly well without a multi-million dollar state of the art high school, without an expanded town library, without all the extras that have seemingly become so necessary and important to some Tolland residents.
In conclusion, take responsibility for your children’s educations. Encourage them and give them the confidence to succeed in life. This is your job as parents. True, “It takes a village to raise a child, ” but it takes involved parents to guide a child on the road to success. Don’t expect the Tolland school system and teachers to perform your miracles. IT’S ALL UP TO YOU!