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Losing Art Staff

In preparing next year's budget, the Longmeadow School Committee asked the Longmeadow High School principal to cut three full time teaching positions. One cut is coming from the English department, and one from math. Class sizes in those departments will be larger and teaching will be harder. We are getting the last cut in my department. I chair the LHS Art Department. Our cut's name is Cara Taylor.
Cara has been with us for three years. She is everything you want a young teacher to be: energetic, committed, creative, hard-working, responsible. She has great rapport with her students and colleagues. She has great ideas. She went beyond just teaching well. She applied for and received two LEEF grants, running an Empty Bowl Project and bringing in a series of guest artists to work with our students.
We are sick about losing Cara. We lose a lot when we lose Cara. We lose her youth, her energy and her insight. But mostly we lose her excellence. We will stretch ourselves to cover her courses and make classes run. But our sculpture program will suffer without her expertise.
Hopefully another school district will be lucky enough to scoop Cara up. Hopefully they will be able to keep her and hopefully she'll continue a stellar career. Longmeadow is missing out on a great young teacher. I've been in education a long time. I understand budgets and numbers and revenues. I get it but I'm not happy about it. When the good ones go, it really hurts. Keep the good, young teachers in mind when you support (or don't support) budgets and the people who make financial decisions in your school district.

Deborah Callahan
Art Department Chair and art teacher, Longmeadow High School