by George J Elbaum
Natick High School is an urban/suburban public high school serving 1732 students in grades 9–12. It rates quite well in academic performance, with state standardized test scores vs. state averages of 79% vs.61% in English, 63% vs. 30% in Science, 65% vs. 36% in Physics, and 80% vs. 59% in Math. Per Great Schools Ratings, this suggests that “most students at this school are performing at or above grade level.”
The school also has a strong arts program: in drama it produces two full-length plays each year; it has an award-winning speech and debate team that won the Massachusetts Forensic League State Championship and has had multiple state and national champions; its music program provides students with a rich selection of vocal and instrumental ensembles including Concert Choir and Symphonic Band that have won gold medals in state competition.
My presentation was organized by Social Studies teacher Justin Voldman for 24 students from his class Holocaust and Genocide and a similar number from Global Studies class of teacher Shawn’Tay Burton, who attended the session with her students. Approximately half of the students take the Holocaust elective at some point in their time at Natick. Student preparation was evident by their thoughtful questions during the Q & A. My talk was arranged by Jeff Smith of Facing History and Ourselves.