“It’s top down and bottom up, which is the best way to achieve goals,” Nicholson said.
Mayor Jeannette McCarthy , who also serves as the School Committee’s chairwoman, said that although she appreciates the state’s review, she hopes the report will not taint the city’s reputation.
She said that many people rave about the district’s special education program, and noted that Waltham’s schools are lauded for its small classroom sizes due to a low teacher-to-student ratio.
“We had management issues that needed to be addressed, and they were,” McCarthy said. “We are a city, not a town — we’re not a bedroom community, and as such, we have greater needs. But I think overall we’re moving in the right direction.”
School Committee member Edmund Tarallo also said he thought the district’s improvements were overlooked.
“I feel like the report comes off rather negative at the beginning, but getting through it and looking at what it is, we’re doing some things rather well, and that’s sometimes overlooked,” Tarallo said, noting that Waltham High was upgraded this year from a level three school to level one, the highest mark an institution can receive.
And Nicholson — who is about halfway through a three-year contract — said she “most certainly” sees herself serving as the district’s top administrator for years to come.
“I’m very proud to be superintendent in Waltham,” she said. “We have significant resources, but a lot of things just were not connecting. We have seen that, but we are all working tirelessly to connect everything in the district now.”
Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.