NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) — Massachusetts’ new Secretary of Education visited western Massachusetts on Monday.

There were a few key points that were important to Dr. Patrick Tutwiler while visiting the school like behavioral and attendance issues in the wake of COVID as well as sufficient funding for schools across the Commonwealth.

Along with local officials, Senator Jo Comerford, and other members of the western Massachusetts legislative delegation, the new Massachusetts Secretary of Education, Dr. Patrick Tutwiler toured two schools on Monday afternoon. Dr. Tutwiler first toured Bridge Street Elementary School in Northampton where he spoke to local politicians, school staff, and he got to have a first hand look at what a student’s experience is like.

“It was a wonderful visit to the classrooms to interact with the students. This is a wonderful school with lots of really great things happening and it’s just an honor to be here,” expressed Massachusetts Secretary of Education, Dr. Patrick Tutwiler.

It was a busy day for the Secretary where he walked the halls, participated in a math class, went to recess, and even signed some autographs for the students. While the secretary was inspired and happy with his tour of the school, he does still acknowledge that a lot of work still needs to be done.

One issue that was brought up was that Northampton receives relatively low funding from the state for its public schools because of its median income. But, many of the wealthier children go to private schools and so the public schools within the city are lacking funds.

“It’s a complicated matter, one that we’re committed to addressing. I think the first step is understanding it deeply, working in partnership with the delegation, and then listing to the people who are on the ground, the leadership in these parts, so we can come up with a better solution for those schools and districts,” said Tutwiler.

The Secretary went on to visit Pioneer Valley Regional High School in Northfield later in the day.