102813i-Fran-Cronin

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Fran Cronin is a single parent who moved to Cambridge after the death of her husband, a Cambridge native, and raised two children on her own – one honors, one special needs.

She has served as co-chairwoman of the Parent Advisory Council for Children with special needs; served as an officer of the Cambridge R & Latin School Council and co-founded MPACT, a parent advocacy group.

Fran grew up in a family committed to the power of quality public education. She and her three brothers all graduated from their public high school; her mother taught public elementary school for more than 30 years and one brother was a public elementary school vice principal. Fran is a certified Orton-Gillingham teacher and has tutored and taught in public schools.

Compiled from the candidate’s words in publicly available sources

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Cronin’s top three priorities:

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Bridging community resources with schools to support all students and families. As a mother of two children, I know firsthand what it takes for families to advocate for their students’ needs. Cambridge is uniquely rich in resources, yet we still don’t get the outcomes we expect. Both the public and private sectors of our city offer much to our community, but accessing the right network of support is often hard work – and it shouldn’t be that tough. Whether a student is an accelerated or challenged learner, we must do a better job aligning enrichment resources and academic supports with the real needs of our students and families.

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Making sure the Innovation Agenda delivers on its promise. As a member of the School Committee, I will focus on realizing the promise of the Innovation Agenda. The IA is a bold and ambitious restructuring of our upper school program designed to better prepare our middle school students for the rigors of high school and to build larger cohorts for out-of-school time programming. With our sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students now in five school communities, the bridge between middle school and high school is better supported.

While much work has been accomplished, implementation is uneven and the potential of the IA not fully realized. It is my goal to make sure the School Committee remains focused in helping the IA achieve its goals. The students, faculty, administrators and families of Cambridge all deserve to see this vision fulfilled. Being prepared for high school is a critical step toward graduating with success.

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Our youngest learners need to enter our elementary school program equally prepared. Universal access to quality early childhood education ensures our youngest learners are equally prepared for the social, emotional and academic challenges upon entering our elementary school program. Research, observation and experience all indicate that unequal preparation upon entering school is the beginning of an achievement gap, which often widens as our students move into higher grades.

Cambridge is proud of its diversity and the enrichment it adds to our pubic school culture. But the diversity we cherish can also be a challenge: 45 percent of our students come from low-income households, 20 percent get special education services and more than 30 percent come from households where English is not the first language. School is where our community comes together, and we need to make sure that every student enters kindergarten prepared to learn. Access to high-quality preschool is crucial to the success of our many students who are cut out of the lottery or can’t afford private preschool.

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