Fred Fantini for School Committee, 2013
Fantini, 64, a lifelong resident of Cambridge and graduate of Cambridge Public Schools, is serving his 15th term on the committee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Bentley College and a master’s degree in management from Cambridge College. He recently retired as deputy treasurer in the Town of Arlington.
Compiled from the candidate’s words in publicly available sources
Committee’s top achievement, in his words:
The implementation of the Innovation Agenda – which created four middle schools, one K-8 Amigos immersion school and 11 new K-5 schools, along with providing a capital plan that will create three new or renovated schools starting with the King school on Putnam Avenue – is the most significant achievement. Creating the middle schools ensures that all students will receive the same rigorous curriculum and enter the high school ready to learn. The entire School Committee was involved in the adoption of the Innovation Agenda, ensuring enough budgetary support was made available. These were bold actions that broke with tradition and ruffled more than a few feathers in Cambridge. I believe they will stand the test of time and prove to benefit students and families over the long term.
His contribution to it:
I was the co-chairman of the capital planning committee of the Innovation Agenda that worked with school and city officials to ensure the capital piece was an integral part of our plan.
His own top achievement for the term:
I have worked for many years toward having more rigorous standards in math. This term those efforts have led to a significant improvement in math in the district.
At the elementary level, we are piloting a curriculum called Math in Focus, which is based on the highly regarded and internationally proven Singapore Math curriculum.
At the middle-school level, we implemented a model of having two teachers in every math class in sixth grade, with the goal of reaching more students at their levels. After a review and evaluation, we will be able to decide whether that model should be extended to other grades or amended in any way. Also, we are finally making progress towards the long-standing goal of Algebra for All in eighth grade. The standards for Algebra I have changed, and been strengthened, in the past few years as a result of curriculum changes at the state and national level. This raising of the bar is welcome news for those of us who have advocated strongly for higher-level instruction that is available to all students. Cambridge is finally setting specific goals for more students to have the opportunity and encouragement to do a full Algebra I course before high school. This year the program includes an accelerated pathway for eighth-grade math. Next year the plans are for the program to be more fully developed, and include a seventh- and eighth-grade combined pathway. I have constantly brought up the need for a clear goal for more students to be prepared and encouraged and supported to be on the accelerated pathway. I hope that in five years time, the “accelerated” pathway will be the norm for our eighth graders.
At the high school level, the offerings of math courses continues to improve. There are now three AP-level courses for students who have the preparation for the higher levels: calculus (AB and BC levels); statistics; and computer science. There are also ongoing discussions of how to ensure that students who are not as well prepared, and/or need more time on task to grasp the material still have a pathway to higher-level courses. Finally, Cambridge is starting to live up to its potential as a district in a science, math and technology center of the country.