102915i-Pia-CisterninoFrom the Committee to Elect Pia Cisternino to School Committee, Oct. 29, 2015: Pia Cisternino is the only School Committee candidate with expertise in early childhood education. Pia received her master’s degree from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in speech-language pathology, with a specialty in early childhood development. She also received a master’s degree in poetry from Johns Hopkins University. She is the parent of three children, and has spent the past three years as co-chairwoman of the Cambridge Parents Advisory Council on Special Education. Read what longtime Cambridge Public Schools kindergarten teacher Jim St. Clair and others have to say about why they are supporting Pia for School Committee on Nov. 3:

Jim St. Clair, kindergarten teacher: “I am supporting Pia Cisternino for Cambridge School Committee. Pia is a much-needed voice for developmentally appropriate practices in the early grades. As a kindergarten teacher for many years, I am disheartened at the direction learning in the early years is headed. Research tells us that young children learn best by hands-on experiences in collaboration with other children and adults, around themes that interest them. Yet I see blocks, sand tables, water tables and dramatic play areas disappearing from classrooms. Pia is a strong advocate for pushing back against this trend. She knows the kind of learning that will best prepare children for life in the 21st century.”

Julie Duncan, CPS parent and special education teacher: “I’m supporting Pia because of her many years of leadership within the Cambridge Public Schools advocating for all our children, and particularly those with special needs. Her collaborative approach to working with teachers and families will be a great asset to the School Committee.”

Melissa Preston Bulyko, East Cambridge resident and former co-chairwoman of Cambridge CPAC: “Pia is getting my No. 1 vote. The School Committee needs a person like Pia. She has boundless energy and passion for change, and a wonderful curiosity that keeps her searching for a better, different way to do things in education. Pia would work collaboratively and respectfully with other members to make positive changes, and would be a truly valuable addition to our School Committee.”

Diane Levin, Cambridge resident and professor of early childhood education at Wheelock College: “I endorse Pia as a candidate who supports play-based early education.”

Antonia Foster, CPS parent: “I’m giving Pia my No. 1 vote – she’s committed to child-centered education here in Cambridge and has the knowledge, experience and wisdom we need in our School Committee members. Less testing, more learning!”

Lynne Hall, Cambridge resident and curriculum specialist for kindergarten grants at CPS: “It is critical to have early childhood voices on the School Committee. Pia would bring that expertise and would be a wonderful addition.”