Sunday, July 21, 2024

Incumbent first elected in December 2022 running for committee for the second time

The candidate’s website | Email | (617) 299-9597

Background: Teaching and school administration, anti-Apartheid activism  | Focuses: Transparency, accountability, closing the achievement gap


Compiled by Alex Bowers

1. What are the top three issues you would like to address if elected?

The top three issues I would like to address if reelected are:

  • Transparency: Publish data on student performance (As a co-author of the historic Concerned Black Staff Report: “An Enrollment Study of Minority Academic Achievement At The Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, 1985-86” we produced the first statistical results of the academic achievement gap at CRLS, using CRLS’s academic course data. The district subsequently produced Student Achievement Data Reports for many years.)
  • Accountability: Set standards for service delivery
  • Focusing on the Achievement gap: Target the factors that influence achievement in 3rd grade reading and 8th grade math, especially for students of color and with high needs

2. Using the Excel tutoring initiative as an example, explain how you would identify goals, monitor progress, and evaluate the effectiveness of a district program.

The district has identified the goals of the Excel tutoring initiative, which is a plan to provide strategic tutoring to students, in K through 5 who score below grade level and in grades 6 -8 who are two years below grade level, for three sessions weekly. The district plan includes monitoring for student growth and an evaluation process for the program. My responsibility as a member of the school committee is to support the district’s plan and to review the district’s adherence to its stated goals and process. 

3. What processes would you put into place to encourage parents and caregivers to have a voice in shaping the district’s priorities?

To encourage parents and caregivers to have a voice in shaping the district’s priorities, I am interested in improved communication of school committee policies, meetings, subcommittee meetings, and topical roundtables as an opportunity to hear from parents and caregivers. Our budget process will begin earlier and has been expanded for the upcoming year in response to criticism of the last budget process. In addition, I am supporting the improvement of the district’s website, as well as publication and dissemination of important district policies through our schools as the central point of contact for our parents and caregivers, especially those who do not have adequate Internet access. 

4. How can the district improve its efforts to provide culturally sensitive instruction tailored to student interests, skill sets, and ambitions in light of the diversity of student experiences?

In order to improve the district’s efforts to provide culturally sensitive instruction tailored to student interests, skill sets, and ambitions, this work must be ongoing work and intentional; and it must be a collaboration of district and school leaders, academic coordinators, and teachers, along with our Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and  involve professional development and training goals, the review of curriculum materials and classroom practices, along with the evaluation of student performance and attrition data, and the collection of student climate and qualitative assessment of their learning experiences. This work must be done with an equity lens that includes and respects all aspects of the diversity of our student population.

5. How do you propose to improve educators’ experiences (for instance, professional development, workload, and evaluations) in the district?

As a former teacher in several capacities at CRLS, I was always evaluated, with the opportunity to set goals, be observed and then evaluated, along with the opportunity to follow-up, review, and comment on my progress and evaluation. In addition, the evaluation process allowed for my students to evaluate me, and my students’ surveys were always included with my self-assessment as part of my process.  As the assistant principal of CRLS for five years, I had the responsibility to and did evaluate teachers and staff at CRLS according to the requirement of the contract.

I support the district goal for 100 percent evaluation of teachers and school personnel, with the support for goal setting and personal improvement opportunities. I propose to improve educators’ experiences with quantitative and qualitative assessments of their professional development offerings and experiences. The district has contracted for workload assessments and I look forward to the data being shared, reviewed, and discussed at a future school committee meeting or roundtable. 

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Rachel Weinstein for School Committee, 2019