Saturday, July 20, 2024

Incumbent first elected in 2019 running for committee for the third time

The candidate’s websiteFacebook | LinkedIn | Email | (617) 460.9277


Background: Community finance | Focuses: Early education, world language


Q&A

Compiled by Alex Bowers

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

One of my top issues is replicating programs that work – we have oversubscribed schools that have programs that show they can narrow achievement gaps. A second is evaluating the state of our older buildings so that we can prioritize their improvement needs and how to best use them for our students. A third issue is access to advanced mathematics for all students early in high school, while ensuring all students have a strong middle school mathematics foundation.

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.

One of the goals of the strategic tutoring Excel program is to help accelerate the academic growth of students that are two or more years behind in certain areas. Some ways to monitor progress will be how many of the target students are actually served and track their academic growth. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the program not only by the number of students that caught up on their target academic areas, but also that show through observation and student conferencing that they have (re-)gained joy and confidence in learning.

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

As co-chair of the budget subcommittee, I have requested to refocus the budget community meetings so that parents and caregivers have an opportunity to evaluate the district plan and suggest areas of priority where more progress is needed. The district has agreed to this change and to start community engagement earlier in the budget process. This will help ensure that the proposed priorities of new budgets include areas identified by parents and caregivers.

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?

It is true that the district has revised and updated instructional content materials (e.g., books, curriculum components) to ensure that they present the diversity of our community to our students. At the same time, we need to better include real world experiences (e.g., internships, career exploration) into our education models to better engage students. Another key area is to continue to hire, develop and train a diverse teacher body by not only making this an attractive anti-racist district to work in, but also continuing to support the development of a local pool of diverse teachers (e.g., the Cambridge Public Schools partnership with Lesley University’s Pathways for Professionals program).

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

As some might know, the school committee is tasked with, among other things, to hire, supervise, and fire a superintendent. The superintendent in turn is tasked with the management of the district within the policies (e.g., rules, laws) set by the school committee. So, the way I would improve educators’ experiences in the district is by holding the superintendent accountable in meeting the district’s plan, which includes “effective staff learning and support” as one of its four objectives. Another way is ensuring we engage and listen to all members of the community, including educators, in the revision and development of the district’s policies.