Friday, July 19, 2024

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

The candidate’s website | FacebookTwitter | Email | (857) 600-1265


Background: Teaching and education | Focuses: Racial equity, “A Champion for Every Child” role model program


Q&A

Compiled by Alex Bowers

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

  • Our students are still catching up from the pandemic, both academically and socially. We need to engage them in rigorous, interesting work that connects them with peers. 
  • Each student should have an adult navigator (or champion) who is helping them access extracurricular activities that excite them, as well as tutoring or other resources as needed. 
  • Our schools ARE the educators and staff – they need to feel respected, valued, and seen as partners with the administration.

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.

Cambridge Public Schools programs should have clear, measurable goals, as well as timelines for evaluation. The Excel tutoring program needs a SMART goal – for what percentage or number of students are we aiming to accelerate learning over what period of time? Progress monitoring needs to include a comparison of students who participate in Excel (since the program is optional) with students who were similarly struggling and did not receive tutoring. Additionally, with multiple delivery models, there should be comparisons to suggest which program elements were most effective (e.g., do students who have snacks and relationship-building at afterschool progress more quickly? How about students working with a school-based teacher?).

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

I would like to see routine listening sessions with families at each school. This would provide important opportunities for parents and caregivers to share what is/not working. From these open-ended conversations (as well as surveys and focused meetings), we can identify themes, as well as individuals interested in collaborating on particular issues.

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? 

There are multiple scorecards and tools available for evaluating curricula for cultural responsiveness. Some educators and departments have used such resources when updating instructional materials. We should widen this practice to all curricular reviews. As for the diversity of student skill sets, teacher preparation programs rarely train educators to teach heterogeneous groups, so the district needs to provide such support. One place this is done well is in the multi-aged classrooms at the Tobin Montessori school. 

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

The Cambridge Public School District is an organization full of smart, dedicated people who want to do right by children. That’s a wonderful thing! Where we struggle is in collaborative processes that elicit everyone’s best thinking to get a stronger, more sustainable outcome or plan. If re-elected, I will continue to push for more inclusive processes. Please learn more about my work at rachelforcambridge.com/blog. Thank you for your consideration.


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Rachel Weinstein for School Committee, 2019