District 7 School Committee candidate Tiffanie Maskell
District 7 is Precincts 13 & 14.
Editor’s Note: If an answer is blank, the candidate chose not to answer the question.
Years lived in Framingham: 20+
Editor’s Note: Candidates were asked to provide one-word answers only. If there is no answer the candidate did not submit a response.
- Framingham Public Schools are progressing.
- What was your favorite subject in school? Science
- Should Framingham Public Schools Provide free universal preschool? maybe
- Wi-Fi access at the middle school and Framingham High is spotty.
- At this time, what letter grade would you give Superintendent of Schools Bob Tremblay? B+
- Should the $100 athletic fee be eliminated? yes
- Favorite children’s book: Danny and the Dinosaur
- What was the last Framingham Public School event you attended: Dunning PTO Meeting
- What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one): Framingham Center Common
Editor’s Note: As there have been no forums for School Committee candidates, thus far, Source decided to ask far more questions of these candidates than of the mayor and city council candidates so voters could understand where they stand on issues. Candidates were given up to 350 words to answer each question. If the candidates went over 400 words, they were cut at the closest sentence to 400. Answers to the questions are copied and pasted below.
QUESTION #1 – Why should voters in District 7 elect you to the new Framingham School Committee?
As a mom of 2 boys in the system, I would ask District 7 voters to vote for me because I am deeply invested in it’s short and long-term success. I didn’t enter this election with political aspirations. I entered it because I saw a need that, understandably, no one else in District 7 wanted to fill. We have so many hard working families/individuals in our district. This is a huge commitment. I have worked closely with many of our students, parents, teachers, and staff in our schools. I want to advocate for every child, parent, and the community in District 7.
QUESTION #2 – In your opinion what is the biggest issue facing the Framingham Public Schools? How will you work to fix it?
Our biggest issue is our 4 under-performing schools. The district accessed assistance for Schools Designated as Level 3 by Partnering with the Greater Boston District and School Improvement Center [DSAC]. At the last SC meeting, DSAC and the Principals and Vice-Principals gave a great presentation, which you can access through the SC page. It was wonderful to see their excitement and passion for the new strategies they are learning. As a school committee we need to make sure we are focused on improving learning for all students, taking these best practices to all of our schools. We need to foster that excitement and give our schools the resources that they need to succeed.
QUESTION #3 – The district has been criticized for not communicating to staff, parents, and students. What can the School Committee do to improve communication to all stakeholders? What specific steps would you take to improve communication?
While we have seen an increase in communications since the new administration, there is much to improve. Many of the constituents in District 7 have been frustrated which is understandable, having personally experienced it this year. It has to start from the top. As a school committee, We are responsible for the evaluation of the Superintendent’s effectiveness in his leadership over the operations of the district and all other assigned duties. We have to hold the administration accountable. It is also our responsibility to provide adequate and direct communication with our stakeholders about the schools and for us to keep the school staff informed about the needs and wishes of our stakeholders. Electronic communications with parents and the community are cheaper, more timely, and easier than ever for us to use. Clear, effective communication keeps all stakeholders happy.
QUESTION #4 – Should Framingham Public Schools return to neighborhoods schools? Why or why not?
It is something we need to consider. Nothing can be left off the table in looking at the future of our school district. We have transportation, capacity, and building needs. We have inequitable and under-performing schools. We need to look at all the options and decide what is the best solution for meeting our current and future needs. School Choice had it’s place, but I am not sure that is where we need to be
QUESTION #5 – One of the major roles of the School Committee is to set policy. If elected to be the School Committee member from District 7, what policy change would you recommend? Why?
To be honest, I have just started looking at our district policies. I am not currently not in a position to recommend changing policies.
QUESTION #6 – Framingham has four level 3 schools. Even some of its level 2 school have significant achievement gaps. What can you do as a School Committee member to close the achievement gap?
The most valuable investments we can make in our community is in quality early childhood education (ECE). Research has shown that for every dollar spent on ECE, $17 is saved on other social services. Children from middle and upper-class families hear, on average, 30 million more total words than those living in poverty by the time they are three years old. This difference becomes what we later perceive
as the “achievement gap.” When children, particularly those from families living in poverty, have access to high quality early childhood education through the expansion of Pre-K, they are exposed to more language and social interactions, which can help in narrowing the achievement gap. In addition, we need to implement strategies that have been proven successful. We need more paraprofessionals,
social workers, more activity throughout the day, and smaller class sizes, to ensure teachers are able to work individually with students, as needed.
QUESTION #7 – Do you support a level funded, level service, or an increase in the Framingham Public Schools
budget for the 2018-19 school year? Why?
I am not prepared to answer this until I have more information on the budget cuts identified by Dr. Tremblay.
QUESTION #8 – If you could spend $100,000 in the Framingham Public Schools, where would the money go?
If given the chance, I would invest the $100,000 in technology. We have not invested enough. If our children are to be competitive, they need the resources to do so.
QUESTION #9 – Framingham is dealing with a significant increase in student enrollment over the last decade. As soon as November 2018, voters may be asked to spend between $30 and $50 million for a new Fuller Middle School. How will you enlist support for bond issues or public school spending from conservative voters or taxpayers with no children in the public schools?
Research shows how a quality school district impacts the whole community by raising property values, lowering crime rates,
and improving the local workforce. In order to create the support needed, Voter education is essential.
QUESTION #10 – One of the complaints about the district is that there is inequity among the three middle schools. There is a reason that more than 50% of the students at the McAuliffe Charter School hail from Framingham. Superintendent Tremblay said he noticed the differences first hand during his residence program. How as a School Committee member can you make sure all students received an
equal education in grades 6-7- 8?
Parents need to have trust in the school district/school board that they have the best interests of the parents and students in mind. This does not happen when there are huge inequities between the schools. We need to insure we have a rigorous curriculum in all middle
schools. We need is to have before and after school programs, more resources that meet our teachers and students’ needs, more activity throughout the day, smaller class sizes, and to focus on STEAM to all 3 schools.
QUESTION #11 – School bus rides are inconsistent. I would fix it by reevaluating the current routes for efficiency and duration.
QUESTION #12 – You will represent a specific part of the city. How will you balance the needs of your constituents with the needs of the overall school district? Be specific in your answer.
I am committed to representing my constituents. During Committee meetings, I will always share input I have received while in schools, attending school events, attending community events, emails, or calls I receive. Sometimes the information, perspectives, and ideas shared can lead to new and even better collaborative ideas. It will take the ability to compromise and to be flexible. I recently read that the
measure of true success is not by agreement, but by respectful disagreement and spirited discussion followed by a difficult vote. And after a difficult vote, effective boards embrace the decision and move forward together.
QUESTION #13 – What do you do when a parent complaints to you about a teacher? What do you do when a teacher complains about a principal to you?
As in any other organization, there is a chain of command. If a parent complains about a teacher, they should be go to the teacher first and then to the principal if the issue is not resolved. The same goes for a teacher. He/she should go to their principal and then up the chain if the issue is not resolved.
QUESTION #14 – Name three things you have specifically done to improve education in Framingham.
I have worked hard at enhancing the enrichment of our children’s education by being involved in different roles within the PTO.
QUESTION #15 – There is criteria to measure a Superintendent. Criteria to evaluate a teacher. How should you as a School Committee member be evaluated? What three things should voters hold you accountable for? Why?
I should be evaluated on my understanding of the needs of students, parents, teachers, staff, and the community at large, as well as the overall District’s needs; my relationship with the administration; and the district’s financial accountability and academic achievement. ‘
Voters should hold me accountable for my attendance, professional development, and my communication because I am their representative on the committee.