One of the things that I’ve found great about having a contested race is that it gives voters an opportunity to look past the political soundbites and make an informed decision before heading to the polls. It also forces candidates to sharpen their thinking about the issues and articulate to the voters why they should be elected.
Such is the case with the issue of our underperforming schools, as writing about it and talking about it with voters has allowed a number of disparate thoughts to coalesce in my mind into an overall strategy for moving ahead.
I believe that every aspect of what we do as a school district needs to be refocused towards driving student growth and achievement.
Each of these items is necessary, but none by themselves will be sufficient to move the needle as far as we need to in order to give all of our students the education that they deserve.
Know Where You’re Going and Develop a Plan to Get There – we need to set specific goals centered on student growth and achievement and continue the multi-year strategic planning work that is already underway.
Standardize and Refine Teaching Practices – using the Collective Turnaround Planning work being done in our underperforming elementary schools as a springboard, we need to incrementally refine our teaching practices and make them consistent across the district.
Implement “Zero-Based” Budgeting – our Superintendent has heeded the call from me and others on the School Committee to do a systematic reassessment of where we’re allocating our resources.
Reexamine School Choice and Student Placement/Transfers – I believe that our current policies and practices have exacerbated the achievement gap between our schools.
Strengthen Parent and Community Engagement – we need to make every effort to engage parents in the educational process and work with community partners to provide assistance and support.
Broaden our View – historically, schools focus on what happens during the school day and during the school year from ages 5-18; we need to take a broader view and invest in early childhood education as well as before school, after school and summer programming in order to prepare our kids for school and sustain what is learned in the classroom.
Keep our Eyes on the Ball – we need to maintain our focus on student growth and achievement and not let ourselves get distracted by things that pull us away from our mission.
As you can see, this is not for the faint of heart to undertake.
However, I have full confidence in the success of our Superintendent provided that he has a strong School Committee with which he can effectively collaborate and who can simultaneously support and challenge him.
I have the breadth and depth of experience in our school district as well as the professional skills to play a significant role in this transformative work.
For the voters in District 3 I humbly ask for your vote on Tuesday, November 7th.
Framingham School Committee
Candidate for Framingham School Committee – District 3