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Thank you for visiting this website to learn more about my work and accomplishments on the School Committee.
This coming School Committee election is important. I am seeking re-election for a third term because the Cambridge Public Schools need leaders who are committed to our public school education and understand the role of the School Committee. I believe I am uniquely qualified because I have worked on the School Committee and I have been a middle school teacher working with students in the classroom.
At this important time of transition in our schools, my qualifications position me as an experienced advocate for our students, teachers and families. I also believe the School Committee is stronger with my teaching experience, my understanding of Cambridge, and my ability and dedication to collaborate, listen, learn and make decisions for the betterment of our children.
There is much on the School Committee's agenda to help improve our public schools, and I hope to continue my service to the wonderful children, families and educators that make up our vibrant public school community.
It has been an honor serving on the Cambridge School Committee, and I hope that you will give me your #1 VOTE on November 8th.
I grew up in Connecticut, earned a B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and a M.A. in Teaching from Simmons College, after which I spent twelve years teaching middle school social studies in the Newton Public Schools. During that time, I served as a member of the Teacher Advisory Board of Facing History and Ourselves, an internationally recognized curriculum for teaching tolerance; a Team Leader and Department Chair at Day Junior High School and Bigelow Middle School, where I helped develop benchmarks for middle school social studies; and was a mentor for new teachers and student teachers. When my children started public school, I became an active volunteer in their preschools and elementary schools. I served as Co-Chair of the Graham and Parks Steering Committee (School Council) for four years, and I have been a member of the School Committee for two terms.
In order to achieve these ambitious goals, we must insist that all CPS principals, teachers and staff are held accountable to established standards and have the support and supervision necessary to achieve their own professional best.
Successful Implementation of the Innovation Agenda
The Innovation Agenda provides an excellent opportunity to create an improved learning and teaching environment for our middle-grade students, teachers, staff administrators, and community members. With the Innovation Agenda, we will get another opportunity to really get to know your kids and for them to get to know one another before they launch into the high school.
As a successful collaborator on the School Committee with middle school experience and an understanding of the issues, challenges, and opportunities that are unique to Cambridge; I will continue to:
School Department Budget, Administration and Superintendent
Cutting millions of dollars from any budget causes a great deal of frustration and divisiveness within a community; however, we must be prepared and willing to prioritize and work together. If re-elected, I promise to push for this type of communication and collaboration to continue.
We need to make sure that the school budget remains focused directly on improving teaching and learning. We need to spend money where it will have the most impact - the classroom.
School Department Administration-Superintendent-Role of the School Committee
I believe the leadership of any organization sets the tone that makes the organization successful. For sustained progress in the schools, the School Committee must be a positive force for change, develop shared priorities, and work collaboratively to ensure an excellent education for all.
I will continue to listen with an open mind, do my best to understand the issues, and respond to the diverse families of Cambridge. As a former public school teacher, I am a vigorous ambassador for public education. As a parent of two children, I am sensitive to the diverse needs of all learners and know how to work within the system for the community. As a member of the Cambridge School Committee, I know how to work for the system that serves the community.
This goal came from the strategic plan developed by the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Youth Services, which I chaired along with City Councillor Sam Seidel. The Shared Youth, Shared Strategies plan seeks to unite city agencies, schools and community partners to greatly enhance out-of-school-time opportunities for middle school youth and families across the city.
The Shared Youth, Shared Strategies plan begins with and builds from a single citywide strategic goal:
This strategic plan has provided Dr. Young, the School Committee and the CPS administration and teachers with valuable information that will help us while we are implementing the Innovation Agenda. We need to be creative and develop innovative models to help our young people acquire the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st century.
No system can do it alone, and it is important that the School Committee and City Council continue to collaborate and communicate with each other. I am extremely proud of the work Sam and I have done to foster this relationship between the elected officials of Cambridge. However, the Shared Youth, Shared Strategies plan is only a start, and if re-elected, I promise to continue leading the effort to accomplish our goal and continue to put the plan into action.
Teacher Evaluations and Performance Measures
All over Massachusetts, including Cambridge, teachers are retiring and leaving the profession. Especially now, the Cambridge Public Schools need to be proactive in retaining teachers and hiring excellent new teachers from diverse backgrounds. The best way to keep new teachers is to provide them with helpful and supportive mentors. Teaching can be isolating; therefore, we need to continue striving for a structure that provides time for teachers to collaborate and learn from each other.
Excellent teachers love teaching, have high expectations for their students, and believe all kids can achieve academic success. They build safe and respectful classroom communities and work well with students, families, administrators, and other colleagues. This is a challenging task, which is why our teachers deserve expert supervision, meaningful feedback, appreciation and respect. Teachers need to know their strengths and work with other professionals to grow and improve. Administrators must understand what constitutes superior teaching practices, and they need the time to complete their evaluations and have the support to make tough decisions when necessary. Fortunately, we have a very good working relationship with the Cambridge Teacher's Association, and as a member of the School Committee I will continue to support that relationship.
Research shows that safe schools help students achieve more academically and have better social skills. Also, teachers are more effective and offer higher quality instruction, and all children feel part of a community and more positive about school. Over the past several years, more and more teachers have been trained in Developmental Design and Responsive Classroom (Professional development that offers a variety of strategies designed to keep students safe, connected, responsible, and engaged in learning.) These programs have received positive feedback, and we need to continue monitoring and evaluating their effectiveness. We also need to continue to identify places in the required curriculum where social and emotional skills can be taught. It is hard work, but it needs to be done.
As the member of the city's Healthy Children Task Force, a coalition devoted to promoting children's health in Cambridge, I have seen how this task force uses prevention strategies and existing community resources to enhance and link programs in areas such as mental health, physical health, and violence prevention. I am also the School Committee representative to the Kids' Council, a board dedicated to improving the quality of life for our city's children, youth and their families through making policy recommendations and setting up programs and services. In these difficult economic times, I will continue to advocate for strengthening the partnership between the schools and the work of the Healthy Children Task Force and the Kids' Council, as well as continue to support prevention and intervention programs that help our students stay or get healthy (mentally and physically). If you come to school sick, scared, tired, abused, hungry, or depressed, you will not be able to succeed. The community needs to support the "whole child and family" both in and out of school.
Controlled Choice and Student Assignment Policies
However, we are faced with many challenges because of our Controlled Choice Policy. We are a community that values both diversity and choice. Yet we often face a dilemma because when families are given a choice as to what school they want their children to attend, the results are all too often schools that are not diverse. We have to address these very important and sensitive issues. Here are just a few:
It is important that the next School Committee continue to work with the administration to tackle these complicated issues. Our system of choice is challenging, complicated and messy, but we do have to address these very important and sensitive issues and focus on high quality economically integrated schools.
MCAS and Measuring Student Achievement
Enrollment and the Marketing of Public Schools vs. Charter Schools and Private
CCTV candidate video (2011)
|Page last updated Friday, September 30, 2011 3:45 PM||Cambridge Candidates|