The pandemic has left our schools with unprecedented challenges and unique opportunities. The choices we make now will determine the direction of Somerville Public Schools for years to come.
As a teacher and school leader, I learned to create systems to improve student learning, earning a Top Gains Award from the state three years in a row for our ability to close academic gaps. To close such gaps in Somerville, we must monitor our progress toward equity goals throughout the year and hold leaders accountable if we see ourselves falling short. We need to invest in the supports our high needs students and students of color require, and ensure a district culture that truly believes ALL students can achieve at high levels. From diversity that celebrates the worth of all students to a whole-child education that recognizes the need for development beyond classes and test scores, I will work to ensure that all children feel at home here in Somerville.
Somerville Public Schools are at an important inflection point. Our country’s response to COVID-19 was a systemic failure with damaging effects on our children. No priority is bigger than ensuring a recovery that continues to improve from our pre-pandemic schools. After working in New Orleans schools following Hurricane Katrina, I saw first hand what it takes to support students in the wake of this kind of trauma and disruption. Recovery will require setting clear metrics and goals for every student's progress. It means investing in social & emotional supports for students and staff. And it means having a serious discussion about what we can learn from Somerville's reopening process.
SOUND, SUSTAINABLE FINANCES
As Finance Director at Success Preparatory in New Orleans, my budgets raised teachers salaries and benefits every year, invested in additional supports for our students and staff, and expanded extra-curricular activities. We did this while maintaining a balanced budget every year and building one of the strongest rainy day funds among the city's schools. As a Committee Member, I will use my expertise to ensure we use COVID recovery funds wisely, invest in programs when they show evidence of improving our kids' educational outcomes, and develop effective methods to distribute funds equitably throughout the district.
COLLEGE & CAREER READINESS
Somerville is experiencing dramatic growth in many
sectors – biomedical, hospitality, tech, construction, non-profit. My experience in talent strategy gives me unique insight into connecting the skill demands of a modern economy with the training we provide through a K-12 education. We can prepare Somerville Public School students to fully participate in our city's growth by providing a rigorous, culturally responsive program of study. By improving our MassCore completion rate, continuing to invest in career & technical education, and maintaining high standards for achievement, we can ensure every student is college & career ready and can join in Somerville's success.