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Support Students and Teachers

While many of us have been relieved to get back to a new normal, it is more important than ever that in our haste, we don’t leave anyone behind. Hiring and retaining great teachers is really hard at the moment, and our teachers deserve to thrive and feel energized in their careers. On the student side, while it is an absolute imperative that we support our most vulnerable students, it is no less true that many students who may slide through doing “ok” also need our support. 

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As a parent, taxpayer and School Committee member, I want to:

  • Ask teachers what they need to feel supported and to be successful

  • Address the individualized needs of each learner

  • Provide students with more opportunities to explore new or non-traditional paths

  • Ensure early identification and appropriate intervention for students with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities 

  • Increase attention to issues of equity and inclusivity to make all students feel safe and seen

Build Strong Schools and Keep Natick Affordable

Natick has a structural deficit, and even though the budget seems to balance more easily this year, we are still very vulnerable to forces that we cannot always control.  As we rebuild our stabilization funds and look into an uncertain near-term economy, we must continue to be mindful of our goals as a community. We must weigh the possibility of an operational override against the struggles that many, particularly our seniors, grapple with to stay in Natick. On top of that, we could be facing yet another debt exclusion: to renovate or rebuild Memorial Elementary School. As a member of the School Committee, my primary objectives would be to:

  • Promote consistent fiscal reporting that provides optimal transparency while also building trust with the community. 

  • Improve reporting on grant-funded initiatives to ensure that we are not unknowingly creating future financial liabilities. 

  • Push for a long-term capital plan, particularly for pre-K and elementary, that allows us to estimate future expenditures.

  • Prioritize competitive compensation for our educators, while proactively modeling the future financial impact of any new collective bargaining agreements. 

  • Advocate for sensible capital expenditures that do not detract from crucial investment in educators and students. 

Set Goals and Measure Results

We need our administrators to feel empowered to do their job. While I largely agree with the goals and aspirations laid out in NPS's Strategic Plan, I would advocate for more concrete metrics to objectively measure progress toward these goals. Ideally, that would simplify the debates and create clear boundaries between the strategic input from the School Committee and the operational autonomy of the administration. For example: 

  • How do we measure improved student outcomes associated with grant funded positions in order to justify additional budget from the town to support the positions long-term?  

  • What recruiting metrics will be used to track progress against hiring diversity?

  • How will we know that additional training has impacted outcomes for dyslexic students?

  • What are the timelines and expected next steps for the various audits being suggested (writing, world language, math)?

Unite the Town and Schools to Serve Our Community

I am frequently awed by the creativity and thoughtfulness of our community and proposed visions for our town. If I am elected, I will work to build broader collaboration between the town and the schools to generate a vision for our town that contemplates economic development, community health and sustainability. I would like a robust community dialogue around the following types of questions:

  • What is the long-term plan for our pre-K and elementary schools? How do we extend our pre-K and after-school programs to support more families or should we encourage development of private or community-based options for our working parents? Is the long-term vision to retain 4 elementary schools. If so, how do we holistically plan and support the building needs around doing so rather than tactically targeting needs one building at a time?

  • What is the vision for downtown Natick and what role do the schools play in that vision?

  • How can NPS capital and logistics planning help to further our sustainability goals? Can we optimize busing and traffic while also building on the success of the CRT to further encourage walking and biking in our town?

  • What role do neighborhoods and communities play in the social-emotional health of our students and in supporting our most vulnerable populations? How can town development programs and school planning work in cooperation with the community to realize the best outcomes? 

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