The town of Belmont has been an education destination and school quality is a positive predictor of property values and town fiscal health. My vision for the School Committee is to shift to a can-do, solution orientated culture focused on excellence AND equity, through parent/educator partnership. We need to develop a strategic plan to address loss of learning across all levels, repair the reduction in student engagement, and support the emotional needs of all students. We need to elect School Committee leaders who are willing to partner with the community, listen without bias, and actively monitor progress using metrics that improve outcomes.
I will work hard to increase youth engagement, ensure that we maintain academic rigor and opportunities for those ready to be challenged (e.g. math acceleration, breadth of advanced/AP courses, performing arts), increase services for the most vulnerable, and support solutions that address structural challenges to close the achievement gap.
We know that kids are falling behind academically. The biggest impact are on kids with disabilities, ELL, and black and brown kids. We need a cohesive plan that prioritises the federal money allocated for K-12 to come up with solutions to address this during the summer and fall.
"Consider the solutions that are at the disposal of those more able to manage the negative aspects of remote learning: the formation of “pandemic pods,” hiring professionals to quarterback their children’s remote education, and staying at home to supervise their children’s learning are just a few examples. While we may want to consider these as personal and benign in nature, they exclude the people that public education was designed to support, and worse, have the potential to perpetuate racial inequities." Belmontonian, Wicked Local
Belmont is ranked in the top 2% of US high school and the top 7th in the State, Analysis of performance of BHS on a myriad of tests show that Belmont students perform better than State average, and neighboring town despite lower than average per pupil expenditure and larger class size. While these metrics are important, they do not define the full educational experience of children and educators. We need to better understand the impact of class size on BPS community so that we can align our resourcing and strategies to the right goals, and then track them with the appropriate metrics in order to realize our vision and values. I will advocate for proposals to increase measurable growth and outcomes for all students, and improve the environment and growth for students and educators.
The achievement gap is a recognized national challenge. A 2017 analysis by BPS of the student experience suggested clear disparity between the subgroups in both achievement and SEL.
Inequity in Public Schools, including Belmont, persists regardless of per pupil expenditures or class size suggesting an innovation and/or structural change is needed to close the achievement gap.
Whether in the boardroom or in the classroom, diversity is important for effective decision making. Where diversity is lacking equity is also lacking. As an immigrant, ELL, and PoC, I believe that equity is key to increase quality of BPS education for all students. Our vision is derived from our community values, and when excellence AND equity are at the heart of education, we all win.
I support the work of the School Committee equity task force and BPS' vision to meet the educational needs of ALL students.