Preserving Academic Excellence
The Town of Lexington is known for its educational excellence, something I want to preserve. Maintaining that level of excellence will require collaborating with students, teachers, parents, and school administrators to develop and implement sustainable approaches to education that are equitable for all.
An excellent education is:
Academic courses of study that challenge students to think critically and creatively, and to systematically problem-solve;
Reliable and effective mental health supports and stress management tools;
An inclusive environment and curriculum that prepares our graduates for a global society.
Education serves as a pillar of success and helps to ensure that every student reaches their full potential. In fact many of us moved to Lexington so that our children could have access to a quality education. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed unprecedented strains on our educational system, and we don’t know how long it will last. We must focus on the lessons learned from prior LPS COVID-19 approaches, in order to strengthen our ability to deal with the pandemic and its future unknown challenges.
Mental Health and Social Development
The educational rigors that make our school system exceptional adds stress on our students. The pandemic uniquely impacts adolescents; social isolation, uncertainty, and fear are all contributors. Stress is part of life, and we have an opportunity to support our students in learning emotional literacy and coping skills, particularly during the pandemic. The LPS School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), of which I am Co-Chair, directly addresses this issue by listening to students and creating programs and supports that meet their needs. Students perform better in the classroom when they have support for their mental health needs and social development.
As a School Committee Member, I will advocate for policies that provide students with tools and valuable lifelong skills for managing stress, peer pressure, and competing priorities.
Special Education and Support Services
There is a need for a more comprehensive, holistic approach to special education and support services. And I am concerned that the pandemic is disproportionately negatively impacting our most vulnerable students. For this reason, I will champion developing and revising policies that are beneficial to our Special Education students and to students who need a range of support services, helping them reach their full potential. Listening to parents and educators, and thinking unconventionally and strategically are essential when evaluating programs and services. We have a responsibility to take care of all students.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives at LPS have my full support, but I recognize that we still have a long way to go. The LPS discipline disparity statistics do not support a claim of equity and inclusion. Discipline disparities were a problem before the pandemic; now the problem has escalated and students continue to be harmed. We must take action.
As a School Committee member I would also advocate for equitable and inclusive curricula, which are essential to enhancing the academic excellence of our entire school system. Evaluating and improving our courses of study using the lenses of DEI will add a key ingredient to an LPS education, preparing LPS graduates for success in a multicultural and multiracial global society. Our students deserve a comprehensive education that includes many perspectives.
Lexington High School
Our high school was built in the 1950s and although renovated several times, it is failing in multiple ways to meet the needs of today’s students, faculty and staff. Originally designed for 1800 students, the building is now used to educate 2275 students. Common areas, along with many classrooms and other facilities are out-dated and overcrowded. We need a high school building designed for a carbon-neutral future. We need a building with adequate common areas for the projected student population, up-to-date science labs, top-notch classroom and support facilities, proper HVAC and weather protection, and space for performing and visual arts.
We must be fiscally responsible, and I recognize that the costs involved are significant. As a project manager in the fields of finance and technology, my area of expertise is looking at short and long-term goals and the resource management needed to reach those goals. I spend my days analyzing financial reports and spreadsheets. Once official approval is received from the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) on Lexington’s proposal for a new or renovated high school, my professional experience will be invaluable. I also look forward to playing a part in ensuring that community voices are heard and included in the process.