The candidates for School Committee were asked the following question: If elected, what do you need to accomplish over the next three years to consider your time on the School Committee ‘successful’?”
Submitted responses are published below as received.
Abington Community Access & Media also released interviews with the two candidates:
My goal as a School Committee member is to support the mission of the Abington Public Schools in every way possible. Our mission is to provide all students with relevant, challenging educational experiences to prepare them to be engaged, responsible citizens and members of the global community.
One of the most important elements of a healthy school is honest reflection on what is and isn’t going well, and from there open dialogue on what is necessary to improve. After this open, honest dialogue, healthy schools identify weaknesses and develop measurable goals and objectives through action plans that target these areas for improvement. We are doing a great job educating Abington’s kids but our work never stops– there is always room for growth. I asked that a yearly departmental review be implemented to make sure we are doing this. Department heads presented their findings and action plans this year at School Committee meetings. Next year I will be asking for a follow-up to analyze progress. I am hoping we can add in elementary reviews for each grade level as well next year.
I would like to see a second layer added to these yearly presentations. My next area of focus would be to analyze what kind of global instruction and learning is happening in our classrooms. We are moving past the content and memorization age– everything is out there on the internet when we need it. I’m hoping to have each department (or grade level at the elementary schools) highlight how it tackles the skills that will be required in the jobs our kids will have, many of which don’t even exist yet. These include empathy and valuing multiple perspectives, understanding global conditions and current events and the ways that the world is interconnected, understanding of multiple cultures and recognizing the value of intercultural communication. I know we already have classrooms that value diversity and global engagement and I really want to hear about it. I’d also like to know if our schools develop local, national and international partnerships that allow real-world, global learning opportunities. And most importantly, I’d like to hear how we are promoting active listening, collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving and perspective recognition.
There are also additions or amendments to the curriculum/program of studies I would like to see like a financial literacy graduation requirement and opportunities for all students to practice interviewing skills. I would also like to further develop seminars, information sessions and career fairs that focus on life post Abington High School to make sure students and their families fully understand their options (2- or 4-year colleges, trade schools, the military, work, gap years, etc).
Lastly, the health of a school system depends on the involvement and support of its families. If education is valued and made a priority at home, schools thrive. I will continue to publicize events, programs and other ways in which families can engage with the schools in positive, meaningful ways.
If we continue to have meaningful, productive, honest conversations about our curriculum and instruction that lead to a better experience for our students, educate our students about life after Abington High School to the best of our abilities, and have families continue to say they are satisfied with and proud of the Abington Public Schools, I will consider my time on School Committee successful.