Investing in Educational Equity and Excellence
As a graduate of Horace Mann Elementary, F.A. Day, and Newton North, I have benefitted tremendously from the teachers, administrators, and entire staff that make our city's schools work. While the School Committee has the primary responsibility for education policy and our schools’ budget, the City Council plays an important supporting role, especially around school building facilities. As your City Councilor, I will advocate for Newton’s future, which starts in our schools.
1. I will promote sustainable, durable investments in school facility upgrades.
I am fully committed to partnering with the School Committee to ensure that changes to our public facilities are seamless and productive. At Horace Mann, I learned about the danger of temporary solutions. For years, I attended classes in added-on modules that were considered short-term fixes to long-term problems. To create the best environment for our students, we must invest in long-lasting improvements to educational facilities. This investment must be environmentally-conscious, maximizing energy efficiency and renewable energy sources and allow us to continue meeting our Climate Action goals. Our schools should not just be sustainably constructed, heated, and powered, but also remind students that we are committed to their future every step of the way.
2. We must support our students and teachers as we recover from COVID-19.
As we navigate this global crisis, the Newton City Council must support our city’s teachers, students, and help working families. It is critical that we work to get our students back learning in person as soon and safely as possible, and that we work to address the inequities families face when trying to learn from home, from internet connectivity to parent chaperoning during academic time. It is essential that we rely on the advice of scientific experts in our community for guidance on not just when to open our schools in person through a medical advisory board, but the conditions under which we deem it safe to do so, including surveillance testing, adequate HVAC systems, and case counts and transmission rates. As the pandemic continues to have devastating impacts on the mental and emotional wellness of students, teachers and families, we must work to increase access to mental health services and promote community cultures of trust and understanding that puts health and safety first. Finally, it is crucial to recognize the ways that our state and federal leaders have failed us with an inadequate patchwork of policies and prevention mechanisms to aid in the reopening process, which have left districts like Newton to go it alone.
3. We must work to make sure every student feels not just welcome at school, but safe and supported.
I will work collaboratively with our School Committee and community leaders to make sure that incidents of hate or bias in our schools have clear protocol in place in making sure that consequences are enforced and that impacted students feel heard and supported. I also hope to work alongside our city’s Youth Commission on expanding access to mental health and counseling services in our schools so that every student has a trusted adult with whom they feel comfortable seeking help.
It is also important that we work to combat toxic cultures of stress and work that are present not just in our city's school environments but around Newton, and which lead to emotional distress and poor wellness habits among young residents. I look forward to working with our School Committee, students, teachers and school administrators to prioritize student well-being, from implementing later high school start times and wellness days.