Fall 2019 Newsletter - SC Goals, Equity Policy and New Hires

In addition to promoting SC Office Hours, I wanted to share about district leadership hires, the status of the new Homework Policy, continued work on the Equity Policy, changes to School Committee representation, and proposed 2019 - 2022 School Committee Goals 

Office Hours & New Hires: Join me and Ward 5 City Councilor Mark Niedergang at Office Hours this Sunday November 3rd from 10-11:30 AM at the Armory Cafe (191 Highland Avenue).  Don’t forget daylight savings! Click here to access the full Office Hours schedule. 2019 SPS leadership hires include an Assistant Superintendent, the newly established Director of Equity and Excellence and several adminstrators. Read more about 2019 leadership hires here.  

Equity Policy: This policy is being created in collaboration with district administration, as well as fielded in focus groups with SPS staff, and considers how SPS defines equity and how legacy policies, processes and systems can interfere with our vision. Click here to read more here about the Equity Policy, which will be deliberated on by the SC beginning November 4th. We have recently added the concept of intersectionality, the goal of diversifying parent/guardian leadership, that clarifying equitable resource allocation may result in differentiated allocation and language regarding protection for students and staff who report policy violations. 

School Committee Goals 2019-2022: I am excited to share that the updated SC goals are based on SC long range planning work in 2017 and are inspired by the draft Equity Policy. The goals are strategic in nature, focused on systemic changes to address root causes of the opportunity gap for our students. The goals target four areas -- Human Capital, Enrollment and Programing, District Resources and Milestones of Learning. Overall the vision is to rebuild systems to ensure that all students get what they need to create equal opportunity for future success. Although the goals are not yet approved, you can read more about the goals and access the October 21st draft here

Homework Policy: The rollout of the updated SC Homework Policy has been delayed due to concerns from SPS educators about the rollout process and changes in the policy. Administrators are hosting focus groups with SPS educators over the next several months to provide input for consideration by the School Committee. The target is to implement an updated Homework Policy at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. The purpose of updating the homework policy is to better reflect current research regarding the value of homework as well as input from parents/guardians and staff. For more detail on the Homework Policy process and concerns click here

Somerville High School Construction: We have been told that the building project is still on track for occupation of the new building at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Thanks to all the administrators, teachers and students who have been so flexible and supportive during the construction. The most up-to-date information, including photos of the project and links to meeting minutes, can be found on the SHS Building Project website. If you have any questions about the project email: [email protected]

Changes to the School Committee: Thanks to outgoing Ward 2 School Committee Representative Dan Futrell, a champion of social and emotional learning as well as a leader in finance and budgeting on the School Committee. Ilana Krepchin, as the only candidate for the Ward 2 seat on the ballot this fall, was voted in by the SC as Ward 2 representative to serve the remainder of Dan's term through December 2019. Additional thanks to both Lee Palmer and Paula O'Sullivan, Ward 3 and Ward 6 representatives, who did not seek re-election this fall. Lee's advocacy for health and wellness and against high-stakes associated with standardized testing as well as policy leadership as Chair of the Rules Subcommittee were great assets to School Committee. And I will continue to seek Paula's sage counsel. Her experience as an educator, analytical approach and attention to detail contributed significant value to our work in her time representing Ward 6. I look forward to working with Ellenor Barish, the sole candidate on the ballot for Ward 6, as well as the top vote getter in the contested race in Ward 3. 

Election Day 2019: If you are a Ward Five resident, I ask for your continued support by voting for me on election day this Tuesday November 5th. Although I am running unopposed this year, your vote signifies your support for my efforts as School Committee Representative. Regardless of where you live in our city, I hope you can take the time to vote. 

Your Voice: Contact me if you have any questions, concerns or ideas: [email protected]. I am happy to meet for coffee, a walk, schedule a call or correspond over email. And don't forget the School Committee now hosts public comment at the beginning of every regular SC meeting. This is an opportunity for Somerville residents to share their thoughts, on public record, on topics relevant to the School Committee. 

Keep me posted:  Click here to signup to receive my newsletters (sent a few times a year) or for more frequent updates follow or like my Laura Pitone Ward 5 School Committee Facebook Page

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Laura Pitone for Ward 5 School Committee
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