Newsletter - Winter 2019

Consideration of a new Innovation School, Office Hours, Budget planning, Equity Policies, and the initial findings of the Somerville Learning 2030 initiative are just a few of activities of Somerville Public Schools (SPS) and the School Committee (SC) this winter. 

OFFICE HOURS: Please join me and Ward 5 City Councilor Mark Niedergang for Office Hours Sunday, February 10th, 10:30 - noon at the Armory Cafe, 191 Highland Avenue. The School Committee has initiated Office Hours a little earlier this year to seek input on not only on the 2019-2020 budget but also the proposed Innovation School Powderhouse Studios. See full schedule of Office Hours

PROPOSED INNOVATION SCHOOL: The School Committee plans to vote on March 4th on whether to adopt Powderhouse Studios as an Innovation School in SPS. The SPS website Powerhouse Studios Proposal page has information about what an Innovation School is, the Innovation School Process and the proposed plans for Powerhouse Studios. There is a great deal of content on the SPS website, I recommend starting with the video of the January 23rd public hearing, which includes a high level overview of the proposed school design and comments from the public. I also encourage people to attend the next School Committee Public Hearing this Wednesday February 6th from 6 - 8 pm at the West Somerville Neighborhood School (177 Powderhouse Blvd). School Committee Members are seeking community input on the proposed school to inform their decision for the district. Community members may also email the School Committee, or participate in Public Comment at 7 pm at the School Committee meetings scheduled Monday February 25th and Monday March 4th (day of the vote) at City Hall.

Somerville_Learning_2030_initial_findings_list_(2).JPGSOMERVILLE LEARNING 2030 FINDINGS: Nearly 700 surveys were completed and over 200 people participated in focus groups exploring the question: "What do we want growing up in Somerville to look like?" View the initial results and share your feedback on the results in the "What you said - findings so far" section of the Somerville Learning 2030 webpage. Some of what participants said they value included housing affordability, youth friendly spaces (indoors and outdoors, especially for teens), attention to youth social emotional health, and access to affordable early childhood and after school programing. Once the report is finalized, it will serve as community input for future planning for our City and Schools. 

EQUITY POLICIES: The School Committee is creating policies to prioritize and guide efforts to ensure equity for our students at Somerville Public Schools. Equity may mean different things to different people. In the context of public education, I often come back to the statement "decoupling the link between student socio-economic status and success" which has guided the Somerville Public Schools as participants in the By All Means initiative (an educational consortium Hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education.) One tangible result of these efforts is the newly approved Workforce Diversity Policy, with a goal to diversify District staff to better reflect the District's diverse student population.

Marijuana, Vaping & Youth: A Discussion: An opportunity for parents, guardians and their students to learn about the concerns associated wtih marijuana and vaping. 

Thursday February 7, 2019 - 6:00 - 7:30 pm Somerville High School Highlander Cafe (81 Highland Avenue)

Updates on Facebook: If you are interested in more frequent School Committee updates and announcements, Like or Follow my Laura Pitone Ward 5 Facebook Page


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Laura Pitone for Ward 5 School Committee
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