Vision Analysis Action
Hello and thank you for visiting my website. I am currently a Cambridge School Committee member serving my second term. Originally from the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Cambridge with my spouse since 1990. Our two children attended the Cambridge Public Schools K-12, graduating from CRLS in 2010 and 2014.
My background is in educational research and I have a degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I also have extensive training in statistics and believe in using data for school improvement. After graduate school I held research positions at Harvard and Lesley University. Before that I worked for five years as a language specialist at The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham. The Learning Center was the first school in the U.S. to use American Sign Language (ASL) for instruction and to create a bilingual ASL-English curriculum.
I came to my School Committee position via parent and community advocacy work. Before joining the Committee, I served on the Citywide School Advisory Group (CSAG), the CRLS School Council, and the Citywide STEM/STEAM Advisory Group. I was also a board member for Enroot, a program for immigrant high school students.
What I've accomplished and my priorities going forward
This past two terms have gone by quickly. I'm pleased with what I've been able to accomplish in collaboration with other Committee members.
My biggest emphasis has been on providing adequate staffing in our schools. Working with colleagues, I pushed successfully for more guidance counselors, high school teachers, social workers, and paraprofessionals. This spring, we restored 16 paraprofessional positions that had been cut in 2011. Our students, preschool through high school, deserve adult-student ratios that meet their needs. We’re not there yet, but we’re moving in the right direction.
Second, I’ve supported the Special Education community. After hearing from parents, I raised concerns about transportation for students with disabilities. There will be a subcommittee meeting about this important topic this fall. I also asked for data about disproportionality in Special Education placements by income, race, gender, and ELL status. The administration is now carefully examining our referral practices.
Third, I’ve advocated relentlessly for affordable preschool. That conversation is moving forward at the city level, with a consulting group hired to design a universal program for Cambridge 4-year-olds. Their recommendations should be completed soon. In addition, in conversation with our afterschool providers, I raised issues about how to make our afterschool and summer programs more closely coordinated with the school day program. This year we added an out-of-school-time coordinator for the elementary program.
Fourth, by asking for data, I raised awareness about chronic absence. (Missing more than 10% of the school year.) As a result, the district has created more supports to help parents get their kids to school every day. At the high school level, I led an effort to reform the Attendance Violation Policy to make it more supportive and less punitive. Students can’t learn if they are not in school.
My priorities for 2020-2022
1) Working with the administration and community to improve math achievement.
2) Reducing student-adult ratios, particularly in the younger grades.
3) Expanding affordable preschool, afterschool, and summer programs.
4) Expanding elementary world language learning opportunities.
5) Creating a comprehensive STEM/STEAM internship program for all CRLS students in order to have a truly 21st century high school. (STEAM=Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Math)