The real strength of an Amherst public education comes from the many devoted, creative and kind people working hard to support our students in our schools each and every day.
These are some highlights of what school committee can do to ensure that our public schools are always improving, aspiring to be the best they can possibly be for all students.
A core part of our district's mission is to "make all students feel fully welcome and a part of our schools, regardless of race, social class, gender, culture, language, religion, sexuality, academic success or physical abilities."
This means a commitment to continuously evolve all aspects of our education delivery, to meet the ever-changing needs of our diverse student body and the shifting demands of the world we live in.
Promote student well-being
- Expand support for students with trauma and anxiety, integrate mindfulness and teach strategies for managing technology
- Explore later start times for ARMS and ARHS
- Explore moving 6th grade to ARMS
Actively participate in undoing racism
- Speak openly and honestly about the realities of institutional racism and white privilege
- Continue to invest in Professional Development for staff
- Listen directly to student and teacher experience
Amplify student voice
- Incorporate feedback from student advocacy and affinity groups when considering curriculum and policy changes
- Highlight the experience of students with disabilities
- Support student activism on the climate crisis, gun violence
and other social justice issues
Our town understands the clear and urgent need to address both Fort River and Wildwood as soon as possible, in a way that's both educationally responsible to students and fiscally responsible to residents.
There's also now broad acceptance of the need for compromise. I fully support the Superintendent's compromise framework (video, power point) submitted to the MSBA last April, unanimously endorsed by School Committee and Town Council and strongly supported in public forums:
- One MSBA project
- One warm, child-centered building
- Approximately 600 students
- K-5 or K-6
- Community survey(s) prior to binding decisions
The divisions of the past are behind us. If our MSBA application is accepted, the school committee will facilitate an open process, collaborate with the public and uphold the spirit of the compromise framework. I'm confident our community is ready to see this done.
Public schools today face an existential threat from well funded and politically powerful players at both the national and state levels. The state has chronically underfunded public education for years, and state leaders aggressively push privately run charter schools on unwilling communities.
DeVos, Baker, Peyser, MA Parents United, The Pioneer Institute, The Walton Foundation: it's no exaggeration to say these forces will slowly erode public education as we know it unless we remain united and steadfast in defense of our public schools.
Oppose charter school expansions
- Continue to oppose local charter school expansions
- Support other communities in defense of their public schools
- Raise awareness of the ongoing campaign to privatize public schools
Advocate to change charter school funding now
- "The brutality of the zero sum game" (Senator Comerford)
- "It’s destructive and divisive. We need to do better" (Rep. Domb)
- Stop charter reimbursement cuts to our district and our neighbors
Advocate for fully funded public schools
- Overhaul Chapter 70 to confront income inequality
- Fully fund the "unfunded mandates", including Regional Transportation, Circuit Breaker and charter reimbursements
- Collaborate with state legislators to advance these causes