My "Bucket" List for Arlington Public Schools

​One of  my hobbies is a love for making bucket lists; here is the list of things I would like to see accomplished during my tenure on the School Committee. It was comprised by listening to the wants and needs of parents, caregivers, students, and teachers, as well as in my interactions with the following APS facing organizations: the Diversity & Inclusion Groups, the Diversity Task Group, the Black Student Union, Town Meeting Members, the METCO program, the Rainbow Commission and the Rainbow Alliance, the Superintendent's Diversity Advisory Committee, and the SPED Alliance​.

To Eliminate the Disparity Gap

  • A school environment where all our students can meet their full potential

  • A state accountability score above 90%

  • Alternative disciplinary actions for students who are caught vaping (vaping currently accounts for the majority of APS suspensions)

  • Appropriate intervention and early identification plans for addressing the needs of our struggling readers, per the new Dyslexia Screening Law that passed last year

  • Collaborative Problem Solving programming integrated into our junior high schools

  • Develop K-12 strategies for addressing under-enrollment and underperformance of students of color in math and STEM courses at Arlington High School

  • Elimination of the disparity in our discipline rates

  • Elimination of the disparity in our MCAS scores

  • Executive functioning skills support for all of our students

  • Increased support and funding for METCO programming

  • Measuring and reporting out to the community discipline data at the elementary school level

  • More individualized support for our English Language Learners 

  • Programming to help students re-enter school after a mental health crisis

  • Reduction of our suspension rate to almost none

  • Reduction of school refusal rates to almost none

  • Reporting on how many students of color transfer out of APS

  • Social emotional learning measurements to be worked into student progress reports (measures that are more than behavioral)

  • Student-led peer-to-peer support programs in mathematics (to leverage youth culture to promote mathematics)

  • The hiring of a new superintendent with a proven track record of tackling disparity issues in their prior districts, and with a commitment to transparency, communication, and collaboration with parents and educators

  • The use of more measurables in our district goals

 

To Address Hiring and Retention

  • Affordable housing programs for highly desired APS teachers

  • An APS employee Retention Program, developed with and for teachers of color 

  • Bi-annual, outside-facilitated listening & sharing sessions for teachers and staff of color 

  • Mandated annual bias and/or cultural competency training for all APS administrators, teachers and staff, and school committee members

  • The hiring of an APS Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, which is the standard in surrounding towns

  • A fabulous new APS website with an eye towards diversity and inclusion, including highlighting the strides we have already made and outlining the vision and implementation plan for where we want to be

 

To Provide Student Equity

  • A deep reduction in the number of students reporting feeling "an overwhelming amount of stress" in the Youth Risk Assessment survey (Arlington currently rates 86% the worst score in our region)

  • A pledge that the school will retaining free and low cost lunch programs in place for low income students who are currently receiving it despite recent federal changes that restrict SNAP applications

  • A portal that allows parents to anonymous report concerns and have them documented

  • Class-photo scholarships available to all of our low income families

  • Continued funding of our school libraries to ensure our books are diverse and reflective of all of our students

  • Continued support to make sure our curriculum is reflective of all our students and accurately depicts diverse cultures and histories...engaged parents in this work

  • Curriculum for parents, teachers, and students in order to roll out and introduce gender neutral bathrooms at all our schools. Use this opportunity to also define how to use personal pronouns and why they are important

  • Different flesh toned craft supplies and band-aids at all our schools

  • Further attention and reminders to school staff to keep the holidays secular for all of our students

  • Expanded and effective programming, such as active bystander training, to address bullying, especially at the middle school level. With applied measurables to evaluate the efficacy of any efforts.

  • Expanded late bus transportation for our METCO students

  • Expanded list of school-related programs and other arts related programs in town that have opted into the EBT's Card to Culture program, so that cultural events with otherwise cost-prohibitive admission rates can be accessed by low income families

  • Increased support and funding for student led affinity programs such as the Black Student Union (BSU) and the Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSA)

  • More kids jumping rope at recess (just because I love seeing kids jumping rope)

  • More pleasant sounding chimes for the kids to transition between classes

  • Ongoing and data-driven professional development for our teachers that ties into district goals

  • Policies that promote equity in PTO funding across the elementary schools

  • Professional librarians at all of our school libraries

  • School book fairs conducted in such a way that low income kids don't feel left out or ostracized

  • The discontinuation of any non-state mandating measurements of our kids' BMI or weight

  • The expansion of outdoor/nature programming and expanded access to green space during school hours

 

To Build Family Equity/Engagement

  • A rule that our School Committee members and Select Board members will refrain from endorsing candidates (at a minimum till after nomination forms are returned) such that residents are not discouraged from participating

  • A town funded mailer and meet the candidate event for all town-wide election candidates removing the "barrier to entry" for residents that might want to participate but are economically disadvantaged

  • Broadened after-school offerings

  • Expanded subsidies and discount/scholarship programs for after-school programs for lower and modest income families

  • Funding for the DIGs and a subcommittee for them on the school committee

  • Funding for SEPAC and a Facebook page to communicate out to parents

  • More opportunities to just hang out an build community with our neighbors

  • Robust welcome program for new families at all of our schools

  • Strengthened school councils that are offered at convenient times for working families, with notes that are communicated out consistently to the school communities

  • Updated and enhanced translation services we offer our ELL parents

  • Yearly dedicated listening session for parents of kids of color

To Protect & Benefit Residents

  • Expanded property tax exemptions and discounts to low income families and individuals

  • Increased affordable housing earmarks for new developments 

  • Increased/expanded home- and condo-buying opportunities and programs in the Town for low and modest income families and individuals

  • Programs that enable all residents to benefit from the new high school such as indoor track time for walkers and access to space for meetings and functions

  • The use of poison-free bait traps on APS properties to protect our wild life and consequently reduce the amount of vermin in our town

  • Advocate for the establishment of a Fair Housing Commission or Committee

  • Increased commercial development to reduce residents' tax burden and expand student internship/job opportunities