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PLATFORM

Medford School Committee employs the Superintendent and oversees a more than $63 million budget for a school district of more than 4000 children.   In addition to more effective ongoing support for budget management and innovative initiatives, our district needs leadership on several key issues.
KEY ISSUES

Continue to fight for the budget needed to support our students, enable pandemic recovery efforts, and take care of our school buildings while making wise use of one-time federal funds to increase the rigor and quality of our curricula.

  • For the past two years, I have been focused on ensuring our students are supported by the School System budget they deserve. In this past year, I fought against significant budget cuts that led to layoffs of school staff and sought to increase transparency for the community around what our budget includes and what it doesn’t. 

  • During the creation of the FY21 budget, I initiated a process where the school administration outlined those items and initiatives that would improve student outcomes but were not put forward in the budget request.  For the first time, the school department told the community about the unmet needs that our budget can’t accommodate.  I authored a comprehensive memo of these costs for the community, the Mayor, and the City Council.  I am prepared to continue to fight for the budget needed to support our students, enable pandemic recovery efforts, and take care of our school buildings.  

  • As the district and the city look ahead to a significant infusion of Federal funding through ESSER and ARP, I will be focused on ensuring that the funds help our students recover from learning and social-emotional losses they experienced.  Simultaneously, I will be advocating for wise use of these one-time funds to increase the rigor and quality of our curricula and investment in professional development that will have effects long after pandemic recovery is completed.

Rebuild the Medford High School Vision Committee so that the Medford High master plan can be created and continue with Medford’s recent efforts toward environmental sustainability, LEED certification, and protecting our environment in building projects.

  • The pandemic has laid bare the consequences of deferring maintenance costs across our school systems.  While years of repairs were completed rapidly in the fall of 2020, proactive maintenance would have seen our children back in school sooner.  Specifically, the state of the high school prohibited even a hybrid return for students until January. 

  • As a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), I know that big problems need plans, phases, and steps.  As a School Committee member, my philosophy is that we can never expect change to happen overnight or without careful, and thoughtful attention to the road that leads us there, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and contribute to this process. 

  • The Medford High master plan needs to be prioritized and completed so that we can begin to understand the timeline of such a project.  Projects of this size need to be completed by listening to experts about what is possible and what those costs are, putting aside our thoughts about what the best path forward might be, and ensuring we continue with Medford’s recent efforts toward environmental sustainability, LEED certification, and protecting our environment in building projects.”  

  • In my next term, I will be focused on reviving the Medford High School Vision Committee so that the Medford High master plan can be created.  This will help us ensure that we collectively reach the best decision for Medford based on the facts at hand and the recommendation of experts.

Invest in professional development that will have impactful effects long after pandemic recovery is completed.  

  • This priority will take multiple forms.  As a first example, Medford has a serious issue with making its school supplies last through the year, and the process by which supplies are distributed is not always equitable.  Educators should be allowed to blossom and engage their creativity without having to worry about where their copy paper and toner is coming from. We have amazing teachers here in Medford, and the School Committee should create a budget that supports the things teachers need, as well as grant writing support to raise funds, so teachers can put their energy into teaching our children rather than worrying about supplies.

Work to amplify the voices of the community we serve by ensuring we hear those voices and opinions proactively, with a focus on reaching those we don’t hear from regularly.

  • I serve as the chair of the Communications, Engagement, and Strategic Planning Subcommittee.  Through the work of the subcommittee, the district has made significant progress in creating a regular weekly pipeline of communication from school to families.  For the first time, the district provided these communications consistently in multiple languages to support our multilingual community. 

  • I believe that if we are going to meet the expectations of the community we serve, we must hear their voices and opinions as we create plans, not after those plans are in motion. I am pleased with the collaborative work of the subcommittee, my School Committee colleagues, and the Superintendent and her team to improve communications in our district. I also know that our work is far from over, and that our commitment is critical as we think about reaching those we don’t hear from regularly. I’m excited to continue this work in my next term.

  • As of June 7th, the district has its first strategic plan in my own memory with plans to align our efforts, budget, and agenda to these items.  Look for engagement opportunities for the community in the upcoming academic year.

  • The subcommittee also led changes of practice in communication protocols to incoming kindergarten families to begin the outreach proactively and earlier than ever before so that new families know what a great place the Medford Public Schools are for their child as they begin their engagement in the K-12 world. The subcommittee championed similar changes at the middle school level.  The subcommittee prioritized hearing from families during the early part of the pandemic, during the re-opening task force work last summer, and throughout the school year on related topics and on the strategic plan.  

Help Jenny take on these important issues.

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