OPPORTUNITIES & CHALLENGES

Changes in School Committee Composition & Implementation of New Strategic Plan
  • The School Committee impacts the District's ability to reach its goals and provide joyful rigorous learning in a culturally competent way for each student.  If elected, I will:

    • Ensure the School Committee has data-driven discussions

    • Continue the push for equally high standards for all of our children

    • Support the identification and implementation of best practices to drive positive change in the District

  • The School Committee will need to support the implementation of the District’s new strategic plan.  If elected, I will:

    • Request more plan specifics to ensure the implementation process is clear, well understood and supported by all stakeholders   

    • Work with other School Committee members to:

      • Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the strategic plan

      • Encourage and support its success and

      • Make any necessary changes

BRIEF LIST OF ISSUES FACING THE DISTRICT AND JOSE LUIS' IDEAS TO ADDRESS THEM
Closing the Opportunity Gap
  • Early education is key.  Pre-school and JK matter.

    • I will support equitable access to Jr. Kindergarten through participation of the School Committee and City Council in a joint task force.

  • Bilingual education has been shown to address the opportunity gap and provide other learning benefits.

    • I will support the expansion and/or addition of more bilingual immersion schools.

  • Cambridge's Montessori school has provided the highest achievement growth for all subgroups.

    • I will support a study to explore the setup of another Montessori school.

  • Summer and tutoring programs work.

    • I will improve access to summer and tutoring programs for those who need them the most.

Right-sizing School Capacity
  • While new schools have been built, classroom capacity has remained virtually flat while Cambridge's student population has increased more than expected. Real estate construction is exploding around the city, particularly in East Cambridge and Alewife.

    • I will build the District's ability to improve forecasting of student enrollment patterns and school capacities.

    • I will push the District to assess the need for new schools given Cambridge's development.

    • I will encourage the School Committee to review the maintenance programs for the existing schools, to ensure that pupils are learning in a safe environment.

Assessing Systems Intended to Support Learning of all Students
  • Testing has led to improved standards, but there are challenges - for example, student anxiety, teaching to the test, etc. Student achievement should be assessed using a combination of measures, of which test results are only one.  As has been pointed out by other School Committee members, additional measures could include graduation rates, student attendance and participation in extracurricular activities.

    • I will support engaging learning environments and culturally responsive teaching practices, rather than focusing only on testing students.

    • I will support the compilation of multi-layered data to show how student achievement is being measured and assessed.

    • I will challenge the District to explain what they are doing to improve the schools that are truly missing the mark on overall student achievement.

Including More Diverse Array of Voices in Decision Making
  • Some parents feel they are not listened to, based on their socio-economic background, their race, their immigration status, etc.

    • I will go to a School Council meeting in each school (17 schools) over my 2-year term, to meet parents in person and hear their opinions.

  • ​More student voices need to be included in the decision making at the high school

    • I will meet with high school student leaders to hear their opinions and bring them back to the School Committee.

Making the School Committee More Effective 
  • School Committee members should respectfully agree to disagree when needed, while at the same time working to support higher expectations for each student and joyful / vigorous learning for all.

    • I will develop code of conduct with School Committee members to encourage more respectful, productive and impactful discussions.

  • The School Committee has accomplished a lot.  But it must continue to address the opportunity gap.

    • I will ensure the School Committee holds the administration accountable when achievement targets are missed.

    • I will request explanations for those short-comings and an analysis of lessons learned, in order to ensure strategies are adjusted to better address the opportunity gap.

THANK YOU FOR READING

I hope that you will give me your #1 vote on November 5!
If you are looking for passion, community and leadership in School Committee - 
Vote #1 for José Luis Rojas Villareal!
Thank you,
José Luis

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