Tom's education Vision at the Start of New School Year
Congratulations to all students and thanks to all NAPS teachers and staff at the start of this new school year. Good luck also to the BART community who started school last week.
From the excitement and nervousness of our youngest students on their first day of kindergarten to the anticipation of high school seniors looking ahead to college and career, the start of a new school year presents tremendous possibilities and opportunities.
We also have real challenges with achievement gaps and outcomes that we need to keep working on.
As mayor, I will work with Superintendent Malkas and the school committee to ensure we are working from the common vision that education is the cornerstone of opportunity. As chair of the school committee I will ensure that our district improvement plans continue to promote student engagement and achievement.
I'm excited about developments on the horizon for our schools, including the launch of the 7th and 8th grade academy at Drury. It will take a few years to prove the concept but I'm optimistic that this model will help to improve test scores as this group of students moves through their six years at Drury.
At the high school level, I am especially interested in the new models of collaboration that are being put in place to ensure that teaching and learning at every grade level are better aligned with state curriculum frameworks. These changes are consistent with our district improvement plan, and I think they offer real promise for improving student performance and success.
I know that teachers, administrators, parents and school committee members will be keeping a close eye on progress and will make adjustments as needed. If elected mayor, I look forward to leading this process of continuous improvement for our schools.
Beyond the classroom, I'm also interested in strengthening mentoring programs that introduce students to positive role models, and in-service programs that involve students in civic life in their community. It is essential that our students understand and believe they are part of a community that believes in them and that is invested in their success.
To achieve this goal, I want to continue to strengthen and deepen the relationships between the schools, our higher education partners - including BCC, MCLA and Williams - and area nonprofits.
On the collaborative front, I'm also particularly interested in working with MCLA on projects that strengthen education and economic development. I want to keep giving students reasons to come downtown and into our neighborhoods and to be sure we let them know that North Adams welcomes them. Connections with the community, along with access to job opportunities, will help to keep the talent from our higher education institutions in the city after graduation.
Equally important to my education and economic development vision is McCann’s role not only in our region but as the leading vocational education program in the Commonwealth. The growth in McCann’s enrollment is a testament to the quality of the programs offered and the value of vocational training in today’s workforce. I want to ensure that under Superintendent Brosnan’s leadership McCann continues to provide students with pathways at the high school and postgraduate levels that will help them to compete for the skilled jobs that are available in this area.
Finally building on strengths and addressing challenges at every level, we have opportunities to consider collaborative opportunities with other districts in the region to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of administrative services. The countywide education task force has put forward some intriguing ideas. I look forward to exploring these suggestions along with other ideas that will be put forward as the task force makes its case to our community.
Public education is an investment in the future of our community. We owe it to the taxpayers of our city to be responsible stewards of their investments in education. More critically we owe it to our students to prepare them to excel in the classroom, compete in the workforce, and participate in civic life.