Who is Rachel? What has she accomplished?
Thank you for making the time to learn more about me and my track record.
I am a proud K-to-12 product of, parent in, and policy maker for the Cambridge Public Schools. I am running for re-election to the Cambridge School Committee having served one term (2020-21).
While serving on the School Committee in the midst of multiple pandemics was not what I expected, I am grateful to have been in a position of influence during this incredibly challenging time. Here are a few of the ways I have used my influence:
- COVID - Having taken a crash course on pandemic-safe schooling, I am confident that CPS has appropriate layers of protection in place. I enthusiastically supported the Interim Superintendent’s recommendation for universal indoor masking this school year and have been the first School Committee Member to advocate for vaccine mandates for everyone eligible, with the same exemptions we have for previous requirements.
- Racial Equity - The very first motion I brought to the School Committee, with my sister-in-service, Member Ayesha Wilson, was to name racial equity as a priority. This was an outgrowth of our work with the Building Equity Bridges movement. The policy’s enactment positioned us to advocate successfully for racial equity components in the budget, including a new Office of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and a more robust family engagement team. This past summer, the Committee adopted community-developed antiracist vision and mission statements.
- A Champion for Every Child - I also have long believed that our system works best for students who have an adult supporter. Far too many of our students fall through the cracks simply because they don’t have someone to help them sign up for after school, find translation for their parents, or secure an internship. I continue to hold that young people would have better academic and life outcomes if we ensured each child had a champion, someone to help them navigate course selection, extra-curriculars, and post-secondary planning. In the spring of 2020, I introduced a policy that would require every student to receive a weekly check-in call from a school staff member. While the Committee ultimately modified this to be students in grades 6-12, it was an important step towards ensuring a champion for every child. If reelected, I look forward to working to evolve this concept, particularly as the Committee collectively has expressed interest in implementing student success plans and expanding our early college initiative, both of which require someone in a navigator-like position.
- Interim Superintendent Selection - I designed and supported the community input process. School Committees are not required to have a community process for interim appointments, but I was able to convince my colleagues that we should. I worked with students, families, and educators and out-of-school time partners. We specifically recruited families of color, families who are English learners, and families whose children receive special education services. The purpose of this was three-fold: ensure community members the opportunity to directly assess candidates, allow the Committee to see how finalists interact with key stakeholders, and, perhaps most importantly, demonstrate to the finalists that Cambridge is serious about centering the voices and experiences of the people we have historically failed.
The work to become a more antiracist, collaborative, effective school district takes time, especially when we are also dealing with COVID. I'm just getting started! I hope to earn your #1 vote this fall and have the opportunity to continue our work together.
Please reach out with your questions and ideas.