I hope this finds you and your loved ones well and safe.
The scenes at all levels of society are tangled. Globally, we hold the hope of vaccines soon to be administered simultaneously with concern about the dramatic surge of new cases. In our school district, we are planning to expand opportunities for in-person learning, while temporarily going fully remote because of the number of people who have tested Covid positive recently. Within this context, I want to share a few School Committee, Cambridge Public Schools, and campaign developments.
(FMA Scholars reading together)
Last month, the School Committee sent a letter that I wrote to Governor Baker and our state delegation urging them to close other venues prior to closing schools (you can read the correspondence at this link, just below the related motion 20-283). We felt that, if students are truly our priority, we should be managing community spread by limiting indoor gatherings elsewhere. We also encouraged colleagues in other jurisdictions to send similar letters. In the absence of federal leadership, such critical decision-making has been left to individual states, and our children are paying the price.
(A talented teacher shows us amazing insect art by Baldwin scholars!)
My sense of urgency to offer students opportunities for in-person learning, or at least occasional wellness activities, has grown stronger. This is a result of hearing from children and families suffering from isolation, as well as of hearing from those who have witnessed how the return to school in October dramatically improved their children’s wellbeing. I was fortunate to visit in-person classrooms at the Fletcher-Maynard Academy, Baldwin, and Tobin Montessori schools last month. It truly warmed my heart to see young scholars learning to read, working on art projects, and connecting with their peers and teachers. (Our teachers, both in-person and remote, are working incredibly hard!) After brainstorming with a number of CPSD caregivers, including a School Resource Officer, a psychologist at Children’s Hospital, and a parent with a track record of supporting student-led innovations, I drafted motion 20-300 to explore use of the Field House at the high school for academic, wellness and/or social opportunities. I believe that, when safe, even weekly time with peers would benefit our children’s mental health and increase their ability to engage with academics.
(Tobin Montessori scholars working on art projects.)
In closing, working for our children, families and staff this year has been a privilege. Of course, I would welcome the opportunity to serve when we are not in the midst of a pandemic, too! That, however, requires a successful re-election campaign in 2021, and I have not had time to fundraise this year. So, as I turn 46 this week and we welcome our 46th President soon, I ask you to contribute $4.60, $46, or $460 to the campaign before the end of the calendar year. Here is the link! I am deeply grateful to be in community with you and appreciate your support.