Big Challenges and Big News - Rachel for Cambridge

Big Challenges and Big News

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you well, safe and energized to make change!

Many of you have questions and concerns about the coming school year.  While I do not have concrete answers for you yet, I want to provide some information about the process underway. 

As you may know, CPSD is required to submit three plans to the state, one for fully in-person learning, one for fully remote learning, and one for a "hybrid" of the two.  Superintendent Salim presented his two emerging hybrid proposals to the School Committee last week.  

You can see the Superintendent’s slides here.  

I am eager to hear the administration's vision for the in-person and remote plans as well, knowing that, whatever plan we begin with, public health conditions are likely to fluctuate.  I am sending questions and recommendations daily to the Superintendent, as I listen to the many caregivers who want a full-time return to school buildings as well as the educators who are afraid of the risks associated with returning.  We are unlikely to be able to satisfy everyone’s desires, but we must meet the health, safety and educational needs of our children, families and employees.  We are incredibly fortunate to live in Cambridge, one of the few districts not to make budget cuts this spring.  Let us be creative and resourceful in working with our district’s talented educators, out of school time partners, other city departments, and, most importantly, our scholars and caregivers to find the best way through this unprecedented time.  (And, let’s push state and federal policy makers to prioritize a safe opening of schools, which likely means slowing the opening of some businesses, such as casinos and gyms.) 


One promising development is the passage of motion 20-144 last month.  This policy (which I authored, Mayor Siddiqui and Member Wilson co-sponsored, and the Committee passed unanimously) will mean that, for the first time, every scholar/family will have a weekly check-in with a trusted adult from their school to prevent any of our children from falling through the cracks at a time when we are creating new paths forward.  The administration will present its emerging proposal for how to implement weekly check-ins at each grade span (JK-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12) at our School Climate Subcommittee meeting on July 15th.  If you would like to participate, please sign up here.  

I hope you will add your voice to this conversation, either by emailing the School Committee ([email protected]) and Superintendent ([email protected]) or by signing up for public comment here.

As always, I welcome your feedback, questions and ideas.

In collaboration,


P.S.  I promised my daughter I would mention her most recent activism and urge you not to shop at Whole Foods.  She and several other Cambridge Public Schools students have participated in protests outside of stores because the company will not allow employees to wear Black Lives Matter masks.  Whole Foods sends home any employee who will not remove their mask, and being sent home too many times is grounds for firing.  This is the epitome of hypocrisy, as the corporation states that they believe Black lives matter.

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