I hope the emergence of spring is lifting your spirits!
As you likely know, students and staff are now allowed to choose whether or not to wear their masks in the Cambridge Public Schools. For many, this is a relief and great joy. For many others, concern about COVID safety at school persists. My inbox is filled with heartfelt messages from both perspectives. While I wish we were done with COVID, it is here for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, the School Committee directed the Superintendent to shift to managing schooling with the existence of the virus, rather than to go on trying to prevent transmission entirely. The Committee, Superintendent Greer, and Chief Public Health Officer Derrick Neal are committed to continuing many safety protocols (surveillance testing, symptomatic testing, improved ventilation, etc.) and to monitoring the virus carefully. We will adjust as needed.
The end of winter and start of spring means we are also deep into the budget season. Superintendent Greer’s proposed FY23 budget is organized around her entry plan findings. For example, she lists budget priorities around mitigating and recovering from COVID, supporting healthy students and school cultures, and building educator capacity. I am particularly eager to further discuss the efforts included in the Strengthening Academic Outcomes priority. Dr. Greer includes better coordinated work-based learning and expanded partnerships with local employers under this heading. I want to see such initiatives advanced, as I know our students benefit greatly from internships and other work-based learning. There’s more to say about the budget than I have space for here, so you may want to review the budget presentation in its entirety. The public hearing on the budget is this Thursday, March 24 – please add your voice as you are moved to!
(You can hear more of my initial thoughts about the proposed budget here.)
As always, I welcome your questions and ideas.