Flowers are blooming, vaccines are going in arms, and we have a new Interim Superintendent of Schools! Last night, the School Committee voted to appoint Dr. Victoria Greer to lead our district for a year beginning July 1. I look forward to working with Dr. Greer, particularly because I’ve heard that she consistently prioritizes student needs in each of her decisions. In speaking with her references, Mayor Siddiqui and I heard that, even when they disagreed with her, Dr. Greer’s determinations centered students.
The students who interviewed Interim Supt candidates gave us all insight into the three finalists.
In addition to enabling a good interim appointment, I believe the selection process our community and School Committee used will help shape the search for a permanent superintendent. After conducting separate interviews with panels of students, family members, and staff, we posted the forums on the CPSD website with subtitles in multiple languages. We also invited community members to share their reflections and questions in a form that was public. I’m proud to have played a central role in this process, working closely with Mayor Siddiqui and Member Rojas.
The Committee’s conversation Tuesday night about providing remote learners social opportunities can be found here at the 1:27 mark.
In other news, while most of our students have returned to in-person learning (and more high school students will return Monday), I continue to be concerned about the roughly 30% of students who are staying remote until September. If you have read this newsletter for a few months, you know that I put my policy-making hat aside to work with students and partners on monthly gatherings for CRLS students. I remain frustrated that our district has not done more to offer all remote students chances to connect with peers and adults outside and safely. Having unsuccessfully advocated for school-formed pods in the spring of 2020, outdoor learning and walking tours (an idea from parents) last summer, and supervised recess for remote learners (an idea from a teacher) last fall, I brought a policy motion forward this week requiring schools to invite remote learners to gather with in-person learners and school teams at least twice before the next school year. Members Weinstein and Wilson co-sponsored this motion, which leaves the specifics about when and where outside to schools. Our intent was to ensure that students who have been remote for close to 15 months are able to see friends and reconnect with their schools before the end of this school year. We believe that this will help their mental health over the summer and reduce anxiety about returning to in-person learning in the fall.
Elijah gives instructions during the scavenger hunt at last week’s Down with Design.
In closing, I have truly enjoyed recent visits with a Civics class, the Young People’s Project, and a workshop convened by the Intersectional Feminist Club. I’m looking forward to being allowed back inside schools to visit students and teachers in the same room!
As always, I welcome your ideas and questions.