Versha Munshi-South (D)

Stamford Board of Education

Education Consultant at TNTP, Former Teacher and School Principal

Our top priority must be the health and safety of our students and staff. They deserve to attend clean, comfortable buildings that use consistent safety protocols. We need to attend to their emotional health as well by ensuring our teachers and students feel supported so they can focus on the work of teaching and learning.

We also must prioritize academic excellence. COVID has impacted students in various ways and some students need focused help in order to catch up to grade level standards. All of our students need to be provided with updated, rigorous curricular materials so they have the opportunity to excel in school and post-high school life.
As a parent of Stamford Public Schools students, I believe the experience and perspectives of all stakeholders should be part of any accountability plan. We need to elevate student, teacher, and parent voices through regular feedback cycles, including more consistent and frequent use of surveys, focus groups, and other structured ways to gather input.

Having been a school principal, I know that school-level accountability is essential to the success of the district. Currently, data is often presented across the whole district and there are not many ways to see how schools are performing individually. Reviewing more school-by-school data would allow us to see where there are bright spots and successful practices that can be shared throughout the district. At the same time, we can better identify opportunities to provide more resources or support for school principals and their staff.
We have a great opportunity to leverage the unprecedented funding Stamford received from the state in order to upgrade our school facilities. The Long Term Facilities Committee has done an incredible job putting together a multi-year plan that will address the needs of our buildings. Moving forward, we must enact the long-term facilities plan, monitor progress along the way, and provide input to adjust the plan as needed. Given that many of our facilities' needs are due to years of neglect, it is the responsibility of all the boards to ensure this work sets a strong foundation for the sustainability of our buildings and the success of our district.
I support the Equity and Diversity Policy. As a BOE member it would be my responsibility to regularly review student outcome data, staffing data, and resource allocation to ensure that all students within Stamford Public Schools have access and opportunity throughout their Pre-K-12 experience. The policy also names the importance of partnering with students and families to identify and address barriers to achievement, and I would work to ensure that this type of engagement is central to decision-making at the district level.