Michael Hyman (D)

Stamford Board of Education

Managing Consultant

First, managing the impact(s) of two years of the covid health crisis on the emotional and academic well-being of our students and school staff is critical. To be clear, it should not be a surprise to anyone that we have sustained a major hit that will require that we (our BOE, superintendent, central office and building educators) finally learn how to work collaboratively on behalf of our children. All of us should want more than just a recovery and "back to normal". Let us recall that "normal" was not especially good for too many of our students prior to the pandemic.
Second, managing the precious resources in taxpayer dollars to ensure that we are spending each and every penny wisely on our facilities, staffing, and programming is the purview of the BOE. Year-to-year budgeting lacks the fiscal wisdom of an enterprise the size of the Stamford Schools. I will press our board for rigorous 5-year planning for facilities, staffing, and emerging curricula to meet projected students' needs for the future.
Second, we needed a long-range plan several years ago for our buildings that included a vision of how our teachers and students would interact in those spaces. We have not been looking far enough into the future and our lack of planning shows it.
Possibly our understanding of accountability is outdated and too limiting for our current needs. My view is that all of our stakeholders within the Stamford community have a role to play and can and should be held accountable for the educational endeavor of providing a solid education to our children. Clearly, BOE members elected to that position are foremost in ensuring that our schools are carrying out our mission and providing supervision to the schools' chief officer- our superintendent. It is past the time for us to revisit and clarify what our expectations are as a community for schools and the district's performance and to codify them at the board level. The recent discovery of the lack of written curricula across several boards and superintendents shows lack of focus that should not be accepted or tolerated.
1.Build the necessary new schools.
2. Ensure the existence of a maintenance system, plan, and reporting that prevents small and urgent issues from becoming costly
3. Ensure an annual review of each building's status that is formally reported to the board and transparently available to the public.
I absolutely support the Equity Policy because it simply makes sense. If we truly believe in the mission of Stamford's schools, the Equity Policy is not only the right thing to do from a business perspective; we have a moral obligation to ensure that our schools do its level best to ensure the staffing, and resources in an environment that each student knows that they are welcomed and have a clear sense of belonging in that school community. As a board member I would reach out to our superintendent, central office, building educators and most importantly to students to ascertain their thoughts, ideas, and plans that promote the inculcation of our Equity Policy.