Vice President Butler Associates Strategic Communications, Real Estate Agent, Stamford High School Governance Council, Previous Member Rogers International PTO Board, Previous Member Trinity Catholic’s Home-School Association Board, Previous Member Shippan Point Association Board
I would like to focus on academic excellence for all students and making sure our school facilities are safe and operational.
We have a 300M education budget and 48.5% of Stamford Residents tax dollars fund our public schools. We need to raise the academic standards for all students and provide them with a quality education, so that when they graduate high school, they can take the skills they’ve acquired and carry them forward to college, trade school or work. If we do not hold students accountable for turning in their classwork or excuse absences and allow for excessive tardiness, we are not setting them up for future success.
Our school facilities are falling apart, some more than others, due to years of neglect and deferred maintenance and lack of proper care under a prior outsourced management company. We cannot expect students and staff to do their best when dealing with old buildings that do not have the proper air quality, ventilation, working windows or bathrooms in some cases.
With the recent federal stimulus money, I would like to see a full breakdown of what was done to ensure in-school air quality has been addressed and those funds not merely reappropriated for other projects. We need to work with the Mayor and Board of Reps and Finance to ensure that are schools get the money and infrastructure updates they require. The quality of our facilities is critical if we want to retain quality educators and students from leaving the district.
We have a 300-million-dollar school budget for 2022/2023 and we are at a critical time in our educational history and need to re-evaluate the programs that we have in place, because the system is not performing to its maximum capacity. We need to focus on reading, writing, science, and arithmetic, and make sure we are utilizing everything in our toolbox to ensure our city’s children are learning.
We need to meet with the teachers in the classrooms and understand why some kids are not achieving at a higher level. Is it because we stopped grouping by ability some years ago? We as a board need to listen more intently to the teachers and students. While campaigning, we toured several schools and heard from teachers and principals. We should look at the success of certain schools, and how their climate and approach to enhanced learning and reading and math results can be a benchmark to foster wider academic excellence in each and every one of our school buildings. For example, while visiting the schools this Fall, I learned that one elementary school offered Saturday school. This was designed to help struggling students catch up academically and should be rolled out to all schools to catch students up.
First, I would like to clarify a common misconception: The city builds our schools, and the Board of Education maintains the schools and operates them. We need to make sure all our buildings are safe and offer the highest level of security. We also need to make sure we are completing the updates within several schools that are not slated for a re-build to make sure they have bathrooms that operate, doors that close properly and repairs that have been ignored under the prior outsourced maintenance companies. Having worked on the revitalization of the Stamford High School Courtyard, I saw first-hand how this project was approved by the BOE, but not necessarily completed. School grounds and beautification has always been of passion of mine, serving on the Stamford High School Governance Council, I was focused on beautification of the school grounds. Follow through is very important to me and if elected I plan to spend a good part of my time understanding the building needs of each school.
I support improving the education outcomes and environment for all students in the Stamford Public Schools. We need to evaluate and understand the data and look at ways we can improve the outcomes for all students. We need to focus on the recent SBAC scores and put remediation strategies in place to help the students who are below average while continuing to challenge all students. This makes up a large segment of our student community, with 68% in Math and 59% in English who nearly met or have not met their goals in 2021/2022. Looking at the data from prior years (starting with 2015/2016), excluding COVID 2019/2020, our numbers were not any better, ranging from 50-52% in English and Math 59-57% (math went down year after year) that nearly met or have not met goals. (Information taken from Edsight.ct.gov)
We must make sure that the $300-million educational budget is being spent wisely and that it translates to achievement and quality academic outcomes for all students. If this is not the result, we are delivering for all stakeholders in the student community, we need to pivot and change those outcomes. We further need to partner with valuable community-based programs like Beyond Limits, Boys and Girls Club, and SPEF to offer more tutoring and mentoring services that will help the neediest of our students to build up upon the educational foundation this school system can and will provide them. We also need to offer quality tutoring and remediation programs in our schools and make them mandatory.