Did you know?
Initial results of a comprehensive market research project (a prime objective of Patty's campaign) highlight our strengths and some problems we need to address: academic quality, behavior, teaching to the test. Unfortunately, we left out a huge section of our city — families that never enrolled in our district, choosing private, parochial or charter schools.
Why should you vote # 1 for Patty Nolan, and ask others to do the same?
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I am honored to be serving on School Committee and ask for your support November 3. I make a positive difference, keep my promises and focus unwaveringly on improving achievement for all students.
The summary of my campaign is simple: With our resources — community partners (Harvard, MIT), money ($27,000 per student) and families (many engaged highly educated advocates of public education), Cambridge should be at the top of the state. But we are not yet. We are making progress, and I have played a role in improvements. I make a real difference.
The summary of why support me is also simple: I have made a positive difference, I hold true to my principles of accountability, respect, transparency and excellence. My background is a welcome addition to the mix of skills at the table. I am effective and work collaboratively with my colleagues in the city and district to achieve positive change.
What IS the job of School Committee member?
When you elect us, it is to do four things:
I excel at each element. I have been successful and effective in each area. I am proud and happy that my background and approach to my job have proven so valuable. Read on for a summary by area.
On the single most important issue - the choice of superintendent: I was active throughout the process. I talked to educational leaders, vetted the candidates, listened to everyone and reached out to parents, community leaders & staff of all colors and backgrounds. Having been chargrined to feel over time that our choice of Dr. Young , whom I had championed seven years ago, was not doing the job, I did far more due diligence this time. And the recent appointment of Dr. Kenneth Salim, who will start in July of 2016, gives me hope. He is a new generation of leaders.
On our budget: I champion transparency and keep focused on the tremendous opportunity and responsibility we have in spending the $27,000 per student you give us. I've led the way redirecting millions of our surplus dollars (which we still had, even this year) into our schools and classrooms. I highlight areas of inequities and work to remedy problem areas. We have a ways to go, but partly thanks to my work, you know more about our budget, and we are more focused on assessing effectiveness to use our dollars more wisely.
On policies: I have worked on complex policy issues such as our controlled choice policy - with the result being that a comprehensive review is finally in process. I also work consistently and diligently (with success) to improve our district's environmental policies. And advocate for needed strategic planning in special education and technology.
On representing people: I ensure that voices of our community are heard. Two examples of the numerous times I represent students needs: Hearing concerns about rigor, notably in math across our elementary schools, and living it with my own children, I raised the issue. Some initiatives in math are taking place and I will continue to push for more. Our city, birthplace of The Algebra Project should be a leader. Knowing of issues in our special education department, I advocated and supported addressing concerns such as the outdated strategic plan, staff overload and SPED PAC involvement.
SUMMARY: I do the job very well.
In addition to skills, I have what it takes to be a great public servant.
Excellent training: Part of what allows me to do a good job is my background. I bring management knowledge, strategic thinking, and thoughtful analysis to the Committee. We can only make good policy if we practice intellectual honesty, insist on good information and use a constructive approach to addressing issues. I do that. We need someone like me on School Committee. My background running small businesses, doing corporate consulting, and helping with a range of small mission-based organizations gave me skills I apply every day to my School Committee work.
High expectations: Another reason to support me is that I am tireless in celebrating our successes, yet push us to address our shortcomings. Successes like extremely high graduation rates for all, including students of color. Shortcomings like an embarrassingly low proficiency for black, Latino, low income and special education students. And a 30+ point achievement gap unchanged in 6 years. Successes like the availability of programs across the city, both during the school day and afterschool, mostly for free. Shortcomings like the lack of music programs as in-depth as neighboring districts with fewer resources. Successes like unbelievable opportunities in some areas including biotech internships, shortcomings like many students not being challenged in math.
Courage: I respect the boundaries of School Committee roles, and am not afraid to take action when warranted. For example, reversing a decision to move a special education class out of CRLS. Or proposing a restoration of funds to two of our most effective non profit partners — Breakthrough Cambridge and Cambridge School Volunteers. Not to pander to votes, but because cutting those programs without cutting other partners just seemed unfair and short-sighted.
Integrity: You can count on me to be clear about my stands. You may not agree, but you will know where I stand. In line with that integrity, I vote my conscience, not what's convenient or politically expedient. Also, I never forget that our role is to monitor the district. For example, while I supported Dr. Young strongly, once there was a lot of data that he was not the right leader for the future, I lived up to my promise to hold him accountable. My evaluation reflected an honest assessment, backed up with examples.
Effectiveness: I have been an independent voice and a force for positive change in many areas! My impact has been substantive in many ways. I also follow up on issues, not just introduce motions. And I know that collaboration and accountability are key to continued improvement.
SUMMARY: I fulfill my promises, do an excellent job and have the character to continue to be effective and live my values. I hope you agree I've earned another term.
If you like what I've done and will do, I need your help. No one is guaranteed a seat. Please make sure I keep mine. I need your # 1 vote, any financial donation you can make, and your help Election Day either at the polls, or by encouraging friends, family, and contacts to vote #1 for me.