Marchi: Facing today’s challenges

I am excited to be running for the School Committee, and I ask for your vote on Nov. 7. I believe my commitment and experience will enable me to be an effective member from the first day I take office, something especially important on the next School Committee when more than half of the new members will be new. I will represent all of Newton and be an independent voice on the School Committee.

My family moved to Newton so that our children could benefit from our outstanding school system. Our two children attended Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School, Bigelow and Day Middle Schools, and Newton North High School.

Our two kids followed very different paths through the school system and we deeply appreciate the work by the teachers and staff who approached each child in a manner that was best for them. Their different experiences have given me a very personal and meaningful perspective on what it means to make a commitment to educate the whole child, to focus on both academics and social and emotional learning, and to provide both traditional and non-traditional paths for our children.

I have spent most of my personal and professional life working to help young people and families in need. I was director of the Newton Partnership, a community organization that worked with other community groups to coordinate programs and services for Newton’s youths and families. We also created non-school based programs for that provided real and meaningful opportunities for our children, often those with limited resources.

I was previously the Federal Grant Project director for our schools, providing support to our youth experiencing mental health or addiction crises. I was the community liaison in the Social and Emotional Learning Department and expanded the training of school staff in Responsive Classroom practices. These experiences gave me a wonderful insight into how to work effectively with other organizations to prioritize our students in need, and then to lead programs and services that could make a real difference in their lives.

My volunteer commitments have also given me a special window into the challenges facing many in our community, and how we can make a difference if we focus on the right programs and services. I am on the board of the Centre Street Food Pantry, was a QPR Suicide Prevention trainer, a teen mentor and president of the Newton North High School Tiger Athletic Booster Club. These different opportunities remain central to who I am as a person, my values and priorities in life, and my commitment to work for all members of our community regardless of their needs or challenges.

I will continue to work for these values on the School Committee because I believe that the chances for every child’s success are significantly enhanced when families, schools, organizations and agencies work together. I am running for School Committee because I want to utilize the skills and experience I have in Newton to help make Newton Public Schools even better than they are today. I have several key priorities.

First, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Cultural Competency: Newton is a leader in SEL across Massachusetts, and SEL skills are the foundation for the academic, social and emotional success of all students. They are also central to many of my professional and community experiences.

Second, Full-Day Kindergarten and after-school opportunities for all students: When I worked for the Newton Partnership, I developed out-of-school programs to help children across Newton. Research shows that Full-Day Kindergarten and access to after school programs helps to close the achievement gap and play an important role in achieving SEL goals for students.

My kids had a tremendous experience in the Newton schools. I want to ensure that others do too, regardless of their needs, challenges, and income level.

I ask for your vote for on Tuesday, Nov. 7 for the School Committee member from Ward 1 (all Newton can vote). Please visit my website, for more information.

Posted in Newton Tab, October 6, 2017