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Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am completing an exciting first term on the school committee and I am running for re-election to the School Committee from Ward 1.  I want to thank everyone who supported my candidacy two years ago and would like to ask for your support and vote again this year on Tuesday, November 3.  School Committee members are at-large positions and all registered voters can vote for all 8 committee members.

I love the Newton schools and want to ensure that every student receives an education that is both academically rigorous and supports each student’s social and emotional development and well-being.  My husband Nate and I have two children who have been in Newton schools:  our son graduated this past year from Newton North and our daughter will graduate in 2017.

My top priorities when I first ran continue to be my priorities for the next two years:  social and emotional learning and facilities.

SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING

Social and emotional learning is a priority because we live in a world where we need to be able to interact with one another, collaborate with one another, and get along with each other both personally and professionally.

This year, Newton received a 5 year federal grant that allowed the district to hire a coordinator who is going to develop and coordinate the social and emotional learning curriculum for all Newton schools.

I am also part of the High School Start Time Working Group that is exploring and researching potential roadmaps to adjusting the high school start time.  Research shows that adolescents need more sleep and perform better if they start later in the morning.  This working group is looking into the impact of delaying the start time at the high schools.

FACILITIES

Facilities continue to be a top priority.  In addition to the 3 major elementary school building projects that are under way at Angier, Zervas and Cabot schools, the City has recently purchased the Aquinas property to address the overcrowding and poor building conditions at Newton’s pre-school, Lincoln Eliot and Horace Mann.

As School Committee Liaison to the Newton Special Education Parent Advisory Council, I have worked to initiate a comprehensive review of facilities for secondary education special programs.  We need to evaluate the facilities for our student service programs at the secondary level.  Students attending these programs are among our most vulnerable and we need to ensure that they have a safe and appropriate learning environment.  The Aquinas property will provide us with some options for these programs.

As a member of the collective bargaining committee, I am proud to say that we recently reached an agreement with the teachers union that compensates our teachers fairly, respects the invaluable contribution they make to our school system and the lives of students, while at the same time is fiscally sustainable and allows us to continue to invest in the breadth of programming and professional development that makes our educational system excellent.

I look forward to the next two years on the School Committee and will continue to work on social emotional learning and facilities.

I have enjoyed meeting with and working with citizens across Newton and would love to hear from you.  Please call me at 617-527-2856 if you would like to talk about any issue.

Thank you for your support on Tuesday, November 3.

Ellen