Saying that “our children are our future” is cliché only because it remains so true. The quality of our schools reflects and shapes the quality of our community. And I’m committed, as a parent no less than as a politician, to schools that open a world of opportunity for both our kids and our community.
The diversity that is one of Somerville’s greatest strengths is also among our greatest challenges in achieving that goal. We’ve made great strides in elevating MCAS scores and retaining families who would have otherwise moved to the suburbs when their kids reached school age. But we still face challenges in preparing less advantaged kids for today’s economy and world.
It all starts with early childhood education, and Somerville has been a leader in the state in universal pre-K. Then, across all grades, we need the best in teaching personnel and educational facilities.
In the last five years, we have attracted great teachers and support personnel. Somerville High School was recently named the top urban magnet school in Massachusetts. Its “FabLab” already partners with incubators, such as Canopy City, a startup and social impact focused co-working space and incubator based in Somerville. The high school also has partnerships with Harvard, MIT, Lesley, Bunker Hill and Tufts. A winner of XQ Foundation’s Schools-of-the-Future competition and funded for deep innovation, we are at the center of integrating schools, universities, work, careers, and innovation.
Just last year, Somerville voters renewed their commitment to the high school by approving funding for a new, state-of-the-art facility. It was a clear-cut victory for our future high schoolers, and one that I was proud to have played a part in—going door-to-door to lobby support.
Yet this is no time to rest on our laurels. To make our schools even better, we can work together to expand universal pre-K to a full-day, give kids more time to move and be active during the school day, and strengthen our after-school programs and integrate them with the main curriculum.