Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another SC Candidate Provides Answers

Before the joint SC-SB interview session for the two vacant SC seats on September 12, I invited the eight candidates to provide answers to four questions.

Hal Etkin has already provided his answers in a previous post.

In this Buzz posting James Desrochers provides his answers ...

I would like to preface all of my answers below with the perspective that if I were to be selected as a member of the school committee my first object is to gain an in depth understanding of the issues and challenges of our school system. This knowledge that I gain will in all likelihood modify my thoughts and therefore the answers I have provided below.

 1.  What is the best way to improve the quality of education in our schools?

Having had my daughter graduate from the Longmeadow school system and currently having my son in high school I feel the school system does a fine if not excellent job of education in many areas. However as in everything there is opportunity to improve. I believe the following actions would improve upon the current high level of education our students receive.
  • Strengthen our ties between the high school and local colleges. The focus should be on mentoring and guidance to individual students and clubs.  
  • Strengthen the ties between the high school and middle schools for the same purpose.  I would like to see the current high school club process strengthened. They provide a key opportunity to create excitement with the students and link what they are learning in class to fun and exciting activities.  We need to take more advantage of the Science Technology Math and Engineering (STEM) money available to help students explore areas in math and science.  
  • We need to continue to fund and build our music program. With my whole family involved in music I have found that it creates excitement and creativity of thinking that otherwise may be missed.  Ensure that the physical facilities provide an environment that teachers and students feel positive about.   
  • We need to create a clear vision on where our educational system is going which will allow our entire community to rally behind the vision to move forward. 
2. What is the biggest challenge the school district faces, and how would you try to solve? 

Given the economic times we are in the challenge of balancing the needs of the teachers, parents and community while delivering a quality education is one of the biggest challenges that I see. I would work with all the stakeholders to develop plans forward that create the value we want to deliver for our community. This isn’t a silver bullet for this type of effort. It requires working together and compromising where needed to create a plan that everyone can support and work toward.

3. What is the attribute(s) you bring to the board that should cause School Committee/Select Board member to vote for you?

I am an energetic person with a great deal of experience in the corporate world. I am now in a position to use my energy and skills gained over many years to help the school committee address the challenges it faces and add value. I believe that my desire to participate in the process of clearly understanding the challenges we face in providing the best education for our children and my willingness to work as a team member to create solutions is key. My background in leading and participating on teams, large and small, to create solutions to significant challenges in the engineering environment will help me provide value to the board and the town.

4. If appointed to the School Committee, name two priorities you'll bring to the position over the next 9 months? 

I will focus on is gaining a deep understanding of the many challenges in front of us. I believe that gaining an in depth understanding of the challenges will allow me to add value to the committee, school system and community.While I am working on learning as defined above I will work with the stakeholders in addressing the biggest challenge that I see today which is delivering value in today’s economic environment as previously stated. 

The remaining six SC candidates who have not as yet participated are invited to submit their answers for posting on the Buzz prior to the SC/SB meeting on October 3 during which the two vacancies will be filled.

These two appointments to the School Committee (2 of 7 members on the committee) will be very important to the future of our town.  These two new SC members will likely be casting deciding votes on a number of important decisions over the next 9 months.   

I would encourage all town residents to make their choices known to School Committee and Select Board members.  Select Board email addresses can be found on its webpage

School Committee member official email addresses are as follows:

No comments: