Jeff Thielman
 
  State Issues  
 
 

 

 

Arlington has become one of the higher performing districts in Massachusetts. Our schools consistently test in the top quartile in nearly every academic category, and some of our schools are in the very top in the state. Arlington High School is a Level 1 school, the state’s highest rating. The School Committee’s responsibility is to focus on the big picture – the need to foster a culture in our schools in which teaching and learning is always improving.

There are several issues critical to student learning that I want to address in the next three years.

  • New Standards: Over the past several years Arlington, like all public school districts, has been transitioning from the Massachusetts State Standards to the Common Core, a national set of standards. Ensuring that the curriculum is aligned with the common core will be critical to our success. This is an ongoing process. I understand the challenges and benefits of this transition and want to ensure that we provide support to our educators.
  • Teachers, counselors, and teaching assistants: Over the past several years Arlington, like all public school districts, has been transitioning from the Massachusetts State Standards to the Common Core, a national set of standards. Ensuring that the curriculum is aligned with the common core will be critical to our success. This is an ongoing process. I understand the challenges and benefits of this transition and want to ensure that we provide support to our educators.
  • 21st Century Technology: Our teachers should receive training in the best technologies available in education, and our district should have the technology appropriate for a 21st century school system. We’ve made great strides in recent years, but there is more to do.
  • Rebuilding Our Schools: As the chair of the Facilities Subcommittee and the School Committee's representative to the Thompson School Building Committee, I’ve been in the middle of discussions about making sure we have good facilities for learning. I’ve also learned a great deal about the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) process. I want to use this experience to help the district address infrastructure needs at Stratton, Ottoson, and Arlington High School. We are resubmitting our Statement of Interest (SOI) to the MSBA for the high school, and there is a plan to renovate Stratton that requires the approval of Town Meeting. The Ottoson is crowded, but the potential rebuild of Stratton will necessitate the purchase and lease of portable classrooms, some of which can remain at Ottoson for many years and thereby alleviate space constraints in that facility.
  • Enhancing Science and Math Curriculum: Our District has the potential to provide first rate education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In the last three years we've made huge strides in these areas, adding programming courses, reconfiguring the wood shop into a maker place, and enhancing technology in varied places like foreign languages, digital photography, and technology classes (e.g. adding 3D printers in middle school, building underwater robots, etc.)
  • Diversity:Arlington draws families from diverse racial, ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. The Arlington Public Schools needs to intensify its efforts to recruit teachers and administrators of color and to provide cultural competency training to all staff. Our students benefit from a racially diverse faculty and staff because we are preparing them to live, learn and work in a diverse, multicultural society.
  • School Committee -- Leading our Schools: : It is imperative that the School Committee continue to address issues thoughtfully and professionally. The Committee underwent training sponsored by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC) that has helped us operate more effectively. Our meetings are productive and focused on teaching and learning. I am committed to ensuring that we continue this focus during the next three years.
  • Budgeting: : Each year we say no to more than $1 million of worthy requests from the district leadership. My commitment is to be as creative as we can with staffing, course offerings, and scheduling to work within the limits of our budget, and do everything to secure more funding for our schools locally and at the state level.

Please feel free to contact me with your thoughts, ideas and concerns ( jeff.thielman@gmail.com ).

 

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