April 17 (Boston) — Following today’s announcement of the three finalists for Superintendent of Boston Public Schools (BPS), E4E-Boston, a teacher-led organization, calls for the final selection process for the BPS superintendent finalists to be transparent, to include robust and diverse community engagement and to end in the selection of a BPS superintendent who will reflect and prioritize the needs of students and educators.
Survey data taken from more than 500 E4E-Boston educators paints a clear picture of the traits needed for students and educators in Boston. Throughout the summer and fall of 2018, we surveyed Boston educators asking what they wanted in their next superintendent. The results of this survey reveal three key traits that educators believe will make their future leader successful: classroom experience, transparency, and community engagement.
Being led by a superintendent who has served in the classroom is important to Marta Fernandes, a high school math teacher at the Community Academy of Science and Health and member of E4E-Boston, who stated that, “In order to make decisions for students and teachers, a superintendent needs to know what it is like for students and staff day-to-day. How do you respond when a student tells you they are homeless? How does that information change your daily lesson plan? How can we address our students’ basic needs so that they are in the best possible position to learn?”
Katie Papadeas, an elementary ESL teacher at the Trotter Innovation School and member of E4E-Boston, shared, "Transparency is important because I need to know where our district is going and what the big plan is. I want to know the initiatives we are using, how they are being tracked, and if we as a district are making progress.”
Karen Gonzalez, a Family Community Outreach Coordinator at the Hurley K-8 and member of E4E-Boston, sees the ability to create real connection with the community surrounding BPS as a crucial part of the superintendent job and that, “To authentically connect with the diverse student population and their families and create a collaborative culture is a strength that the next superintendent must have. This strength is acquired through prioritizing family and community engagement. The next superintendent needs to be able to inspire trust among the many stakeholders in BPS.”
“E4E-Boston is heartened that the Selection Committee has selected finalists who have all spent time teaching in a classroom, and urges BPS and the Boston School Committee to ensure a transparent process that includes the wisdom of the broader community,” said Brandy Fluker-Oakley, Executive Director of E4E-Boston. “Taking these values seriously will ensure that when the decision is made, the district’s new leader and the city can move forward together and tackle the essential work of educating Boston’s students.”
In addition to these three traits, E4E-Boston members currently lead two campaigns addressing critical issues facing the next BPS superintendent.
“Our member-led campaigns speak directly to the vision needed by the next BPS superintendent,” continued Fluker-Oakley. “How will each candidate address students’ mental health needs in alignment with our teacher-written recommendations in the paper Schools that Heal that is aimed making at schools more trauma-informed? In addition, how will each candidate implement restorative justice practices in all BPS schools in alignment with leading recommendations from a soon-to-be-released educator paper on fostering positive school culture?”
E4E-Boston will be encouraging educators to weigh in through all methods provided by the district for feedback in selecting the next Boston Public Schools Superintendent.