AP NEWS

Mayor, Project LEARN Host Forum on Next Lowell Supt.

March 11, 2019

Sun staff report

LOWELL -- What does it take to be Lowell’s next Superintendent of Schools? Project LEARN, Mayor William Samaras, and a wide array of parents and community partners are eager to learn.

On Wednesday, March 13, Project LEARN will partner with the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Lowell Public Schools, and the Mayor’s Office to host a community forum and expert panel discussion on Lowell’s next school Superintendent. Additional partners include the statewide policy thinktank MassINC and Lowell’s Citywide Family Council.

The informal community dialogue and discussion will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Butler Middle School, 1140 Gorham St. All parents, students, educators, community members and stakeholders are invited to participate.

“There has never been a more pivotal time for our students and our school committee to identify an exceptional leader to head our public school system,” said Mayor William Samaras. “The Lowell School Committee is committed to having an open and transparent process that ensures our parents, students, educators, stakeholders and community have a voice in this process.”

The forum is an extension of the Your Voice Matters project, seed funded by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and organized by Project LEARN.

“When our parents, students, and community stakeholders have a voice in decision making, Lowell students benefit,” said LZ Nunn, Executive Director at Project LEARN.

Expert panelists will help provide some context during the beginning of the discussion. They include Cheryl Camacho, special assistant to Massachusetts Commissioner for Education Jeff Riley; Ben Forman from MassInc; Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents; and New Bedford School Committee Member Colleen Dawicki. The discussion will be hosted by Nunn and moderated by Tom Zuppa, The Sun’s senior editor.

Focus areas in the dialogue may include districtwide accountability, capacity-building, sustainability, and issues of equity in meeting student needs from early childhood through college and career readiness. Panelists and community members may also discuss best practices for conducting a search and communicating to the public through all steps in the process to integrate community voice.

“It is important that the needs and concerns of families be heard during the hiring process,” said Christle Roberts, a member of the Citywide Family Council’s leadership team, and parent of sixth- and eighth-grade students at the Wang School. “We need a Superintendent that understands our diverse community and one that has a proven track record managing a urban district.”

For information on Project LEARN, contact Shamir Rivera at srivera@projectlearninc.org or visit www.projectlearninc.org .