The views stated here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of this newspaper. Received July 28, 2021.
When I was a Kindergarten teacher in New Haven, parents most frequently asked about their child’s future. Are they on the right track? Are they kind, caring people who work well with others? Will they find a passion and cultivate it into a fulfilling career? Will they be able to make their way in the world?
Now, as a parent of a toddler, my wife (a current first grade teacher) and I ask the same questions. We all do.
The most important influence on a child’s life is that of their parents/caretakers. And, we must do our best to guide them towards good decision-making, a strong moral compass and an understanding of the world around them. The second most important influence is the school system that a child attends. The school experience can either set a child up for a rewarding adult life, or can leave them ill-equipped to achieve their god-given potential.
I am running for a seat on the RSD17 Board of Education because I believe that each and every child should have a clear path for their future when they graduate high school. So, what does this look like in action?
Here are the building blocks:
- A strong foundation in literacy, math, sciences and civics in early grades;
- Excellent academic, social, athletic, artistic and musical offerings that build essential skills to support future interests and occupations;
- An inclusive and welcoming environment for all children to feel cared for, supported and accepted for who they are; and
- Apprenticeships and experiential learning for ALL high school students before they graduate.
Focusing on apprenticeships, H-K has a real opportunity to set itself apart from other districts. By promising every high school student that they’ll go out into the world and work alongside field experts, RSD17 would offer families something fundamentally different than an average school experience. Whether it’s advanced manufacturing, finance, biosciences, law, medicine, agriculture, specialty trades, or public service, students will develop skills in their field of choice that they’ll take with them to the next phase of their lives. They’ll also gain the “soft skills” of working on teams, interviewing effectively, communicating professionally with an employer, and interacting with people from diverse backgrounds. All necessary skills in the 21st century.
For my day job, I work as an education policy director. In that role, I research innovative school models across the country that partner with businesses, colleges and the community to provide real-world experiences for their students. We have all the talent, hard work and commitment necessary to make this a reality in Haddam and Killingworth. On the Board of Education, I’d work hard to turn this idea into a reality.
Now let’s get to work.
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