Letters to the Editor, Town Election Letters to the Editor

Candidate Announcement: Martha Simon for Another Term on School Committee

I am pleased to announce that I am running for a third term as a member of the Burlington School Committee. As a member for the past six years, I have worked very hard to ensure that every student in Burlington can reach their potential – whether in honors classes, on an IEP, or in mainstream classrooms.

For 38 years, I worked as a Special Education teacher. My students had all types of learning abilities and challenges. I also worked with students who didn’t stand out in any particular way, didn’t make waves, but still prospered when they were immersed in quality educational experiences. My goal is to advocate for every student in Burlington so that they can reach their potential – whether in honors classes, on an IEP, or in mainstream classrooms.

Toward that end, I have served on committees to enhance our schools’ ability to offer diversity, equity, and inclusion for all of our students. If re-elected, I will be excited to work with our new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

During the pandemic, I supported full implementation of a range of health and safety requirements with the goal of allowing our schools to re-open as soon as possible. I applaud the fact that, unlike many other districts, Burlington schools have remained open. I continue to advocate for more in-person time for all of our students as soon as possible.

After a year-long review of the research about the effects of later school start times on teen health, learning, and mental health, and after listening to extensive community input, I voted to support the change to a later start time for Burlington High School. There was some good evidence of improved student learning outcomes before the pandemic.

In addition, I have consistently advocated for improved communication between the school department, parents, residents, and Town Meeting members. I consistently encourage transparent budget and accounting policies and procedures throughout the District.

I will continue to advocate for:

* Social Emotional Learning supports and instruction for every student. During and after the COVID 19 pandemic, we need to meet the emotional needs of our students who are living through a very difficult time in their lives. I believe that it is important to address issues of student stress and anxiety by promoting strategies such as new homework policies, mindfulness, and the pace of the school day.

* Implementation of policies that further our core value of promoting cultural proficiency, equity, and a sense of belonging among all students and staff.I believe that cultural proficiency is not just a way of helping students get along while in school, rather it is a set of life skills that every child will need if she or he is to succeed in the increasingly multi-cultural workplace of the 21st century.

* New building projects that we need, starting with renovations at BHS and a new Fox Hill School.

* Best environmental practices and policies for the district.

I am proud to say I have been a resident of Burlington for 28 years and both of my children were educated in the Burlington Public Schools. Just as my family and my children prospered here, I will do my best to provide excellent educational opportunities for today’s families and children.

Martha Simon

Candidate for School Committee