6/21/16: “Somerville Schools Ward 3 End-of-Year Update”

April 2017

Dear friends and neighbors,
It has been my great honor and privilege to serve the residents of Ward 3 as your School Committee representative, and I once again write to ask for your support as I seek re-election this November 2017. 
In these very troubling political times, it has been truly inspiring to work at the local level for greater equity and the highest of educational standards in our Somerville Public Schools. We are very fortunate to have a skillful and dedicated educational leader in our Superintendent, Mary Skipper, as well as a very supportive and engaged Mayor and Board of Aldermen. I am so grateful for the shared values I hold with my committed and diligent colleagues on the Committee.
Working together, we have taken critical stands on many issues facing our public schools, including the resounding defeat of a ballot question last fall that would have expanded charter schools and further exacerbated the harmful effects of the state’s outdated school funding formula that leaves our schools chronically underfunded. Last spring, we unanimously approved a resolution that urged our state legislators to pass a moratorium on high stakes testing, to give districts the freedom to explore alternative forms of assessment that are more valuable for educational outcomes and less harmful to kids. We also unequivocally asserted — and adopted the necessary policies to support — that our schools will continue to be welcoming sanctuaries for all our students and their families, regardless of national origin, gender identity, religious belief, or any other targeted category.
Personally, I have been gratified to see much of my campaign platform become prominent district-wide priorities since I took office, such as: 
  Tackling equity issues and opportunity gaps head-on by expanding the breadth and  depth of our after school programming for students across the socio-economic spectrum 
  Increasing language access by better coordinating the delivery of translation and interpretation services, so that all families can more fully participate in our school communities
•  Placing greater emphasis on wellness and socio-emotional supports so that our school communities are healthy and peaceful places for children to learn and grow
I am also excited by our recent formation of a new legislative priorities sub-committee that I initiated to enable our school committee to more effectively weigh in on state and federal education policies that increasingly affect our students, faculty, and staff. 
But we have more work to do, and I need your help to do it!
Please join Board of Aldermen President Bill White and School Committee Vice Chair Andre Green to celebrate my 38th birthday and to kick off my re-election campaign at Cantina La Mexicana in Union Sq. on April 30, from 4pm – 5:30pm. 
I look forward to seeing you, sharing my goals for our district, and, as always, hearing your questions and concerns about our schools. 
Lee Erica Palmer, Esq.