Northborough candidate profiles: Mariam Ibrahimi – Regional School Committee

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Mariam Ibrahimi is running for a seat on the Northborough/Southborough Regional School Committee. (Photo/Submitted)

NORTHBOROUGH/SOUTHBOROUGH – Northborough and Southborough are gearing up for their 2021 municipal elections on May 11. As voters get set to head to the polls, the Community Advocate has zeroed in on contested races for prominent bodies like Board of Selectmen and School Committee.

The Community Advocate reached out to candidates who filed paperwork to appear on their town’s ballot and asked them to submit a personal statement as well as answers to three specific questions.

See those biographies and read extended questions and answers from Northborough/Southborough Regional School Committee Candidate Mariam Ibrahimi here…

And see profiles of other candidates…

PERSONAL BIO

I grew up in Northborough and graduated ARHS in 2019. Currently the Vice Chair of the Northborough Diversity and Inclusion Committee, I collaborate on solutions to foster a more welcoming community.

With 1⁄4 of ARHS students identifying as people of color, the Regional School Committee does not adequately represent the experiences of diverse students. I’m running because we must do better by our community. I’ve crafted my priorities with input from parents, teachers, local elected officials, community members, and most importantly, students. It’s time for a young, diverse voice on the School Committee and I hope to earn your support.

QUESTIONS

What do you see as the most important issue(s) facing the Northborough Southborough Public Schools today?

Over the past few months I’ve sought community input on what we need from the Regional School Committee, and the overwhelming consensus can be categorized by five priorities:

  1. Ensuring an equitable COVID-19 recovery
  2. Updating curriculum to provide a just and equitable education
  3. Empowering and amplifying student voices
  4. Fostering a safe and inclusive environment
  5. Maintaining an empowering relationship with teachers

For each, I have devised several solutions because our community doesn’t just need ideas. We need action.

For example, we aren’t having crucial conversations about racial justice and cultural awareness, and student voices have been ignored and silenced for too long. We can begin addressing this with a comprehensive review and update of our curriculum — from mathematics, to english, to health — to prioritize student wellbeing and cultural awareness, and maximize learning benefits, rather than “teaching to the test.” My detailed solutions for these priorities can be found at votemariam.com/priorities.

COVID-19 has uniquely impacted school systems and members of the school community. How would you approach the ongoing questions and decisions any school committee member will have to make as the vaccine rollout and school reopening process continues?

While the reopening plan will be largely settled by the time I hope to join the committee, I believe the plan should be made in conjunction with teachers, parents, and students, and guided by CDC recommendations to ensure maximum safety.

Looking forward, the committee must be proactive in reducing the mental and emotional challenges of the pandemic by ensuring effective mental health resources. As a student, I understand the effect that our rigorous school curriculum demands on the mental health of students. That burden is even heavier now, given the isolation of this past year.

When the Regional School Committee reviews this budget this fall, I want to explore how we can reallocate resources to protect and empower our students to build their mental and social health and prioritize wellbeing. I’ve also outlined several other steps and solutions for ensuring an equitable COVID-19 recovery, which are detailed on my website.

Is there anything else you want voters to know about you as a candidate?

I decided to run for Regional School Committee for two main reasons.

First, students deserve to have their concerns heard and amplified by the School Committee. As a young person of color, I would bring valuable experience and expertise.

Second, I believe the lack of diversity on the committee leaves several blind spots where we should be proactive, rather than reactive. There is a pervasive issue of bullying and racism that occurs in our schools that has not been adequately addressed. I am the only candidate with a comprehensive list of priorities and solutions that is rooted in community input and student empowerment.

In short, I’m running because we have a good school system, but with a young and diverse perspective, it can be excellent. With my experience in local government and community engagement, I would bring valuable expertise to the committee to help make our schools even better.