First, say a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Poland when it was still a communist country and I quickly learned the value and importance of free speech and education. As a computer engineering Ph.D. student, I worked briefly as a teaching assistant and later as a research assistant until I finished my degree. In 2012, my wife and I moved to Westborough mainly because of its great school rankings. We have three sons that are currently enrolled in Westborough, and my wife is a paraeducator at Mill Pond. Westborough has been a tremendous support to our son who was diagnosed as hard of hearing and placed out-of-district for a few years. For the past 15 years, I have been working for a small R&D company with a strong focus on AI. I am also volunteering as a soccer coach, WYSA field director, and webmaster for the cub and boy scouts in Westborough.
Why are you running for School Committee?
I owe this service to our town which has been an incredible support to my family. I can relate to parents who face the challenges that come with disabilities in a school setting. Being bilingual I can also relate to the many bilingual children in our district who, like me once, have to access education in a second language. I also see the impact that the pandemic had on my own children and I would love to help reduce the gap that was created during the remote/hybrid learning period. My wife’s work experience has allowed me to better understand how the schools operate and what is the teachers’ perspective on various policies. Finally, the recent rise of disruptive technologies creates many challenges to our educational system and I would love to bring my professional expertise to help shape the direction in which Westborough is responding to it.
What would you consider to be the top three issues for Westborough Public Schools?
At this moment, as for most school districts in the country, the biggest issues are the negative effects of the pandemic, academically, socially, and emotionally. The second issue is the rise of disruptive technology, especially social media, intelligent bots like ChatGPT, or the prevalence of misinformation and disinformation, which greatly challenge the role of education and teaching methods. The third issue is balancing the budgetary constraints while providing appropriate support for both the students with disabilities and the English Language Learners.
I would like to emphasize that despite the challenges, our district has been performing incredibly well and it is the main reason why so many people want to move here and raise their children.
After more than two years, COVID-19 has started to recede. How do you believe the schools are handling the impact from the pandemic – mental health, MCAS scores, etc.?
While I strongly believe that socio-emotional learning should mostly occur at home, I recognize the fact that not every student in our town can depend on it and I think our schools have done a great job in providing this type of support to them. From an academic perspective, our MCAS scores have dropped although not as severely as in other districts. Statewide staff shortages and budgetary constraints are not helping in dealing with the academic loss, but through my children’s education, I see that Westborough is moving away from helping our kids cope to motivating them to work hard and be accountable. Going forward, I believe our schools should be putting the most emphasis on academic loss.