Shrewsbury Candidate Statement – School Committee – Sandra Fryc (Incumbent)


Shrewsbury Candidate Statement – School Committee – Sandra Fryc (Incumbent)
Sandra Fryc

Please provide a brief biographical background on yourself. What should voters know about you?

I am a Senior Dispute Resolution Consultant at Unum Insurance. I have an MBA and BS in Business Management. In 1997 I became involved in our schools as a parent volunteer, including as a member of the Floral, Sherwood, and Oak School Councils.

I have been a Town Meeting Member since 2003, and a board member of the Shrewsbury Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises funds for school enrichment grants, since 2008. My husband and I have lived in Shrewsbury for 31-years. My two children graduated from SPS and were well-prepared for the challenges ahead.

I have served on the Shrewsbury School Committee since 2008. I served as Chair of the School Committee five times, including a consecutive two-year period through the COVID years of 2020-2021. I have served on various subcommittees, including the Superintendent Search Committee, the town’s Master Plan Committee, Vice Chair and Chair of the Beal Building Committee, the Beal Redistricting Committee, and the policy and finance subcommittees.

Why are you running?

I am running for re-election to the Shrewsbury School Committee to ensure our schools stay high achieving. My institutional knowledgeable, leadership skills, and proven record of delivering high-quality, fiscally responsible educational services assists our district to meet the expectations of our community and the needs of all students. Stability and a deep appreciation of our district’s success and challenges are critical for well-informed decision-making and fiscal stewardship. I have years of work experience in negotiations. This skill is beneficial when negotiating contracts with union leadership that are fair to employees and to taxpayers. I am proud of our district and my contributions to its success, yet work remains to be done. The district needs to continue to work to reduce learning gaps because of the pandemic, especially in literacy; mitigate the effects on students who no longer have access to vocational experiences; and complete new strategic priorities/goals for 2023-2027 to meet the needs and vision of our district.

In both the short- and long-term, what should the schools do to address the growing need for technical education?

Shrewsbury cannot replicate the programs provided at vocational/technical high schools. To mitigate the effects on students, our district needs to assess, strengthen, and add to the systems used to delivery educational experiences in Career and Technical Education (CTE), both in-house and outside of the traditional school learning. The district is currently exploring a program sponsored by MA DESE called Innovation Pathways to develop coursework to give students experience in a specific high-demand industry, such as information technology, engineering, healthcare, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. The district is looking into business partnerships and higher education to advance career technical education. This is a complex challenge, but work is being done and will continue to move forward to assist students with CTE. Combining academic, technical, and occupational knowledge will better prepare students for job, career, and college decision making.

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.? 

Assessment of students’ academic gaps and behavioral health was particularly important due to the effects of the pandemic. The district’s purchase of the STAR Reading and Math assessment tool allows educators to measure student performance against state benchmarks and national norms. Standardized testing provides valuable data, but the current STAR assessment gives real time results to facilitate timely interventions. Based on data, the district is working to update literacy instruction to match current research and best practices. The SC advocated for increased FY ’24 funding for literacy resources for grades K-6. Due to mental health concerns, the SC advocated for resources in the FY ’23 budget and added clinical staff throughout the district. SPS has a multi-tiered system of support approach to working with students presenting with mental health, emotional, social, and/or behavioral challenges. This support is an integral part of the critical connection between social, emotional, and behavioral health and academic success.

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