Northborough Candidate Statement – School Committee – Gigi Lisa Howell

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Northborough Candidate Statement – School Committee – Gigi Lisa Howell
Gigi Lisa Howell

Why are you running? 

I would love the opportunity as a committee member to bring my unique talents and experience to the table to assist in collaborating with the current team. If voted in, I will be able to ensure the parents of Northborough have a voice and are included in all decision making across the board. Most importantly, when I cast my vote on pending matters, it is on behalf of what the parents want, not solely off personal or someone else’s one-track agenda.

What are the three biggest issues facing the Northborough School Committee in order of importance?

The biggest issue facing Northborough School Commitee at this time is diversity amongst its committee members. Each member currently is from the same school district, all from one neighborhood. Not sure that qualifies for equity, diversity and fair representation to all.

Second issue Northborough School Committee faces is communication and the delivery of getting vital information out to the parents within our community. Lastly, the method of obtaining parents input and feedback is lacking. We can do better and need to hold ourselves as committee members to a higher standard by evaluating ourselves and modifying our current methods on feedback regarding what the parents want.

How well do you think the Northborough schools address the current education needs of the town? Please explain your answer. 

The current Northborough School Committee hitting the benchmark regarding addressing the current educational needs in Northborough would be best graded on a scale 1-10. In my opinion, we currently are at a 6. Our community deserves better and especially after COVID we should be at a 9 or 10 on the benchmark, and not stopping there. Educational needs include academics, special needs of course but also include the whole individual pertaining to their mental health and overall health in order to achieve high educational benchmarks.

Looking to the future, what steps should the schools take to address the educational needs of 2030?

Engaging with superintendent, teachers and staff regarding revision of curriculum as well as providing the most current textbooks / online textbooks to our youth, our future leaders. Additionally, supporting and promoting our vision, our mission, goals and strategies within the community, allowing parents to get more engaged. Lastly, we must prioritize the health and well-being of our future leaders. The setbacks with COVID pandemic continue to take a toll on the physical and mental health of our students, staff and educators. As a mental health provider, I took note during our most recent annual town meeting it was brought to light on conjoining the needs for mental health with the much-needed family youth services including resources. These issues are too big to collaborate, and I firmly believe the future educational needs must separate but also include the collaboration of these two major contributing factors within our educational system in order to successfully bridge the gap to secure educational needs in the future.

What role do you see the schools in playing in sustainability initiatives? 

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” – Brundtland Commission 1987.

I strongly believe that the school committee should be taking on the role of inclusion and equity by means of delivering to our community our commitment to sustainability, regarding real measures that support our core values. Northborough School Committe’s core values include to educate, inspire and challenge by implementing integrity, empathy, inclusivity, equity, perseverance and respect. I see a role needing to be filled that aims to create our own “sustainability toolkit” where we can access training, tools and other resources to educators, parents and the community on sustainability. Providing these resources as well as eLearning programs for students to initiate the process of integrating sustainability into operations and their culture for successful future leaders here in Northborough.

What is your relevant experience to serve on the Northborough School Committee?

My endeavors to become a part of any Northborough Committees has become increasingly complex. Current members lack the ability to accept working alongside everyone that comes to the table. Despite a possible new member bringing in a new perspective other than their selective agenda, denying the ability to create a diverse committee.

I firmly believe that I am qualified to hold a seat on Northborough School Committee. Most important, I currently have two children in the Northborough school system. I am a mental health provider and have a career in Youth Crisis Services. I actively engage and collaborate with the Metrowest district police, school resource officers, and school social workers. I have experience working with a vast variety of families including immigrant status, divorced w/ split custody, LGBTQ, special needs and DCF involvement with child services to name a few. My diverse experiences will help provide a different perspective to assist within our growing diverse community.

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