Northborough Candidate Statement – School Committee – Kelly Guenette (Incumbent)

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Northborough Candidate Statement – School Committee – Kelly Guenette (Incumbent)
Kelly Guenette

Why are you running?

I’ve had the privilege for the past 6 years serving on the School Committee to help make our schools a place where students feel included while gaining a well rounded education. I am proud of the achievements we have made over the years, but I am also well aware of the work still to be done in order to further enhance the learning experience. I am running for re-election because my work is not done! I want to continue representing our community, be approachable to parents, teachers, staff, and residents with their feedback in order to ensure their voices are included in decisions impacting our schools. I am as passionate about the work we are doing as I was when I began 6 years ago. I know the work it takes to get things done, as well as the level of involvement and time it takes to serve effectively on the Committee. I am so proud of the impactful work I have been a part of over the past 6 years. I want to continue helping the Northborough school community to ensure our students receive the best possible educational experience.

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

Several issues impact the quality of education. Budget constraints are a chief concern. We have worked diligently with administrators to create operating budgets which support the needs of our schools while balancing against economic challenges and the impact on Northborough residents. As school needs evolve, ensuring that we are maximizing every dollar is one of my primary concerns. Also, ensuring that we retain and develop the amazing educators and support staff we have is paramount. We are blessed to have a group of dedicated, compassionate school community members which help protect and develop our children. I want to support them while also expanding our community of educators to better reflect the community. Lastly, many of our school buildings are aging and in desperate need of improvements in order to provide a safe, stimulating atmosphere. I am proud of the capital improvements we have made to several of our schools, and I will work tirelessly to further update the schools in need of improvements as we move forward.

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

I believe within our K-8 school system we make a conscious effort to provide an equal education experience for all students regardless of their background, abilities, learning styles. Our educators and support staff are passionate about providing a well rounded educational experience and for developing students. Despite best intentions, unfortunately some students do get left out or behind to some extent. With the expanding diversity amongst our community we need to be better in educating each other about our differences and supporting one another. Be it cultural differences, financial means, learning needs/styles, we need to make certain that every student is provided with an opportunity to learn in a way that best suits their needs and families feel supported in the process along the way.

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

Students today learn differently than we did years ago. They are exposed to a world of social media that we only fractionally understand. We need to be mindful of these changes and act now to provide learning experiences that stimulate our students in ways that are better suited for them. I want to ensure that regardless of which elementary school one goes to the learning experience is equal. Today those experiences are different and I think there is work to be done to share the successes across each school. At Committee meetings I am excited to hear the successes from each school. We have a community of bright, creative educators who are making a difference in finding ways to connect with students. We can better share ideas across schools to support a more cohesive, consistent learning environment. I want our middle schoolers to leave Melican feeling prepared to merge with our neighboring students. Confident in their abilities, education and social skills that they received and not to feel that anyone has a “leg up” on them.

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

Our schools support 2,000 students and staff. They play the most important role in sustainability. With the exception of the Lincoln School, all other schools have exceeded their “life span”. Thanks to a vote at the Annual Town Meeting, we are able to move forward with solar arrays for Lincoln and Proctor Schools, and Zeh School upon completion of a new roof. While school buildings are critical to achieving a sustainable school community, other practices have been adopted to limit waste. Digital learning has reduced the need for printed books. Baystate Textile bins at each school reduce textile waste while also supporting school PTO budgets. Schools are also equipped with water refill stations to reduce plastic bottles. Ultimately the main role schools play in sustainability initiatives is in the education of our students and the impact they each can have on making the world a better place through their own actions.

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

I have had the honor of serving for the past 6 years on the K-8 School Committee, the last 2 years as Chairperson. Prior to joining the School Committee, I was an active participant in monthly committee meetings. I was a founding member of the Northborough for Full-Day Kindergarten organization which educated the School Committee about the importance of an equal educational experience for ALL of our youngest learners. For the past 7 years my children have been in the School District and I have actively served on the Proctor and Melican PTO boards. While a parent to a 5th and 6th grader, I care about the educational experiences of all children which is evident in my teaching preschool at Nativity Community Preschool for the past 6 years. As a student I struggled in my education due to learning disabilities and I do not want to see any child have to go through that without the support they deserve. I want to continue to be a voice for all families so that they feel heard and have a say in their children’s education.

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