My name is Andrew Bauer and I am running for a seat on the Westfield Board of Education. I am a 10-year resident of Westfield and I have three kids in the district (Tamaques, Edison and Westfield High School). We are fortunate to live in a town with such wonderful public schools. I believe if we can increase the communication and collaboration between the community and the Board/Administration, we can make our great schools even better.
The benefits are significant for both sides. The community will gain a better understanding of everything from policy creation to budget economics to curriculum review. And the Board of Education/District Administration will gain a better understanding of the viewpoints of their Westfield constituents.
The monthly PTC meetings serve as a wonderful starting point, but when it comes to strong communication, more is better (especially to be inclusive of families with multiple working parents/caregivers). There are no “right” ways to achieve this goal, but it can be useful to sample best practices from districts around the country. Therefore, in addition to the monthly PTC meetings, I would advocate that we study the feasibility of:
- Comprehensive surveys across students, teachers and parents: Soliciting consistent feedback from students, teachers and parents is the optimal way to inform the administration of the community’s priorities. Publicly posting results would serve to strengthen transparency.
- Informal coffee/gatherings with the Superintendent: This would allow community members to engage with the Superintendent in a casual setting. This alternative setting is especially important so that we are inclusive of people who are uncomfortable speaking in public settings
- Q&A sessions with a member of the Board of Education: This would allow community members to learn more about the kind of issues Board members grapple with and give Board members constant access to diverse opinions across the community.
These are a sampling of ideas from other districts that I believe can be effective in Westfield. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please reach out at BauerForBoard@gmail.com or on my Facebook page @BauerForBoardOfEd. To learn more about my campaign, please visit www.bauerforboard.com. Thank you for your consideration.