Monday, October 28, 2019

Franklin Candidate Interview: Jennifer D'Angelo

This interview with Jennifer D'Angelo, candidate for Franklin School Committee in 2019, was collaborated on via email. We reviewed the following questions, some of them were ‘crowd sourced.’ Some of you may remember the call for input solicited in August 2019 for this election. Thank you for your contributions.

Hopefully, the information provided here, and in the other interviews, will enable the Franklin voters to make a good choice among the candidates for each position.

For the following FM presents the question. JD represents Jennifer’s response.
FM = There are and have been many opportunities to volunteer with community groups in Franklin. Have you taken advantage of any of these? Which ones, and why did you choose that/those?
JD = Growing up in town, I have had to the opportunity to volunteer with a variety of groups beginning in high school. Some of those opportunities including delivering food baskets to those in need during the holidays, teaching religious education at St. Mary’s Church and supporting a number of other local organizations through fundraising donations.
FM = Where do you get your news about Franklin?
JD = I receive local, state and national news from a variety of outlets including local newspapers, online publications and of course, Franklin Matters. I tend to go to the source when I am interested in a specific topic. For example, when I was interested in learning more about the Student Opportunity Act that is currently making its way through state government, I read the 30 plus page document and the relative proposals and amendments associated with the bill. I find this provides me with information that is more accurate.
FM = The possibility of a change in school start times was a recent controversial topic taken up by the School Committee. Where do you stand on the issue of school start times in Franklin and what actions do you plan to take around this issue during the next term of the School Committee?
JD = Based on the information provided by the school committee, superintendent and community members through public forums held last year, I am not convinced that at this point the benefits outweigh the concerns expressed by parents, students and staff members all of whom would be directly impacted by the changes. Though there is some research-based evidence that lends to the sleep patterns of adolescent age students, I am concerned with the impact on our elementary and middle school age students where less research is available. In my opinion, there needs to be additional work around this topic if the committee were to entertain a potential school start time change in the future.
FM = While the current School Committee has attempted to reach the community through various forms of communication including coffee chats, email newsletters, attending events such as the farmers market, etc., they have been generally unsuccessful at increasing the engagement with important issues related to the schools. What actions will you take to increase citizen engagement with the School Committee?
JD = Level of engagement is different for each individual. Some community members are eager to attend coffee chats while others are content to receive email newsletters and chat with their peers about those topics important to them and their families. I feel it is the duty of the School Committee to create a wide range of opportunities for those who would like to engage in issues relative to not only the school community but also our town as a whole. I also think another piece of engagement is feeling your opinions are respected even when they differ. From community members I have had to the opportunity to speak with, this was one area they felt could have been better and something the next committee should build upon to increase citizen engagement.
FM = The Town Administrator has suggested that the School Committee investigate the possibility of closing Davis Thayer Elementary as a possible cost-saving mechanism for the town in these tight economic times. Where do you stand on this issue and what actions will you take to support your stance?
JD = The superintendent put forth a recommendation to conduct a closing study in an effort to provide a broad range of data including but not limited to projected enrollment numbers, utilization of school building space and student achievement. At this point, I do not support or reject the move, as there is not enough information to make an informed decision. I think it is important to explore all opportunities to improve educational outcomes for students. The study complied with other reports and data the district already has available will provide useful information about the impacts of considering a school closure not only for the students of Davis Thayer but also across the district.
FM = Why should I vote for you?
JD = Education is a collaborative effort among teachers, administrators, families, community members and elected officials. As an elected committee member, my major focus would be those issues and concerns that are a priority to the parents, students, and teachers I represent on the committee. It is important to be open to the opinions and views of all in order to make thoughtful decisions in the best interest of our students. As our schools face some challenging decisions in the coming years, I am confident I can be an impartial committee member who can make well-informed decisions based on the needs of our community. With over fifteen years of experience in public education, I am well versed in a variety of areas including school finances, instructional practices and state and federal regulations. In addition to my work experience, I also hold a Master of Business Administration from Suffolk University and Master of Education from Bridgewater State University. I feel my skill set would be invaluable as a member of the Franklin School Committee. 

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Franklin Candidate Interview: Jennifer D'Angelo
Franklin Candidate Interview: Jennifer D'Angelo

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