RESPONSIVE TO STUDENT NEEDS - ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC
“With nearly 30 years experience as a teacher, I can offer vital expertise in instructional leadership to the Saugus School Board. Join me in bringing fresh, energetic, and collaborative leadership to the school board in service to our district’s students, teachers, and families.” -- Laura Arrowsmith
PRIORITIES & OPPORTUNITIES
Safety and Wellness
Campus security has always been important, but never so much as it is today. Laura supports the continuing efforts of district leadership to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of our children. Laura’s priorities include:
Preparedness - Last year’s school evacuations made clear that we are best prepared when we have practiced.
Planning - School and district officials must have numerous contingency plans in place for a variety of incidents.
Communication - We must facilitate clear and rapid communication with emergency personnel, as well as with parents.
Collaboration – Laura will work with teachers and families to help each school respond to students’ emotional needs related to natural disasters, family stress, academic anxiety, bullying, and social media.
As a school board member, Laura will support the steps that are already being taken to update and improve safety plans and implementation strategies and investigate what more can be done.
Building Teacher Capacity
Of all the factors that affect learning, schools and districts have the most control over quality of education. When we empower our teachers and support staff, we empower our students and parents. As an educator Laura knows that teachers crave opportunities to learn and grow as professionals. She also knows that students benefit when their teachers are up-to-date on current developments in content and teacher strategies. Laura’s priorities include:
Facilitating effective professional development – Teachers need flexibility within their collaboration time in order to meet the needs of contemporary learners.
Empowerment – Teachers should have a say in their own professional learning. They know what they need to learn to best serve their students.
Shift in emphasis – Studies support an instructional shift from direct instruction to inquiry-based work. Teachers need effective professional development to provide this vital learning model to our students.
Having personally delivered professional development in the district and beyond, Laura understands the needs of adult learners and can be a true ally in supporting the superintendent's efforts to listen to teachers' voices in their quest for meaningful and relevant professional learning.
Saugus student work deserves to be celebrated, and so do the efforts of teachers, support staff, and administrators who work to ensure meaningful learning. As a board member, Laura will highlight the great things that our entire community is accomplishing. Laura’s priorities include:
Assessments – The truest measures of student learning are the regular and ongoing assessments that teachers use with their students.
Data - Using the California Accountability Model & School Dashboard to gain insight into areas of achievement, as well as where Saugus can improve.
Communication - Sharing the learning that occurs in all our district classrooms with the public and highlighting how our students question, investigate, collaborate, and communicate is the responsibility of board members.
Laura believes in celebrating learning: currently, the public sees test scores rather than the exciting academic growth that happens during the year. Laura will make student learning and achievement visible to the greater community.
Our school sites have varied resources and our students have unique personalities, abilities, and learning needs. With limited resources and varying degrees of parent involvement and funding, the challenge of achieving equity lies in ensuring that all sites have access to a meaningful and rigorous curriculum taught by qualified teachers who are supported by effective instructional assistants and capable administrators. Laura’s priorities include:
Collaboration – All adult stakeholders involved in a child’s education must work together to ensure effective instruction, assessment and feedback related to a high-quality and well-rounded curriculum.
Communication – Providing a meaningful and rigorous curriculum requires an educator’s perspective. It also requires meaningful and sometimes difficult conversations and decisions.
As a board member, Laura will work to allocate resources to ensure that all students, regardless of need, will benefit from high-quality instruction aligned with all California academic standards.
Ensuring Students are Ready for the Future
Today’s students need content knowledge, but they also need literacy skills and what used to be called "soft skills" - problem solving, collaboration, clear and persuasive written and oral communication and the ability to use tech to innovate. These are all new to teachers, who must have the tools and the time to collaborate, innovate, implement, assess, and reflect. Laura’s priorities include:
The right tools – Today’s learning tools are more varied and powerful than anything that was available to previous generations. We must make those tools available to our students.
Inspiring curiosity - In addition to a solid foundation of reading, writing, speaking, math, science, history, geography, civics, physical education, and the arts, students need space to collaborate and create.
Relevance – Instruction must keep pace with technology. Laura will work with district leadership to facilitate students’ ability to learn and to communicate their learning in ways that make sense for the 21st century.
Society moves quickly; institutions move slowly. Individuals, however, can become as nimble as they need to be when given the right resources and encouragement. High-quality, standards-based instruction is only possible when teachers are given time, resources, and space to collaborate, and Laura will work to ensure that those key factors are made available.