Boston Public School Coach Candidate Talks About Calling for Education

The search for Boston’s next coach is nearing its end as the first of two marathon interviews with a pair of local finalists took place on Thursday.

The first thing that came into the limelight was Mary Skipper’s turn at Summerville Public School. She answered questions from multiple groups of community supporters. Teachers and Principals; Parents and Students; And Finally, members of the School Committee during an all-day public interview aired online.

Skipper, a Dochester-based parent of three, claimed to have tried to prioritize students when raising the ranks of public education.

“It’s not an easy task … you get (throw) many different things to you,” she said. “But in your mind you need to (ask),” What is the most important thing? “And in my opinion, the student is the most important. Everything else is around that goal. “

This 54-year-old student has been overseeing Summerville Public Schools since 2015, providing insights into forming community partnerships and working with diverse student groups, including many English learners. ..

Growing up in Arlington and Summerville, Skipper has been a teacher, principal and manager at Boston Public School for over 18 years. But if she was hired as a director, she said today she decided to relearn the needs of the district and she would come back.

Skipper was “really happy” for her years as a teacher and principal of the TechBoston Academy, which helped launch in 2022 and is renowned for its high graduation rate and technology focus. The “barrier” that her students faced.

“I wanted the opportunity to look at the system from above and see how it works,” she said. “I became a supermarket because I saw what I wanted to change, and I wanted to be able to work with people who I knew would help me make that change.”

Through Thursday’s interview, parents and educators repeatedly asked skippers about their last two years in Boston. This has been characterized by the hardships of public high schools in the city since it succeeded in lowering the high school dropout rate.

Skipper refused to comment on more recent history, saying, “I’ve been seven years old … I’m not going to guess what’s happening or what’s not happening.” ..

But in both Boston and Summerville, her staff said dropouts are often predictable but preventable as long as the school keeps in touch with students and “builds true educational options” for them. I noticed that.

Skippers do not look or hear the majority of today’s classroom students, despite their long history in the area, when pushed by BPS parent Tanya Nixon-Silberg and others. I admitted that. Almost half of BPS students speak languages ​​other than English at home, and more than 80% are color students.

Skipper said he would try to diversify the administration in Summerville and would do the same in Boston.

“As a white leader, building a diverse, talented, culturally and linguistically skilled team is essential to building trust and a common purpose with the color family,” says Skipper. Told
Skipper also emphasized pursuing an all-student approach with the students most affected by the pandemic. For example, English learners whose literacy skills have been delayed during distance learning, or freshmen in countries where formal school education has been “significantly interrupted.” .. “

Regarding the latter group, Skipper said: [them] Academically, but it must be done truly academically and socially emotionally, “by seeking the support of bilingual counselors and others.

From 10 am to the evening, Skipper calmly composed the song, asking questions over and over, with a few short breaks. It was warm towards the end of the panel interview with the students and their families.

When asked what attracted her to education and pursue this challenging position, she had relationships with TechBoston students and how those relationships would last decades. I lovingly remembered.

“Work is work,” Skipper said. “This is not a job. The job we do at Boston Public School is a call and a mission to support our students and their families.”

Finalist interviews will resume on Friday morning. Tommy Welch is a regional director of Boston Public Schools, serving Charlestown, East Boston, and the North End.

The seven-member Boston School Committee will vote for that choice next week.

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