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3 letters support Exton's School Committee reelection

lettersGinna Reeder of Spy Pond Parkway submitted this letter to the editor.

On Saturday, April 1, I will cast one of my three School Committee votes for Liz Exton. When Liz announced her candidacy for Arlington School Committee in 2020, she had no concept of what was just over the horizon; none of us did.

By the time the votes were cast and she stepped into the role, our classrooms were closed and the questions about if, when and how to reopen were all on the table. Liz jumped right in. She listened to the community, the parents, the Arlington teachers, and her School Committee peers. She brought the perspectives of a parent and the practical experience of a classroom teacher.

And she made difficult decisions under a lot of pressure. That was just the beginning of what she has accomplished in the last three years.

While we are in a very different place than we were in 2020, there are more challenges ahead: more issues to research and debate, more perspectives to listen to, and more difficult decisions for our School Committee members to make.

I could not be more confident in Liz’s ability to lead us through this all. She has proven that she can navigate even the most unexpected of situations, and work as a trusted and informed partner alongside Arlington students and their families, the superintendent and her team, our teachers and fellow School Committee members. Please join me in voting for her.

This letter was published Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

Pat Hanlon, a Precinct 5 Town Meeting member who lives on Park Street, submitted this letter to the editor.

I am looking forward to casting one of my three School Committee votes for Liz Exton. Just as Arlington is fortunate in having such excellent schools, it is fortunate in its choice of candidates for School Committee. But to me, Liz stands out.

In the last three years the School Committee has coped – I think well – with a pandemic; hired a talented, open-minded and visionary superintendent; built an impressive new high school; and approved an inspiring five-year plan. The members deserve much credit for this, and none more than Liz. But now the time for laying foundations is giving way to a time for execution.

The School Committee will have to persuade a cost-conscious town to fund its plans for our schools. Perhaps some value engineering will be needed. The gap between teacher compensation in Arlington and in competing towns is getting worrisome. How can that best be addressed? The problem, of course, is not just hiring teachers, but keeping them. All of these questions must be viewed first and foremost through the lens of equity. Arlington’s schools need to be great not just for some kids, or even most kids, but for all kids.

Executing on these challenges will require wisdom and granular knowledge of how things really are in classrooms. This has always been Liz’s special strength. As a teacher and parent, she understands what is essential on the ground, and she knows how to make the case. I’m very grateful to have had her on the School Committee for the last three years and look forward to her continued service.

This letter was published Wednesday, March 22, 2023.

Kate Leary of Milton Street submitted this letter to the editor.

I’m enthusiastically voting for Elizabeth Exton for School Committee on April 1.

Liz has worked hard on behalf of our students as a member of the School Committee these past three years. It’s been an eventful period that has included schools reopening, the hiring of a new superintendent and assistant superintendent, and the drafting of a strategic five-year plan for our schools. I’ve been grateful to have Liz’s voice and leadership on the committee through it all.

The five-year strategic plan gives an assessment of needs in our public schools, with goals tied to concrete actions. The plan is ambitious, but the goals — which include a commitment to closing achievement gaps — are critical.

This letter was published Tuesday, March 14, 2023.

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