Ilana for Education

Who I am

I've lived in Somerville for over 20 years, 13 of those in ward 2. I live with my 11 year old daughter, Molly, my husband Rich, and our cat, Panda. Molly went to Pre-k at the Capuano and has been a student at the Argenziano since Kindergarten. Rich is a long-time nurse at Boston Medical Center and an avid city and long-distance cyclist. I am a jeweler and I teach jewelry making and run the jewelry studio at the Artisan’s Asylum (also in ward 2).

Why I'm Running for School Committee

As the current President and 4th year executive board member of the Argenziano School PTA, I have worked extensively to enhance and improve the student experience at the Argenziano. I have seen firsthand how change is made - what works and what doesn't - and how best to coordinate the efforts of teachers, parents and school administrators. All members of our school community, across the district, have insight and opinions on improving the educational opportunities for our students. I am committed to the continued improvement of our schools and finding consensus among these voices. I never thought I would consider running for public office, but I see a need within our Ward and I believe I can fill it. I am excited to bring my strengths as an experienced communicator, collaborator and school volunteer to the School Committee.

Issues

Here are some of the issues I hope to work on if elected. They come from many conversations with parents in ward 2 over the years. I hope to add to this list as I hear more from YOU. Contact me ilanaforeducation@gmail.com with your thoughts/ideas.

  • Increased diversity in staff hiring and training for teachers who work with our diverse student body
  • More transparency for what the school committee is involved in: including simple things like one email address that automatically reaches everyone on the school committee.
  • Equity within and across schools within the district, closing the achievement gap and gaps in access to programs that are tied to background, income, gender, race, and age.
  • More hands-on, project-based learning in all subjects, including a general push for teachers to be allowed more creativity in how they teach: Over the years our society has moved away from physically making things. I believe there are important skills lost. From simple dexterity for younger students to bigger/experimental thinking for older students.
  • More and different after-school options, including clubs and classes for middle grade students
  • Increased specialist time (including drama which is not currently offered until high school)
  • More time spent in active play
  • Review homework policies to make sure they achieve our educational goals.
  • Start learning a second language at a younger age across the district.

Why School Committee is important (even if you don't have kids)

It sounds corny, but it's true: the children are our future. Educating all of them is important for all of society. That's the big picture. On a smaller scale, here are some important reasons you should pay attention to the school committee.

  • The budget for the schools is a significant portion of Somerville's budget. That's your money at work.
  • There are many issues where change can start on a school-by-school basis: battling systemic racism (for students and staff), promoting equity, and making sure everyone in the school system is a good steward for the environment, including a push for universal recycling and composting in all of our schools, to name a few.
  • The fight to keep Somerville affordable for working class families: If elected, I plan to push for better coordination with the City, funding for full-time family liaisons, affordable housing policy and family-friendly housing, and advocate for programs to connect parents to good jobs.

Endorsements

"The important thing to me is that the next person in this role is doing it for the right reasons and has the interest to dig into the issues enough to have an informed opinion on what would best serve the community. Based on her history of community involvement and leadership within the PTA, I truly believe Ilana will do a great job" - Dan Futrell, Ward 2 School Committee Representative since 2013

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