To the editor:
“New thinking and new results.” That’s the slogan Rick Johnson is using in his run for the Salem School Committee. Looking at our performance as a system over the last decade-plus, I think that’s what Salem needs. Not excuses or blaming the state. We need more accountability, better communication and less confrontation. I strongly endorse him for one of the three available seats. Why is Rick one of my choices? His history of activism in the school system and the experiences he’s had on behalf of his own family. His son, Trevor, is a student in sixth grade, along with my son. He had his special-needs child at Bentley just prior to the Level 4 status designation. The special ed process provided him with an inside look at the school, which allowed him to see firsthand how leadership dysfunction affected his child’s education. As a result, they went through the process and waiting involved in changing schools and were able to ultimately move him to Saltonstall. Once that took place, he saw the difference that a well-functioning school that embraces communication and collaboration can make in a child’s life. Rick believes that every student can achieve at a high level, especially if there are systems in place that support teachers and students and put them in a position to succeed. He wants to be the voice of the Salem parents on the School Committee.
I also am very encouraged by Rachel Hunt and plan to give her a vote, as well. Rachel taught in the Salem public schools before founding the Salem Academy Charter School in 2004. She has done a phenomenal job running the Salem Academy, and it’s been extremely successful. It is ranked among the top high schools in Massachusetts. With the Salem Academy’s success, we see that Salem’s students do have potential. Some of the things that have been proven to work there are now finally being implemented in the other schools. A good example of this is ANet testing, which the Academy has been already doing. There are people who are opposed to Salem Academy’s existence — some of them already on the School Committee — but the fact is they are here to stay, getting the job done, and the more we collaborate with them, the better it will be for the rest of our schools.