Tuesday, October 11, 2011

LSC 2011 Q & A: Dolores DiFillipo

Dolores DiFillipo is a Lynn parent and licensed social worker seeking her first term on the Lynn School Committee. She currently works as a drug prevention educator at Revere High School through a partnership between Mass General Hospital (MGH) and the Revere Public School system and has also worked in the Lynn and Malden Public School Systems. Please see below for the answers to a few questions posed to Dolores regarding her candidacy for Lynn School Committee.

What skills or qualifications do you think you would bring to the school committee?

Our children deserve the best education and resources possible in order to succeed. I am determined to make sure that every child in the City of Lynn has the opportunity to strive for their very best, with the proper tools, resources and foundation possible. Our children are our future. We are their present and need to do better to demand that they receive the very best from our Lynn Public School system.  I am completely committed to ensure that our children (special education and regular education) do not get left behind.  Having a child currently in the Lynn Public School system gives me a the first hand knowledge base to see and hear what is or  is not being provided for our children. I want to be the “PARENT” voice on the current Lynn School Committee.  It is so important that our families are represented by a parent as well as an educator/professional in the field.  I am both and I am willing to take the stand to demand changes in the current Lynn Public School system.

I am the wife of Anthony “Tony” DiFillipo and the mother of our two children. Our family has been in the City of Lynn for over 100 years.  We have a family business and own residential & commercial property in the City of Lynn.  Our family has an investment in the City of Lynn. I currently hold a Masters in Education in Counseling & Psychology and a Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice.   I am employed by MGH-Revere & Revere High School as a Partnership as a Prevention Educator.   My role within the high school is to educate students and staff on ATOD (Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs as well as Lifeskills Program for High Schools students). I also counsel students in crisis and assist with grant writing.  I am a Licensed Social Worker with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  I have over 27 years of experience working with children and families.

What do you think are the top 3 issues that school committee needs to address? Do you have any thoughts/solutions to these issues?

It is my goal to be a member of the Lynn School Committee to begin the process of change.  My Plan is as follows:

  • Special Education
We need to begin the process of changing the current Special Education Department by providing and obtaining more funding, tools, resources, accountability and become more user friendly for the citizens of Lynn. By ensuring that all the IEP’s (Individual Education Plan) are in full compliance and receiving the proper services.

  • School Improvement & Safety Plan
Our schools are in deplorable conditions and we need to ensure that the School Improvement Plans are in place and begin the work of fixing our schools and rebuilding the district (26 schools). Provide more support to the Principals and teachers as well as the families being displaced.

I believe that ALL of our schools should have an assigned School Resource Officer (SRO).   We must be proactive.  It is essential to reach our children at the Elementary and Middle school levels: educate them with regards to violence, bullying, alcohol & other drugs, respect and tolerance for others.

  • Budget Accountability
We need to keep our teachers and provide them with every tool, resource, training necessary to ensure our children are successful.  We need more staff, educators and fewer administrators.  We need to ensure that the monies are going where they are intended.  We need to provide our teachers/staff with ample support to ensure they are receiving proper training and materials to be successful in their classrooms. In turn our children will benefit and be successful.

  • Partnerships/Grants
We can do better at obtaining and ensuring that Grants are applied for and maintained in a timely fashion.  Begin the process of seeking out large corporate agencies to invest in our children. We need to build relationships within the corporate world to ensure our children/families have the same opportunities that most cities and towns have.  

How do you think the school committee could be more transparent as far as meeting times, agendas, etc.?

I am glad that the School Committee meetings are now being televised.  Given the low turn out for the actual meetings by the public, this will allow the citizens of Lynn to see and hear what is or is not being provided in the schools.  This is a wonderful tool and asset to the LPS/Lynn community.  I believe this provides the transparency and openness.   I would like to see all of the school committee meetings and agendas listed a week prior to the actual school committee meeting.  

Lynn residents look to the School Committee to address problems such as low MCAS scores and the dropout rate; do you think there is a limit to what the school committee in itself can do?

I feel it is essential to address all issues that may arise, however, the school committee is held to certain limitations on what they can do by law/regulations.  I believe in following the regulations and guidelines that are set forth for the school committee.  However, the MCAS issue is not just a problem for Lynn, it is a system/statewide issue.  I do not agree that the MCAS should be the sole determinate of a child graduating from high school. I would like to see our district challenge this.  The MCAS does not take into account a disability (Autism, ADHD, and Mental Retardation) or language barrier. When the MCAS scores are provided for our schools, the numbers are not an accurate or fair assessment of where we stand. I would also like to see our district be more involved with ensuring our children remain in school.  I am aware that the drop out rate is an issue; however, many factors are involved in this as well.  I would like to see the school committee be more creative with finding solutions, monies to address this growing problem. 


Anything else you would like to add about yourself?

Together we can begin the work and make sure our children are not left behind.

I welcome you to join me in this fight for our children’s education.  I would like the citizens of Lynn to go to my website:  WWW.DEE42012.COM and decide for themselves if I am qualified to be a member of the Lynn School Committee.

I ask for your VOTE on November 8, 2011. Thank you!

Respectfully Submitted,
Dolores J. DiFillipo, M.Ed., LSW
Candidate for Lynn School Committee

* For another Q & A with Dolores DiFillipo, see - School Committee 2011 - Dolores DiFillipo

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