Maria Carrasco, an incumbent Lynn School Committee member first elected in 2007, is running for re-election in this year's municipal elections. Carrasco currently works as a case manager at the North Shore Career Center and serves on the Board of Directors for Operation Bootstrap, as President of the Lynn Hispanic Scholarship Organization, and on North Shore Community College's Board of Trustees. Here she answers a few questions regarding her candidacy for a fourth term on the SC.
Why have you decided to run for another term on the Lynn School Committee?
I have decided to run because education is my passion and I also believe that it is fair to have more officials that represent the city population for decision making.
Lynn has been among the best of the Commissioner’s 10 urban districts in terms of MCAS scores and other academic indicators. How would you describe the current state of LPS overall in terms of its educational quality and academic performance?
Regarding academic performance, I have always believed that we can do better. The scores indicate that we have great teachers as well as excellent students and despite their economic background and family issues, with the necessary tools they can overcome many barriers, such as overcrowded classrooms, school buildings that are run down, etc.
What do you believe to be the role of the School Committee in overseeing and improving the city’s public education system? How do you believe that you have fulfilled your duties as an SC member thus far?
Initially, I was under the impression that I was able to do many things as a School Committee Member, but when I became a Member I learned that our roles were already set up for us by the Mass. Association of School Committees and also by the local Committee. Therefore, unfortunately for me, it is not about what I believe, but rather following the policies that are in place and trying to figure out ways to improve them according to the needs of our District. Remember, we have a policy that prohibits even me as a School Committee Member from visiting a school without the Superintendent's approval. One of the big roles is to hire the Superintendent because she is the head of the School System in the city. We also need to review and approve the budget. One goal that is very important is to establish policies and create criteria to determine if its goals and policies are being met.
Since I became School Committee Member, my goal has been to fight for quality education for our students and to provide teachers with the necessary tools/supplies as well as parents' involvement in the education of the students. During my first term, along with the approval of the other members, I was able to implement the Open Microphone where parents and residents of the city can come and express their feelings, ideas and concerns.
How would you describe the frequency and depth of your personal interactions with parents, teachers, students and community members regarding any concerns they may have regarding LPS? Could you improve in this area?
I am very accessible, I receive many phone calls from parents, teachers and students; most of the phone calls are from parents complaining about the process when they visit the parent information center. Many of them express their frustration because they believe the system is not friendly. I think that transparency and a willingness to be more sensitive to the students, parents and teachers needs, will be another goal. We can do this by working with parents, informing and preparing them to be part of the solution and education of their children. More community schools are necessary to work around the needs of the neighborhoods.
Where can voters get more information on your candidacy and learn more about you?
I would like to be contacted via phone at 781-632-2908; if I can’t answer the call, please leave a message.
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