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School Committee Canditate Spotlight: Kathleen Currul-Dykeman

What is your name?

Kathleen (Katie) Currul-Dykeman

Which School Committee term are you running for? 

Three-year

What is your personal experience or background with PreK-12th grade public education in Massachusetts?

I have been on the school committee for 9 years. I have a son, Colin, who has Autism he is 17 years old, a son, Patrick, who is a freshman in High School he is 14 years old, and a daughter, Sabrina, at Heights Elementary – third grade – she is 9 years old. I am a tenured professor at Stonehill College in North Easton, MA. I am also the Director of the Martin Institute of Law & Society.

In your opinion, what are the hallmarks of a “good school district”? How do you measure if a school district is deemed “good”?

A good school district is one where administration leads through consensus not conflict. Where teachers are happy to work for the town and feel supported and respected for their hard work. Where parents are viewed as important partners in education who should offer to support their children by supporting the teachers. I measure a good school district mainly through attitudinal data. Evidence of collaborative decisions making and mutual respect can be seen almost everywhere qualitatively.

What do you view is the role of the School Committee in the way the district functions?

It’s time that the School Committee remembers that they are parents volunteers. They are not employees of the district. They are not being paid to lead it. Their voices should represent the thoughts of their constituents. Their constituents include parents and teachers.

Please describe your thoughts and feelings on input from various stakeholders (educators, parents, and students) on informing decisions.

I do not think good decisions can be made without this input.

Sharon is home to a very diverse public school district. The district is working on moving past just the celebration of diversity and toward creating a culture of inclusivity and belonging for all students, families, and educators. In your words, please explain the difference between “equality” and “equity” in a diverse public school system.

Where equality strives to treat students the same regardless of outcome – equity seeks to offer different opportunities so that students have the chance to realize similar outcomes. 

Is the goal that everyone have the same chance to be recommended for certain classes? Or is the goal that we use data to help inform us of which students may need different early assistance or even supports later on in order to enjoy the same classes and experiences?

In your opinion, what would it take to maintain a healthy relationship between the School Committee, Administration, the Sharon families and the Educators in the school?

It would take honesty. It would take mutual respect. It would take a commitment to transparency and hard work. 

For the school committee, it will take a fresh start which we are beginning to realize. But we have to be careful not to build a committee with the same problems. It would be best to have 7 consensus building, collaborative, teacher loving, non-demanding citizens.

What questions do you have for the educators in our district?

How can we best support you next year? What are you worried about for Fall 2021?

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