My name is Pascha Griffiths and I hope to be one of your two choices on April 2 for the open School Committee seats. I have spent the last month meeting with Belmont residents from all walks of life, and I have learned so much from each of you. More than ever, I believe that Belmont needs a volunteer with my background to serve on the School Committee.
I bring the perspective of a professional educator, which is currently missing on the School Committee. The committee will soon create a new Curriculum Subcommittee to support the school administration, which I am eager to join. I have created curricula in many domains – science, leadership, community service, communications – and I have a wealth of experience to bring to the table. It is important for the superintendent and school leaders to have a sounding board. Through its budgetary role, the School Committee can vet their decisions of what to fund and how to best use the funding dollars. With my curriculum background, I can help provide this guidance to ensure that we get the biggest bang for our buck.
I am an innovator, and innovation will be crucial to the future success of Belmont’s schools. In the educational non-profit I founded – the Possibilities Factory – I created an innovative leadership curriculum that combines team projects, community service and documentaries to produce life-changing experiences for youth and teens. Innovative educational ideas are being piloted at schools around the country, and I want to help Belmont’s schools explore innovation as a tool for maintaining the excellence of our schools.
I believe that we need to find ways to attract outside grant and corporate funding to help support Belmont’s schools. We are a residential community – a town of homes – which means that residents have shouldered nearly all of the financial burden for town and school services. I have worked with philanthropic organizations that provide grants for innovation, and I know that we have an opportunity to expand our funding pie through collaboration with these types of leaders in the education world. I hope to help the School Committee create a Grants Task Force to research and pursue these options.
I am a communicator, and I believe that the School Committee has an opportunity to strengthen its communication with residents. I have a Masters in Communication from Boston University and have consulted for organizations to help them improve their Web communications. As a teacher, it is my job to communicate new ideas to students in a way that is exciting and effective. With my communications background, I can help bring the issues and decisions facing the School Committee to residents and engage them in the process.
We are at a very crucial moment in time for the Belmont schools. Belmont has a well-deserved reputation for educational excellence, but budgets have been tight for a decade and many services have been cut. Innovation and communication will be key to maintaining our excellence in the future – we must find ways to blend the traditional with the innovative in order to maximize our educational return on investment.
This will be my mission as a member of Belmont’s School Committee – innovation, outside funding, and communication. I hope that you will make me one of your two choices for School Committee on Monday, April 2.