To the editor:
We, the Republican candidates for Board of Education in Norwalk this year, have adopted a platform designed to build on the recent progress in our school system with a commonsense approach to making our schools uncommonly successful. To that end, we are advancing this set of proposals that we will work to implement if you elect us to be your representatives on the board:
1. Develop a strong, modern managerial and financial system for our schools, with appropriate computer upgrades and staff training, to run the school system as effectively as possible in financially challenging times. Making the best use possible of the proposals generated in the managerial audit of the schools performed several years ago by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, but never implemented, will be a part of this process.
2. Adopt a coherent, specific and content-rich core curriculum for the Norwalk schools. Our present curriculum will not meet the requirements of the Common Core State Standards, and we should take the lead in upgrading our curriculum to meet those standards before we are compelled to do so by the state. We will avoid the mistake Norwalk has made in the past of trying to build new curricula from scratch, and will instead focus on proven curricula already successfully in use in other schools, which could be implemented much more quickly in Norwalk.
3. Carefully review school reform models that have proven successful in enhancing educational effectiveness in urban school systems around the country (especially those that have shown success in 'closing the gap' of minority achievement), and applying their lessons in Norwalk's schools. For instance, Stanford University's "Accelerated Schools" model has been used with great success in local schools and around the nation, as have approaches such as Johns Hopkins’ “Success for All”, the “International Baccalaureate” program, the “School of One” model, and others. Similar programs should be seriously investigated for all of Norwalk's schools now. To start this process, we will initiate the creation of School Councils consisting of parents, teachers and school principals at each of Norwalk’s schools that have not already created them, and will provide assistance to those Councils with support for reforms tailored to the needs of their individual schools.
We have chosen the theme “Engage, Empower, Educate” because our platform will give our community’s parents the opportunity to become active participants in the advancement of their children’s schools, engaged in their children’s education and empowered, with our teachers, to make every child’s education first-class. And it will better educate our students, by providing them with a rigorous core curriculum and reformed local schools that will fully prepare them for college and good careers.
Thank you for your support on election day.
Matthew Surapine (District A)
Mike Lyons (District C)
Jack Chiaramonte (District D)
Geoff Kieburtz (District E)
Editor's note: The links in this letter were added by Norwalk Patch, not the letter writers.