In new budget, Westford Schools leader proposes line item for equity in curriculum, instruction

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WESTFORD – Superintendent Christopher Chew is seeking approval for a position to place greater emphasis on equity in the district’s curriculum and instruction.

The school committee should vote on the Job Description at a future meeting.

At the March 14 school committee meeting, the school committee reviewed the budget description.

Professional skills

Qualifications offered include:

  • a relevant state certificate in leadership
  • a master’s degree in education
  • a minimum of five years of successful teaching experience and leadership experience preferred
  • professional and personal commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
  • cultural competence to develop relationships with individuals for diverse experiences

“We’ve posted an early opening…if you approve the job description, we can move forward with recruiting people for interviews,” Chew said.

Looking for passion, dedication

Chew said the ideal candidate is “someone who has already demonstrated a passion and commitment to equity in education…someone who can truly continue this great work, bring a new focus and bring a new perspective to work, and I think, champion that in a different way.”

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The role filled by Kerry Clery, assistant superintendent for program and instruction, is being reorganized to include management of the district’s human resources department, Chew said.

Both are reflected in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 of $63,961,692, which represents a 2.77% increase over the fiscal year 2022 budget of $62,236,867.

Budget, job changes

Chew said the proposed budget reflects declining enrollment in the school district and involves changes, including:

  • reduction of two primary teaching positions, maintaining the average class size of 22 students for one teacher
  • reduction of two middle school teaching positions, maintaining average class size of 25 students to one teacher in math, social studies, science and English team classes
  • reduction of four teaching posts at Westford Academy. Will increase class sizes in some Honors and AP level courses and may reduce sections for some electives.
  • reduction in MCAS aid allocations, due to online testing reducing the need for positions
  • increase in replacement allowances from $80 per day before the pandemic to $90 per day.

Administrative and support changes

The draft budget for the financial year 2023 also foresees

  • reduction of two central office administration positions, with the functions being absorbed by a director position
  • reduce both the human resources coordinator and the director of digital learning
  • reassign the human resources department and its responsibilities to the office of the assistant superintendent.
  • change from temporary to permanent status the human resources administrative assistant
  • reduction in the hours of executive assistants.
  • reduction of four of the 15 speakers in elementary reading

Set of community forums

The school district has held a series of forums for a restorative approach, following a Jan. 28 incident in which spectators at Westford Academy taunted a black player from Wayland High School during a basketball match.

The next event in the series, “Restorative Westford: Community Circles,” is scheduled for March 24 and takes place virtually on Zoom.

A town hall-style event sponsored by the group, One Wayland, is taking place March 29 at 7 p.m. at Wayland First Ward, 225 Boston Post Road, Wayland.

Westford School Committee Chairman Chris Sanders said: “Having a strong contingent from Westford involved would send a very clear and important message about our response to the racist incident that has taken place in our community. .”

Sanders said the event will also be available virtually. Speakers can register online.

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