Amherst School Board candidates plead their case

We want to introduce ourselves as hopeful newcomers to the Amherst School Committee.

As parents of working school-aged children, we know first-hand many of the challenges faced by families in our community. We also know that each of our experiences is different and does not reflect the wide range of cultures, family compositions, and perspectives at Amherst. We are both committed to seeking out and learning from community members who have not always felt represented when it comes to making decisions about our schools.

Phoebe is an Amherst Public Schools graduate and mother of three ARPS students. She is a member of the ARPS Elementary School Building Committee, the group responsible for developing plans for the elementary school building project. Jennifer is the mother of an ARMS student, former co-chair of the Amherst Education Foundation, former member of Town Meeting, and has been active on town issues since 2016.

We will proactively engage with families and community members, especially those who have been disenfranchised in the past, to hear and address their concerns. The current school board has failed to adequately involve families and school staff in major decisions such as changing class start times and transferring sixth-graders to middle school. Decisions like these have far-reaching impacts and unintended consequences, and it is essential that we proactively seek input from the families who will be affected, so that their concerns can be heard and addressed.

We know that building trust requires mutual respect, active listening and true engagement. We look forward to earning the trust of families and educators through proactive, two-way communication. As our school district embarks on major initiatives like the Elementary School Building Project, and as our students and staff recover (and live on) from a global pandemic, we will work with all stakeholders and Speak to families where they are, to gather feedback and address concerns.

As women of color raising children of color, we believe representation is important. We invite you to join us in supporting a diverse and inclusive school district by voting for Phoebe Merriam and Jennifer Page.

Phoebe Merriam
and Jennifer Page