Northborough Candidate Statements – Northborough School Board – Bryce Adam MacKnight

Bryce MacKnight is running for a seat on the Northborough school board. (Picture/submitted)

Please provide a brief biography of yourself. What should voters know about you?

My family moved to Northborough in 2019 and our two children attend Proctor and Finn schools respectively. We didn’t have much time before the pandemic to grow our network, but despite all the constraints, we found this community to be welcoming, engaged and dedicated to continuous improvement. We couldn’t be happier to be residents of Northborough. I myself have been in kitchens and catering spaces since I was young and it has allowed me to travel, listen to great music and make amazing friends. I find that keeping an open mind and staying humble makes for an accessible and continually fascinating life and I thank you for your consideration.

Why are you running?

I am running to be your next school committee member because I see the transformative power that creative, inclusive and vibrant schools can have on children and I want to help make Northborough’s K-8 programs as strong and accessible to all students as possible. I seek to do this by supporting and continuing the incredible work that current and past members of the School Board have engaged in and by pushing tools for our educators who can reach all learning styles and all levels of insight. Educating minds is a difficult task, which our amazing educators take very seriously and are always striving to improve. It has always been important to me to participate in the processes and systems that my family or I find ourselves in. I believe that to improve or change a system, you have to be ready to contribute and to sacrifice yourself for those futures that you want to see.

What specific skills/experience/expertise would you bring to your role?

For the past three years, I have led and developed a food and nutrition program at K-12 schools in Concord & Carlisle Massachusetts. I was directly responsible for reporting to governing bodies, engaging staff and students to increase attendance, and build the financial surpluses needed to eliminate year-over-year funding from the district budget. Previously, I held positions directly responsible for budget development, P&L management and personnel management in the food and beverage industry for 15 years. Personally, having been challenged by school modes of education and not fitting those molds, I bring a perspective that sees that not all modes of education meet all learners where they are and that we we have room to grow in developing more inclusive learning spaces.

What do you think are the three problems facing schools in Northborough?

I see the continued need to address the stresses our children are facing in the face of a pandemic, global uncertainties and increasing performance stress in schools. I believe we need to approach these challenges with empathy and compassion and learn from our experienced professionals ways in which we can help heal, grow and build resilience in the face of future adversity in our children.

Northborough will need to revisit age, maintenance and enrollment factors as we continually assess the future of our school buildings. By expanding through this process parental choice in classrooms and teacher assignments, as well as facilities free of environmental hazards and clean and safe learning environments.

Northborough is not unique in this, but I think we really need to assess and continue to advocate for diverse learning experiences and nurture the differences in insight and interest in our students to foster confidence and positive outcomes. in life.

How do you plan to address the identified issues facing schools in Northborough?

I would like to see our younger students learn more through play. Allow children to have experiential learning opportunities that will develop critical thinking, leaving space to explore and grow in the learning dynamics that owns each student. This means increasing our outdoor, music, arts and language programs. I know we always look to today’s global markets to guide our education, but we also want our children to grow into civic-minded, open, and contributing members of the community. In college, I would like to see a continuation of open learning spaces and hone critical thinking through opportunities to learn logical argument and deduction, financial skills, and a developed sense of purpose. story seen through multiple lenses. Our ability to create these spaces will prepare our children to succeed at the next levels and inspire each child to feel responsible and directed in their learning journey.

How do you think schools should deal with potential learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

I think our educators are doing an amazing job of quickly trying to bring all ships up to community and state standards through group and individual lesson plans. A special thank you to educators working with students who were already behind before the pandemic shook the ground from under our feet. Efforts will not only be needed in the short term, but we will need to continue to push for equity in access to learning opportunities, challenge ourselves in the process and a mindset to bring all students to our expected levels of excellence for the remainder of their educational experiences.

Schools have identified mental health as a concern, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. How should schools in Northborough address this issue?

Teachers have already started screening students and will be completing SAEBRS forms over the next few weeks. I look forward to seeing actionable insights come out of this data that will address the various mental health issues our children face. I believe it is important to involve students when possible and appropriate once the data comes back, and to give them agency to resolve the issues they face. I see this as an opportunity to heal, build resilience, build meaningful social networks, and advocate for additional services for those in need.