Each candidate was given 2 minutes to respond to these four questions below:
- Civil rights law and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act require that students with disabilities be full participants in the life of the school and have equitable access to out of school time and community activities. We hear from many parents that this is not currently happening in Cambridge. How will you address this?
- The Vision Statement for the district says that “The Cambridge Public Schools, in partnership with our families and community, will provide all students with rigorous, joyful, and culturally responsive learning as well as the social, emotional, and academic supports each student needs to achieve their goals and post-secondary success as engaged community members.” However, by 5th grade, 85% of students with disabilities are reading below grade level; and have the greatest achievement gap among all groups. What will you change and/or add to eliminate this disparity as well as close the achievement gap for all groups.
- The school district has an obligation to ensure that all students with disabilities leave school with the ability to reach their full potential including their adult goals and dreams, not only in education, but in work, life, and community involvement. The district has currently not been meeting this requirement for all students. How would you address this, including making improvements in our vocational programming?
- Students with disabilities have a right to be in the least restrictive environment and the majority of students with disabilities are in general education classrooms. Teachers seldom receive specific formal education which would prepare them to teach students with disabilities. What would you do to ensure that teachers are equipped to adjust or differentiate their instruction in order to meet each of their students’ needs.