I am urging the community to place Helen Roussel on the Sag Harbor School District’s Board of Education in this coming election.
Yes, we have come through a time of everyone feeling the financial and educational impact of the COVID-19 virus, the need to complete and open the Sag Harbor (Stella Maris) Learning Center, and the board’s work on contracts and budgets, including the recent hiring of a school superintendent. However, we must balance our board so as to have individuals representing not only the business community but also individuals whose backgrounds and interests are more on the academic side, and student achievement.
Our school system has been seriously lagging in student assessment, program development and teacher training. Long-term academic goals, including timelines to meet those goals, must be established. It is essential that we monitor student data, even when the information is negative, and use that data to drive continuous improvement.
The Center for Public Education lists the “Eight Characteristics of Effective School Boards.” This document can be found on the Sag Harbor School website. Important to note that the first three characteristics cited are all concerned with student achievement!
Helen has three children in the Sag Harbor schools and has been actively involved by serving on the board of the Sag Harbor Elementary School PTA. She was part of the campaign against toxic turf and has organized water testing workshops for the school in collaboration with the Surfrider Foundation.
She plans to promote increased environmental science and renewable-energy projects to expose students to the fastest-growing industry in the country. She will also investigate energy sustainability at the school. She is an environmentalist and was voted onto the board of the Sierra Club Long Island.
Helen founded a nonprofit organization to increase literacy levels in the state. Last year, she testified at the Joint Legislative Public Hearing in Albany and has been an active educational advocate at the school, organizing professional development for teachers and psychologists via the Peconic Teachers Center. She has served on the board of East End Special Education PTO.
She understands that low literacy levels are not confined to special education students; 52 percent of general education students read below grade level.
If elected, she will encourage support for teachers so that they have the tools to improve achievement levels for all students, including those with learning disabilities, without straining the budget. Students with strong reading, writing and organizational skills utilize less remedial resources, sustain confidence and more easily adapt to the rigors of higher education.
It is imperative that we support a candidate with a vision of high expectations for student achievement and quality instruction. Please put Helen Roussel on the Board of Education
Robert Cohen, Ph.D.
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