Craig Gruber: Position Statement

Folks have been asking about some of my thoughts and positions. Here’s a bullet list of things I’d like to address and how:

Position notes
  1. Superintendent: It’s time to move forward. We need to be proactive as to how to move forward. People have asked for my plan, and here it is:
    1. Work with Mass Association of School Committees and Mass Association of Superintendents to locate a retired, experienced (20+ years) superintendent who will serve in an acting position for a year (extendable to 2) while the district recovers and does a search for our next district leader.
    2. Have an option for year 2 in case the first search does not yield the candidates we as a community want and need, we can declare a failed search and start again, without being in the position of hiring because we NEED to.
    3. Refocus the role of the School Committee on supervising the Superintendent and on policy. We need to ensure that our next district leader is being appropriately supervised and mentored so that the School Committee can focus on policy and ensuring that our children get the best education in the commonwealth
  2. Finances: We need to be clear, open, and transparent about School Finances
    1. For the coming fiscal year we should engage in a comparison study for enrollment and staffing across all schools and central office, comparing 2018 and 2023. I say 2018 because is was the last full pre-pandemic year we had. Let’s look at the staffing comparisons to see where we have actually added personnel and then we can assess which of those positions are “desirements” or “requirements”
    2. Engage in a zero-based budgeting model in which we examine the actual needs of each school and office, so that we can appropriately staff each school and office as well as strategically plan for the future.
  3. Special Education: We need to ensure that we have appropriate, sustainable, and financially sound approaches to special education
    1. We have both a legal and moral obligation to provide the best education to our special education students. We need to have a thoughtful and robust approach to special education which ensures:
      1. Appropriate programming
      2. Equal access
      3. Excellence in educational delivery
      4. Invest in the three programs we currently have at Claypit Hill so that we can address issues early so that we can possibly avoid out-of-district placements later on.
      5. Financially sound approaches to out-of-district placements
      6. Responsible and viable transportation for students traveling for services
  4. Policies: I believe that the School Committee should engage in policies which enable our teachers, develop our students, and grow the talent we have in our system.
    1. Wayland has a tremendous track record of growing exceptional talent for school and district leadership: Brad Crozier left Wayland and is now Superintendent of Sudbury Public Schools; Parry Graham will start as Superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools in July; and Allyson Mizogushi is a finalist for the Principal/Superintendent of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School District. We have exceptionally talented people in the district, we need to keep and promote them from within.
    2. Develop policies and plans for recruiting, retaining, and developing staff of color so that all of our students can see themselves reflected in the teachers in their classrooms
  5. Students: We need to provide the best education possible for everyone
    1. Students thrive in innovative classrooms where teachers are energized and excited to teach. We need to redouble our efforts to ensure that creative and dynamic teaching lights the spark that our children need to grow and excel.
    2. We need a student who sits on the school committee at each meeting and takes part in discussions and deliberations (except where prohibited by law). This student should be selected by the High School Student Council, and join the School Committee at the table; both literally and metaphorically
  6. Transparency: School Committee needs to be open and transparent
    1. We need to operate in the open and encourage public comment and participation.
    2. We need to share our challenges and opportunities with the community so that we can see what is happening and why.
    3. We need to be inclusive. Wayland is not a club, it’s a community in which we have all chosen to live, and made sacrifices so that our children can attend and thrive in some of the best schools in the commonwealth. We need to be open. We need to be inclusive. We need to be a community
  7. Decisions: We need to look at each decision we make and examine what the 2nd and 3rd order effects of those decisions will be.
    1. I run a laboratory in decision sciences at a leading university. Let’s use the expertise to move forward together, smartly, and strategically.
    2. Let’s be thoughtful, smart, and strategic about how we move forward