The candidates for School Committee each received the same six questions from the Watertown News about some issues facing the Watertown Schools and themselves. Here are the responses for Amy Donohue:
1) Tell us about yourself and why you are running for School Committee.
Hi. I’m Amy Donohue, a long time resident and educator in Watertown, a business owner in the community with my husband J.D., and the proud mother of four very busy children. Their independent and individual personalities challenge and enrich our lives each and every day.
As a parent, PTO member, and Watertown Education Foundation past President, one of my strengths is my ability to identify community needs and follow through by engaging individuals and corporations as well as by mobilizing community resources for the benefit of our schools and students. My past success raising funds
and creating innovative programming for our schools has made me even more determined to continue my efforts to enrich our children’s lives through our education system. We Work together-we Build together, and together we Guide our children. I am passionate about meeting the needs of students, parents and teachers to continue to provide the very best education we can as a community.
2) What is the biggest issue facing the Watertown Public Schools?
The biggest issue facing our schools is staring us in the face-the infrastructure. The recent Town Budget presented by the Town Manager included financing, without a debt override, for three elementary school “Building for The Future” projects. There are also plans to address asbestos concerns in our public school
buildings. Careful and diligent oversight is necessary to ensure the safety of the all staff and students along with preserving the educational process as much as possible.
3) What can the Watertown Public Schools do to take the district to the next level, and become a top district?
First and foremost, Watertown has always strived to achieve the highest in education and will continue to do so. Dr. Gladston, our new superintendent, has outlined her district improvement plan. Fostering lifelong learning, supporting high academic achievement and budgeting for professional development collaboration are fundamental values within the plan. These initiatives will help
retain the quality teachers our students deserve. The School Committee can and will address these goals.
4) What existing program in the Watertown Schools would you like to see improved or expanded? Is there a program you have seen in other districts you would like to see in Watertown?
There are many new programs and initiatives that have been implemented. For example, this year our co-teaching model was introduced across the district. Although in its infancy, I am confident that this program will be successful with continued professional development and collaboration. My role will be to
monitor its outcome.
Watertown is situated in a great area with many educational and business opportunities. I would like to see more project based learning from kindergarten to high school, exposing our students to the resources around us and forging relationships that will help our students beyond their school years.
5) The district has made improving communication with parents and residents a priority. How can this be accomplished?.
Open two-way communication between school and home is the best method to engage parents/caretakers. There are direct links to student success with greater parental involvement. With that in mind, I would like to see the continuation of email communications from the Superintendent. I’d also like to see the Middle School and High School fully integrate the Chrome book usage. I see it as another way to broaden the students and teachers resources. We can’t forget that although technology does and will play a role in the school day, face-to- face meetings,
office hours, and continuing to inform the public of upcoming events will only strengthen the home school connection. My goal as a School Committee member is to be part of the conversation that must take place
6) What can the district do to attract and keep quality teachers and staff?
Watertown is fortunate to have some of the best educators. We strive to hire the best candidate for every position because the quality, experience and integrity of an educator outweigh] anything else. In order to retain those teachers and staff, we
must offer opportunities for growth and professional development as well as provide employees with a positive, caring environment. As a district we have and will continue to be inclusive of all races and cultures.