I was recently part of a group of residents who wrote an endorsement of Lily Rayman-Read for reelection to the Watertown School Committee.
That endorsement outlines Lily’s many credentials and accomplishments, as well as the impressive amount of work Lily performed during her current tenure as a School Committee member. You can read it here: (https://www.watertownmanews.com/2021/10/06/letter-group-of-resident-support-candidate-for-school-committee/).
I am writing today to highlight what an incredible resource Lily has been for numerous Watertown parents and families over the past four years.
Before the pandemic, I had never met or spoken with Lily. However, during those chaotic first weeks of school closure, Lily was one of the most reliable sources of district communication, even when that communication was “we still haven’t figured out X.” Also, as is typical for Lily, she repeatedly offered to talk with anyone who had questions or concerns.
I first reached out to Lily in the spring of 2020 to discuss the pandemic-related challenges facing the district’s students with disabilities. Lily listened with empathy and validation, all while keeping the conversation positive and solutions orientated. She directed me to relevant WPS officials and groups and committed to following up with administrators about my concerns. Since that initial conversation, Lily has continued to be a source of information and support.
Many parents in the district have had similar experiences discussing their questions and concerns with Lily. She always responds promptly and listens with respect, compassion, and a willingness to learn. It is not unusual for her to be the first and sometimes only WPS school official to respond to a concerned parent. She helps when she can, provides information and resources when needed, and works tirelessly to make herself available for further outreach.
Many, if not most, of these phone calls, emails, and stories are not publicly known; they are individual, confidential, and unique to each family. However, together they demonstrate what an invaluable resource Lily Rayman-Read is to the Watertown Public School Committee. For this reason, and countless others, I invite you to join me in voting to re-elect Lily Rayman-Read to the Watertown School Committee.
Heather Rose McManus
Parent of a Lowell Student
(NOTE: The deadline for submitting election letters is Thursday, Oct. 28. They can be submitted to email@example.com)
Unfortunately, my family’s experience reaching out to Lily Rayman-Read on the School Committee has been the opposite of what is described in the letter. I emailed her several times, including about things very painful and personal regarding my WPS students and never heard back at all. I know numerous other parents who have had the same experience while trying to reach out, but I am glad the letter writer had a more positive result.
One other data point on the issue of accessibility to families, Ms. Rayman-Read is the only School Committee member who does not list a phone number on the Committee’s website and is also the only School Committee member who does not list an individual email address for the public to contact. Anyone interested can see that here:
I have to agree with the Murphy Family’s experience of Lily Rayman-Read not being responsive.
Last spring I had questions relating to the return to school plan and had commented on a Facebook post on a Watertown group. Lily responded inviting me to contact her, which I did – I called her at the number she asked me to call her at, at the times she said she was available. Followed up with Facebook message letting her know I called. No return call. No return message. Fortunately I was able to reach Chairman John Portz, and he listened to my concerns and answered my questions. When it comes to voting for school committee members on Tuesday, we need members who will respond – not those who give only lip service.