LETTER: Mother, School Social Worker Announces Her Bid for School Committee

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Lisa Capoccia

Dear friends and members of the Watertown Community,

My name is Lisa Capoccia and I’m excited to share this announcement of my candidacy for the Watertown Public Schools (WPS) School Committee.

My decision to pursue this seat is based on a strong desire to advance WPS efforts to be responsive to the changing and increasingly complex needs of its student population. This decision follows ten years (starting when my daughter began the Lowell pre-K) of collaborating and advocating on behalf of students, families, and staff in the district. I thoroughly enjoy this work which is rooted in my strong commitment to equity and belief in the impact public education has on our collective future. It compliments my current position as a school social worker/adjustment counselor in Newton Schools and past work in public health.

Recently I realized that my involvement with WPS as a parent, community advocate, and collaborator affords me a solid understanding of its strengths and needs. Therefore, I believe the values, skills, experience, and relationships I bring to this work will benefit our community from my serving as a School Committee member.

As a School Committee member, some of my focus areas would include:

● Equity and Diversity. While WPS has begun to address its equity needs and institutional bias, there is more work to do such as increasing staff diversity to better reflect its student population; eliminating disparities in key areas (e.g., graduation rates) based on factors such as race, income, disability; and elevating student and family voices. Our School Diversity Councils represent a positive example of how our community members celebrate and institutionalize diversity to benefit all students.

● WPS Staff Support. District staff need support, encouragement, and resources to sustain their commendable work in our community. In the context of a national teacher shortage and complex student needs, listening to and collaborating with educators is critical for recruiting and retaining dedicated education professionals, and achieving district goals.

● Readiness for Post-Secondary Education and Employment. WPS is working to prepare our students for employment, further education, and citizenry in a world characterized by immense social, climate, and economic pressures and change. Our work is to prepare students for these environments and to ensure that all students have equitable access to productive futures.

● Student Mental Health. WPS provides social and emotional learning and mental health support to its students, and yet, Watertown is not immune to the impacts of a growing mental health crisis among youth. We know unmet mental health needs can adversely impact education outcomes and examining the WPS response to student mental health needs is important work for the district.

People who know me describe me as thoughtful, direct, someone who listens and considers all angles, and as a person who will ask critical questions. In the coming weeks I will share more about my qualifications for this important role in our community. As the parent of a rising ninth grader, and the granddaughter of a WHS alumna (Class of 1940), my affection for Watertown and its schools runs deep. I come to this work with some ideas, but am eager to hear your hopes, experiences with, and expectations for public education in Watertown.

Very sincerely,
Lisa Capoccia

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