January 6, 2021, Submitted by Tim Miller-Dempsey
I am so excited to announce that I am running for School Committee. It has been an impossibly hard year, but I am hopeful and optimistic that we will soon turn the corner into a new era for Hingham’s public schools. The pandemic has demonstrated how crucial schools are as community centers and how much everyone in our town depends on the public schools. Remote learning has taught us how important it is for all students to have access to the curriculum and how much equity work Hingham has yet to do. The social isolation has taught us how important non-academic social/emotional learning is for all students. The reduction in AP classes during hybrid learning has taught us that we need to fully support our most academically advanced students and challenge them with a program that is as rigorous as they can handle. The economic crisis has made many families dependent on the schools for the services their children need, as paying for tutors and private school tuition is now out of reach for many Hingham families. This past year, with all of its sickness, protest, and social upheaval, has really demonstrated how much Hingham needs a strong, rigorous school system that works for all of our kids.
I have been a public high school teacher for twenty three years in Somerville, a city that has both similarities and major differences from Hingham. I work at Full Circle, a therapeutic alternative middle and high school, so I have experience writing IEPs, leading team meetings, and communicating effectively with parents. While I went to Milton Academy as a boarding student from Wisconsin, and later to Oberlin College, my experience with private schools have made me a strong supporter of public education as both a foundation for thriving communities, as well as a vital support for those who did not have the same opportunities that I had. I have an M.A.T. from Boston University, and an M.Ed. from Cambridge College. I am certified in History, Special Education, and ESL. I have been the chair/co-chair of Hingham SEPAC (The Special Education Parent Advisory Council) for the past three years. SEPAC played a vital role in communicating information to parents of special education students when other forms of communication broke down. Through SEPAC, I have worked with each current member of the School Committee in a positive way, and already have good working relationships with members of the administration, and many of the other people who work in the Hingham Public Schools. And most importantly, I have two children in the school system. David and Jacob are in 6th and 7th grades at the Middle school, both receive special education services, and both went through East Elementary. I have been happy with their experience in HPS, but through SEPAC have also watched countless families struggle with getting their children’s needs met when these kids don’t have a special education teacher for a parent. Public service is one of our family values, as my husband Dan sits on the traffic committee, is a board member of the Hingham Pride Project, and works in health care at New England Donor Services, a non-profit organ donation organization.
Many issues are driving me to run for School Committee. We need to have an appropriate budget that is commensurate in its student spending to other benchmark towns. We need to have an academic program that continues to be rigorous while addressing the equity barriers that keep different groups of students fully accessing all that HPS has to offer. We need to move forward with the plan for Foster, a building that is seriously out of date and unable to serve our kids in the way they deserve. We need to support our vocational program as an equal and important academic department that can prepare students for careers. I also believe that the school committee needs the voice of someone who works in public schools, has worked with and been a member of a teachers’ union, and has made education their life’s work. Most of all, I want to listen to the issues parents and community members care about and work to make Hingham Public Schools all they can be for all of the members of our community. I am extremely optimistic that the next three years will be a very fruitful period where we can make some serious progress for our kids. Thank you for your consideration, and please reach out to me with any issues or questions at [email protected].