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Martyn candidacy asks: Whose voices are represented?

Lynette Martyn, one of four candidates seeking three seats on the Arlington School Committee, submitted this viewpoint about her campaign. It was first published by WickedLocal. This is an edited version.

Lynette Martyn, School Committee candidate, 2020 photoMartyn

This unprecedented pandemic has been a humbling experience. While I am thankful to our teachers and town leaders who are working hard to move us forward, my family continues to nonetheless have struggles. We grapple with technology constraints in our home -- passwords and logins that don’t work, adult work schedules juggled with our children’s Google Classroom calls, time to support our teachers and other essential workers in our family and community, with time for self-care.

I vacillate between gratitude and grief. I worry about our struggling reader, who made great strides this fall but may fall behind during distance learning. I pause and consider; if this is difficult for my family, how is it affecting those members of our community with less privilege and less resources than our own?

When making big or difficult decisions for our schools, I want to make sure we stop and ask ourselves whose voices are being represented and how do we bring in more perspectives before moving forward. These questions are often on the forefront of my mind when deliberating on ideas or solutions for a myriad of challenges, whether in my former roles as a teacher and educational nonprofit executive, as a local community activist or as a mother of two young sons in our public school system.

Since my husband and I bought our home here and decided to throw down roots in Arlington a decade ago, I have become increasingly involved in pertinent town issues and events. This includes being an active member of both the town’s Diversity Task Group since 2015 and the Superintendent Diversity Advisory group since 2017. In 2016, I volunteered with and served as one of the founding host families to establish our local refugee resettlement program in town.

The following year, I led a grass-roots campaign, laying the groundwork for a network that educated residents and Town Meeting members about the Trust Act resolution -- or  "sanctuary town" warrant article. This outreach helped garner overwhelming support for the Trust Act, and encouraged an unprecedented number of residents to speak in favor of its adoption. 

In 2017, I also brought together parents, teachers and administrative stakeholders to help found the Diversity and Inclusion Groups, which are making positive contributions at all of our elementary and middle schools, after the first official meeting took place at Brackett in the spring 2018.

The DIGs’ mission emerged through facilitated parent/caregiver listening sessions; the group’s purpose is “to promote an optimal learning environment for all of our children and to reinforce diversity, equity and inclusion as a valued part of APS culture.” Additionally, the DIGs “strive to provide a safe and welcoming learning space for all our children and their respective families, inclusive of all identities.” The backbone of my campaign is formed by the conversations and listening sessions I have had with these parents and caregivers as well as the resulting collaborations with parents/caregivers, students, teachers and administrators.

On ElectLynette.com, I outline more than 50 specific goals I would strive to accomplish over my tenure on the School Committee that advance communication, transparency, equity, inclusion, engagement of parents/caregivers and the closing of disparity gaps in APS. Among others, I have consulted with representatives of the AHS Black of Student Union, the founder of the APS Rainbow Alliance, and the chairs of the Arlington Special Education Alliance and SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) to listen to their concerns and suggestions and to incorporate their feedback into my policy priorities.

As the person who will set the course for APS for the next decade or more, our incoming superintendent will have significant influence on the future path of our public schools. This is why I take my participation in the hiring process very seriously. I want us to hire a superintendent who values transparency and solicits input from teachers and the wider community, as well as prioritizes data-based decision making and strategy. The need to proactively adapt, to be forward thinking and creative is even more important now, as the pandemic has changed our model of education in ways that will likely have long-lasting or permanent impacts. We are finally giving attention, long overdue, to remote learning and access issues that have always existed for some disabled student populations.

I am committed to being a strong community liaison and to dedicating myself to representing the needs of all families during my tenure on the school committee. I encourage you to visit ElectLynette.com to learn more about my candidacy and to meet me at one of my upcoming virtual meet the candidate events every Thursday at 8 and Sunday at noon, zoom.us meeting id 455-256-5189 or dial in at 669-900-9128. I hope through learning more about my experience and ideas I will earn your vote on June 6.


This letter was published Tuesday, May 26, 2020.

Comments about this column are welcome. Make them at the window below and be sure to include your full name, a site requirement.

Town of Arlington to LGBTQIA+ students: You belong
 

Comments

Guest - Susan Stamps on Thursday, 28 May 2020 00:03
Correction re: Sanctuary Town effort

In her candidate statement dated 5/21/20 titled “Arlington School Committee candidate offers 50 goals for change in APS” on The Arlington Advocate website, Lynette states, "...I led an effort to help pass the successful and widely supported Trust Act resolution--or “sanctuary town”--bylaw to help advance protections for our undocumented neighbors and visitors." This statement came as a surprise to me since I was part of the Sanctuary Town leadership and I did not know Lynette. At a meeting of Arlington activists in December, 2016 following the election of Donald Trump as President, Judy Weinberg came up with the idea of Arlington becoming a Sanctuary Town. I said I wanted to help and she and I met with the Arlington Human Rights Commission to ask them to support the idea.

Judy and I drafted a Sanctuary Town warrant article and submitted it to town counsel for inclusion in the Warrant for the 2017 Town Meeting. Beginning shortly thereafter, we spent many weeks with Christine Carney and Mel Goldsipe, then cochairs of the Arlington Human Rights Commission, and Hannah Poor to craft the Sanctuary Town resolution for the Town Meeting vote, with extensive follow up with town counsel. We attended Select Board hearings and Mel organized a well-attended forum at town hall featuring civil rights leaders, the Arlington police, an undocumented immigrant and town officials.

We were so pleased after all that work that the Trust Act/Sanctuary Town resolution, Article 56 of the 2017 Town Meeting, co-sponsored by the Select Board and Human Rights Commission, passed nearly unanimously in one of Arlington Town Meeting's proudest moments. Although I did not know Lynette at the time and was unaware of any activity on her part regarding the Sanctuary Town effort, I have since learned that she was one of many townspeople who helped organize support in the community to make this happen. While Lynette changed the above statement (5th paragraph) for Your Arlington regarding her involvement in the Sanctuary Town initiative so it no longer looks like she led the effort, her statement still posted on the Arlington Advocate website remains unchanged.

Susan Stamps

In her candidate statement dated 5/21/20 titled “Arlington School Committee candidate offers 50 goals for change in APS” on The Arlington Advocate website, Lynette states, "...I led an effort to help pass the successful and widely supported Trust Act resolution--or “sanctuary town”--bylaw to help advance protections for our undocumented neighbors and visitors." This statement came as a surprise to me since I was part of the Sanctuary Town leadership and I did not know Lynette. At a meeting of Arlington activists in December, 2016 following the election of Donald Trump as President, Judy Weinberg came up with the idea of Arlington becoming a Sanctuary Town. I said I wanted to help and she and I met with the Arlington Human Rights Commission to ask them to support the idea. Judy and I drafted a Sanctuary Town warrant article and submitted it to town counsel for inclusion in the Warrant for the 2017 Town Meeting. Beginning shortly thereafter, we spent many weeks with Christine Carney and Mel Goldsipe, then cochairs of the Arlington Human Rights Commission, and Hannah Poor to craft the Sanctuary Town resolution for the Town Meeting vote, with extensive follow up with town counsel. We attended Select Board hearings and Mel organized a well-attended forum at town hall featuring civil rights leaders, the Arlington police, an undocumented immigrant and town officials. We were so pleased after all that work that the Trust Act/Sanctuary Town resolution, Article 56 of the 2017 Town Meeting, co-sponsored by the Select Board and Human Rights Commission, passed nearly unanimously in one of Arlington Town Meeting's proudest moments. Although I did not know Lynette at the time and was unaware of any activity on her part regarding the Sanctuary Town effort, I have since learned that she was one of many townspeople who helped organize support in the community to make this happen. While Lynette changed the above statement (5th paragraph) for Your Arlington regarding her involvement in the Sanctuary Town initiative so it no longer looks like she led the effort, her statement still posted on the Arlington Advocate website remains unchanged. Susan Stamps
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