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Why I Want to Serve on School Committee

I hope to bring a new perspective to our community's efforts to improve education

At each North Andover School Committee meeting, there 8 people who sit behind the desk: 5 School Committee members and 3 administrators, including the Superintendent. Of those 8 people, there are mothers, and there are fathers. There are teachers and education professionals. But there is one group that is fundamental to any school system that is not represented.

The students.

My name is Mark Mezzina, and I am a candidate for North Andover School Committee. I am a bit of a rarity among candidates for public office, since I have not had my 20th birthday yet (it’s coming up in May). One of the primary reasons I am running is because I believe the School Committee could benefit from someone who has a uniquely important perspective on educational issues, someone who as a student and a recent graduate of high school has been immersed in the world of education for as long as I can remember. I believe that I can use my direct experience to benefit the students of North Andover.

Recently there was a controversy over the new Standards-Based Grading system. Having been in situations myself where I don't understand a grade that I got, or there is a miscommunication with a teacher, I know how frustrating it can be for students. While this issue in particular has been cleared up, there will almost certainly be situations in the near future that demand good communication, and clear understanding from all parties involved. Can my perspective as a student aid in that communication? I believe the answer is yes.

Particularly in today's society, students need people that they can look up to and emulate. As a 19-year old who has chosen to get civically involved, I can both relate to students, and also show them how to make good life decisions. Test scores and grades are important to students, but so are life lessons. More young people getting active in their community can only be a good thing for our town's future. Maybe having someone they can relate to on School Committee can serve as inspiration for them to make good choices.

We need an open, transparent local government. We need a School Committee that strives for academic excellence by listening to all perspectives, including the students. We need people who have a stake in the future to get involved and chart the course of that future. These are the things that I stand for, and these are the things I hope to promote if elected. And with that in mind, I humbly ask for your support March 26.

You can visit my website at www.mezzinaschoolcommittee.org or my Facebook at www.facebook.com/MezzinaSchoolCommittee

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mark Mezzina January 29, 2013 at 03:15 AM
Thanks for posting Heather! I look forward to meeting voters and discussing my candidacy and the issues affecting our students.
Mark Mezzina January 29, 2013 at 03:34 AM
Bill, thank you for the question! My direct experience with special needs children is limited. However, I have spoken with special ed instructors and parents on multiple occasions over the past few years, and I want to make sure that our school system is equipped to deal with every special needs student. What changes would you like to see for our special education program?
Bill Callahan January 29, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Mark - I think that the School Committee should continue to work towards increasing the amount of students that they can serve either in district or in partnership with other districts. Of course, private placements might be the only solution for certain students according to their IEP, but to the extent that we can manage that cost it benefits the rest of the schools. I also think that the special education department really needs strong leadership and there has been churn in the leadership district-wide.
Mark Mezzina January 29, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Bill, I 100% agree. It's a cost savings issue as well - shipping a student off to an entirely different facility (sometimes as far away as Cape Cod) every day can become extremely expensive. Any time we are considering new faculty, I want to look at people who are well-trained in dealing with special needs students, and perhaps training courses for current faculty members as well. Obviously this all needs to fit within the budget, but it's an important issue that has to be examined.
Bill Callahan February 27, 2013 at 09:04 PM
Hi Mark - How are things? Long time no exchange blog posts! What are your feelings on recent budget developments? What are your thorughts on the budget? Anything missing? Anything too high or too low? What do you think about the process to put it together? Unfortunately, I will miss the candidates' forum, but I'll record it. Bryan - no spoilers!

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