Dunn and Deysher: Advocates for Equity, Communication, and Special Education (Letter to the Editor)

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I am writing to support Phaedra Dunn and Melanie Deysher for our school board.

I have been involved with the schools since 2010. This story, along with my experiences as a Montclair parent, has allowed me to see some of the best and worst this city has to offer. Among the best is the flow of well-meaning, intelligent people who volunteer in myriad ways to support our schools, staff, and most importantly, our students.

Prior to the election where we chose to have the Board of School’s parsimonious estimate and have real representation on the Board of Education, established city figures were promoting a dystopian image of only low-quality candidates running for the BOE to serve their own special interests. Montclair should be proud to have proven those skeptics wrong. A number of excellent candidates come from the communities that support our schools.

Among these good choices, Ms. Dunn and Ms. Deysher stand out for multiple reasons. They both have a long history of supporting our schools. Meeting after meeting, month after month, Ms. Deysher pushed against the immovable object of our BOEs and appointed administrations struggling with temporary leadership and – ultimately
— succeeded in providing adequate support to pupils with dyslexia in our schools. His efforts also helped trigger the recent special education audit. This tenacity and determination in the service of improving literacy and numeracy in our district will be of great service to our

children in its role as a member of the BOE.

Ms. Dunn has already addressed one of the main issues before the board. Since I’ve been a parent here, communication has been a problem for our district. Ms. Dunn sees it for what it is: a matter of fairness. With some parents “in the know” and others outside of it
circle, how can this help but have a negative effect on the experience of students in schools? From a leadership position on the PTA Council, Ms. Dunn advocated for the PTA Council and the PTAs to step into this breach and help educate all of our families about how our schools work. As a member of the BOE, Ms. Dunn would be well placed to not only advocate for better and more comprehensive communication from the District, but would be able to create policies to hold the District accountable for ensuring that
every family knows what they need for our children to succeed.

While this is certainly a challenging time for our schools and students in many ways, BOE Vice President Priscilla Church also speaks of it as exciting. I share this enthusiasm for the new opportunities available to us to bring our district and the education of our students into the 21st century.

I believe that Ms. Dunn and Ms. Deysher will contribute greatly to this process as members of our school board, and I hope that you share this perspective and that you will vote for them.
as well as.

Andrew Gideon
Montclair


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