Lowell Supt. Chris Scott is being interviewed in Clev. today for the Supt. position. I was scanning Clev.com and came upon this article by Patrick O’Donnell, profiling Supt. Scott.
I have BOLDED some of what I think the most interesting comments where. I send Supt. Scott best wishes and hope she lands the job. We may have not always agreed on things but she has been open and responsive to any inquiry.
Supt. Chris Scott is friendly with the teachers union in Lowell, Mass.
She’s hanging her hat on that relationship, whether it wins her the job as the chief executive officer of the Cleveland school district or blows her chances.
Scott, the superintendent of the Lowell district since 2008, has the strong backing of the Lowell local of the American Federation of Teachers. Her job application notes that she learned of the Cleveland opening through the national head of the AFT. Her r sum lists multiple articles in AFT publications that feature her collaboration with the union.
Scott, 45, sees cooperation with the teachers union as her strength. Building a strong relationship with the teachers was her goal from the start in Lowell, so that everyone in the district could work as a team to improve the education of students.
“I’m very cognizant of the fact that it’s almost politically not correct to get along with teachers unions,” said Scott. But she called that idea a reflection of “the sad state of political discourse” today.
She said that if you’re in the business of educating children, it’s counterproductive to declare war against the individuals providing that education.
“If you want to declare war, it’s just going to take longer to get where you want to go,” she said. “And it doesn’t mean you’re giving away the store. It takes more to work with someone, rather than telling them this is how it’s going to be
Paul Georges, president of the United Teachers of Lowell, said Scott had him join her when she met staff as she started in Lowell and immediately started seeking input from teachers, moving away from the top-down approach of the previous superintendent.
She also worked with the national teachers union for district staff to receive training in better collaboration between teachers and administrators. Georges said having an administration that respected teachers and affirm their work gave teachers the ability to adjust to work better with their students and solve problems with small local teams, rather than always following orders from above.
“You didn’t see that sort of thing before,” he said.
Scott said districts pay teachers to educate students, so letting – and expecting them – to take responsibility and initiative only makes sense.
Massachusetts also calculates a Student Growth Percentile, which shows how much students gain in a year compared to others in the state. Scott pointed to that as the best measure of the performance of an urban district.
Lowell’s SGP results for the last three years have been mixed, with the district outperforming others in math, but often lagging in English skills. She said the English results have prompted ongoing adjustments.
“Overall, because of the large number of Limited English Proficient students in the system, we find it easier to move the mathematics scores,” Scott said.
Lowell School Committee members were reluctant to talk about her, either saying they were busy or not returning phone messages. One referred any questions to the district’s human resources department.
Mayor James Milinazo, who is president of the school committee, did not return a call seeking comment.