Let’s reimagine our schools together

“Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don’t need little changes, we need gigantic, monumental changes.” Sam Seaborn, Rob Lowe’s character in The West Wing, said that.

His speech stirred something deep inside me many years ago, something that has grown over the years into a powerful devotion to improve education. I believe immensely in the need for strong public education. It’s the linchpin issue for every other issue in society. I want to continue to be a part of evolving our school system to become more rigorous and more relevant, and to root our schools in deep connections to our families and to our community.

Now is the time for all of us who believe in public education to do the best work we can for Santa Fe’s students. We have a window of opportunity for several reasons.

First, the pandemic has focused attention on the importance of schools and on the need to find better solutions for education.

Second, stimulus funding from the federal government has given us an essential, but limited, window of financial support for roughly the next three years.

And third, the economic and workforce shifts taking place in our local, state and national economies are creating openings for changes in education — the kind of monumental changes Sam Seaborn spoke of.

This critically important work for Santa Fe schools won’t be easy. We need to look at increasing the equity in our class sizes, in our school populations, in extracurricular activities, in broadband, in neighborhoods and more. We must work with students and teachers to make learning both relevant and fun, while raising academic standards. We need to work with families to understand their needs and goals, and to support their children in school.

Making our schools better will require listening and active community problem-solving. We need to ask many questions: Do we activate transportation to make better use of the facilities we have? How can we include more learning outside of school and in the natural world? Which community partners can complement school programs, including tutoring, mentorships and field trips? How do we strengthen the pipeline to available local jobs and careers? How do we attract, develop and retain local staff for a stronger district?

I am running for another term on the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education because I know we can do this work, acting and planning for the collective good. We can continue to improve student outcomes, unlock local career opportunities and develop a skilled workforce. We can close achievement gaps, beginning to address the underlying issues of poverty and an underperforming education system.

We have a solid foundation today. We have greatly improved graduation rates, increased efforts to attract and retain exceptional educators, launched significant technology and computer science initiatives, improved curriculum and consistency across grade levels, attracted incredible community partners, and have more engaged students and families.

Thank you to everyone who is already a part of this work. Let’s keep going and growing our momentum for gigantic changes. Truly, education is the silver bullet; education is everything.

Kate Noble is passionate about public education. She is president of the Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education and is running for reelection in District 3.

View and share this op-ed that was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: