Education is not only my profession, education is my passion.
I came to the United States thirty years ago seeking a high-quality education. As a young teaching training college faculty member anxious for career advancement, I came to Boston University with a fellowship grant to pursue my graduate education. To support myself with limited resources, I found a live-in position at a program in Newton serving developmentally disabled adults. Thus started my thirty years of appreciation of and involvement in the Newton schools and community.
My three-year-old son came to the states with a big bundle of energy. Unfortunately he was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) after entering his kindergarten class. He was described as “an exhausting student in class” by his classroom teacher. We were advised to only speak to him in English so he could better understand the classroom instructions. Half a year later, he lost almost all his Chinese language skills. To ensure a quality bilingual education for my son, I got involved in the Newton Chinese Language School. I served as PTO president, its principal and later as the founding board chair.
Later, I served as a school parent member of the Lincoln-Eliot Elementary School Council, largely due to my concern of the bullies my son endured due to his “erratic” behaviors. Afterwards, I was appointed by the then Newton Mayor as a member of the Newton Human Rights Advisory Commission. My participation as a member of the Superintendent Search and Selection Committee offered me a great opportunity to examine the Newton school system and its leadership in more meaningful ways and from broader perspectives.
As my second child entered the Newton schools, I was further engaged in the Newton public schools as a member and chair of the Horace Mann Elementary School Council, and a member of the Newton schools’ strategic planning team. During the past year, I also served on the Newton North High School Council while my daughter was a both accomplished senior student and a leading member of a varsity sport team.
Throughout the past three decades of raising my two children and playing an active role in the Newton schools and community, I have come to the conclusion that families and communities have to collaborate on their common efforts to support children’s overall learning and growing. The quality of any school system depends on the quality of its students, their families, and the nurturing community environment. This belief led me to start the WE CARE parenting program focusing on the effective communication and deep appreciation among children, families, schools, and communities for a whole-child development.
As a bilingually and bi-culturally trained educator, a parent with an adult son, and particularly with my past twenty years of working as an education specialist at the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, I have been blessed with a broad and global perspective on what constitutes a quality education. Educational excellence is not only the foundation for every child, but also for every family, for every community, and for every country!
Thus, as a school committee member, I would like to
Inspire Student Learning and Growth: setting high expectations for all students; focusing on the whole child development in academic, social and emotional learning in a sustainable and life-long perspective;
Provide Support for Teachers for High Teaching Quality: advocating and honoring effective teaching and high-quality professional development for all faculty members; recruiting and retaining quality teachers of diversified backgrounds;
Promote Effective Communication between Families and Schools: supporting and enhancing the communication channels between (particularly newly moved in) families and schools; providing platforms and opportunities for concerned families and parents to be more informed and involved in the school policy-making process;
Oversee the District Leadership and Fiscal Management: proactively overseeing the superintendent’s performance and evaluation; taking the district fiscal responsibility seriously with an open mind to all educational needs and seeking the community’s input on the district’s long-term strategic planning;
Enhance School Buildings, Learning Environment and Facilities: actively monitoring the district’s ongoing infrastructure renovation and expansion projects; supporting efforts to upgrade the learning technologies and educational facilities; diligently maintaining the district’s safe and healthy learning environment.
Twelve years ago, upon my son’s high school graduation, I wrote a guest commentary for Newton Tab, which was entitled: “Working Together To Raise A Whole Child”. Now, I would respectively ask you to support me to run for the Newton School Committee, so I can work together with all of you to support all children in our Newton community.
Let’s work together for educational excellence for all!
With respect and appreciation,
Anping Shen, Ed.D.
(cell/text: 617-610-0747; website: anpingshen.net)