January 7, 2022
To address the lack of progress on raising student achievement within the district, the PSB have begun to consider new methods of closing the achievement gap and prioritizing equity work. Over the summer, Uttaro was appointed the Senior Director of Equity for the townwide district.
Uttaro’s job entails designing professional development for teachers, uniting equity work across the district, identifying causes of racial disparities and leading the district’s efforts in combating those disparities.
“I think part of what my job can be is aligning [initiatives] and giving some coherence and some cohesion to all of these different efforts and making sure we know what we’re doing and that we’re communicating together about it. We’re moving forward on our own personal anti-racism journeys and our personal anti-bias journeys. And as the system and as a community, we’re moving together,” Uttaro said.
Guillory also became the Superintendent over the summer and has begun the processes of creating entry and strategic plans for the district.
The entry plan involves visiting schools around the district to observe and understand the current organization of the district. Guillory began this in July and is expecting to release the findings in February. After the report is released, the strategic plan process will begin, which includes town halls, surveys and meetings to determine the steps to improve the district. The strategic plan will lay milestones and checkpoints in the district for the next five years. The updates about the progress of the work will be regularly shared during Brookline School Committee meetings.
Part of ensuring the success of equity work is taking advantage of Brookline’s resources to amend the system to better address disparities, according to Guillory.
“We’re uniquely positioned to do something by coordinating the rich resources that we have here to best support our students. And so that’s the way that I’m really looking at this as an opportunity to make sure that every kid in our system not only survives, but they thrive. When you are in the phase of thriving, you’re at a different level altogether. That’s my dream, for all of our kids to be at a point where they’re thriving throughout our system,” Guillory said.
Uttaro said the investment and ideas of students will help her determine her plan of action.
“I’m always curious to know what students think and what ideas students have. To me, sometimes the adults have all these plans and they forget to ask the people that this most effects and impacts. So I’m always curious to know what students are thinking, what they’re seeing and what they’re experiencing, because it informs my work,” Uttaro said.
Guillory said working with student groups at the high school is an important way to integrate student voices and ideas into the process of restructuring the district.
“Student voice is critical to this. And so whether it’s through a formal round table conversation, or whether it’s the informal conversations that we have when we’re out visiting schools, we’ll be collecting and seeking that input and direction,” Guillory said. “We’re designing and redesigning the system to make sure that all students are successful.”
Contributed reporting by Luca Kelley Nielsen, Rowan Roudebush and Mila Seifert