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Jessica Sidman and Hallie Hughes: Back Michael Morris as permanent superintendent


Thursday, October 05, 2017
Back Morris as permanent superintendent

We are writing to encourage members of the Amherst Pelham Regional School Committee to vote to hire Mike Morris for a permanent position as superintendent of schools.

We are both committed to and grateful for the wonderful public schools in Amherst. While we were on different sides of the Wildwood building project, we are united in our support of Morris. Post-vote, Morris has taken extra efforts to find meaningful ways for the community to find their voice in the school system.

Though our schools are strong, they are also facing serious challenges as infrastructure ages and enrollment patterns change. We feel that we need a superintendent now, who can hit the ground running with good knowledge of the issues faced by our district. But we are not arguing for Morris merely for the sake of expediency. Morris has spent years in the Amherst school system, and his dedication and investment in our school system is readily apparent.

We have been impressed by his leadership in the past year, and think that the way he is handling the development of new homework policies is a good example of how to work collaboratively with the community. In particular, he established a team of educators and parents/guardians to begin discussion over the summer.

More recently, families have received a letter noting progress to date and links to articles on the effectiveness of homework at various grade levels. Additionally, Morris initiated a discussion with PGOs at the schools to talk about how best to bring this discussion to families as a policy was being created.

We describe the process around the homework policies here to show that Morris is someone with a track record of making policy decisions based on evidence-based research and that he knows well how to engage the community around important policy changes to think collaboratively as they are being developed.

We are delighted that Morris is interested in the permanent position and urge the school committee to vote yes on Oct. 10.

Jessica Sidman

Amherst

Hallie Hughes

Amherst