I have been passionate about education my entire life. In high school and as an undergraduate at UMass/Boston, I volunteered as an assistant at local preschools. I attained a dual Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and Moderate Special Needs from Simmons College, and a Graduate Certificate of Advanced Study in Reading from the MGH Institute of Health Professions. I have 16 years of experience teaching - as a Special Education Teacher, A Special Education Team Chairperson, and a Reading Specialist. Over this time, I gained valuable insights about how to identify the needs of students, parents, and teachers, and how to support and advocate for these groups. As a parent, I have been actively engaged with Medford schools, volunteering with the Roberts PTO and attending the majority of School Committee meetings over the last couple of years. By attending these meetings, I have learned about the amazing things our students, teachers, and administrators are doing, as well as the many opportunities for Medford Public Schools to grow and change.
The Hays Family. Sharon, Ben, Owen and Peter
Along with my husband Peter, my two sons Ben (9) and Owen (7), and our sweet pandemic puppy Mocha, I have embraced all that Medford has to offer. You will often find us hiking in the Fells with our dog, swimming at Wright’s Pond, paddling on the Mystic, getting pizza at Wellington’s Pizzeria, and ice cream at Colleen’s.
Implementing and maintaining institutional growth in education is hard. With your support, I will work for you, your children and our teachers to help Medford schools grow into the future.”
— SHARON HAYS
EQUITY AND DIVERSITY
In her 2020 holiday message to families, Superintendent Dr. Edouard-Vincent said, “Medford is blessed by its diversity, and we all have much to contribute to the fight for equal rights for all in our country.” As a School Committee member, I will endorse policies and programs that honor our diversity and promote equity among Medford’s student population and school community. I will support the newly-formed Racial Equity Task Force and vote to approve the implementation of their recommendations. I will propose that the School Committee discuss the creation of a task force to investigate similar issues facing our LGBTQIA students and school community.
STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES
The pandemic has intensified our understanding that schools have become not only a place for children to learn but also a place where children can access the basic supports and services, they need to be available to learn and thrive. I will support universal free lunch at school, and the expansion of the breakfast program to include free breakfast after the bell. I will also advocate for increasing the number of counseling/mental health staff and services at every MPS school. I will propose that MPS provide additional professional development and support for teachers regarding Executive Function issues and investigate the use of teacher/student problem-solving models such as Collaborative & Proactive Solutions or think: Kids.
As a special educator and reading specialist, I have seen first-hand that a strong grounding in foundational reading skills at the elementary level is critical for learning to read. Research shows that reading on grade level by the end of 3rd grade is crucial for future success in school and career. I will advocate for a stand-alone systematic sequential reading program that focuses on foundational reading skills in K-3 (phonemic awareness; explicit, systematic, structured phonics; morphology and fluency), and a program that has solid language comprehension, vocabulary, and reading comprehension components for all of K-5.
EXPANDED CLASS OPTIONS
FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
In order to prepare for life after MPS, students need to have a variety of course options to support their chosen path in the world, whether that path includes 2-year or 4-year college, trade school, or a vocational or technical career. I will advocate for expanding program options at MVTHS, by surveying students and parents, and looking at programs with high enrollment (e.g. dental hygienist, plumbing) at other vocational-technical high schools in Massachusetts. I will advocate for expanded options for World Language classes at the Middle Schools and High School (e.g., German, Mandarin, Latin, American Sign Language). I will support increasing the number of advanced math classes at the middle and high schools.