Candidate’s Letter: Jen Primack for School Committee

by beth on April 30, 2018

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[Ed note: On May 8th, residents will vote to appoint candidates to five contested seats on three important boards. To help you make that decision, I have invited each of them to submit a letter to readers.]

To the Editor:

As a parent of a first grader at Mary Finn, a clinical psychologist, and a professor at Brown University, education has been at the center of my life. I’m running for Southborough school committee because I want our children to have the best opportunities to succeed and I believe I have the experience and skills to make a positive impact.

My professional career has been focused on advocating for others. As a psychologist, researcher, and educator I have:

  • Created curriculum.
  • Taught high school and college students.
  • Counseled adults and adolescents with emotional issues, and have come to understand the types of skills that make students successful.
  • Run my own grants, including managing budgets, hiring and mentoring staff, and translating data into policy.
  • Listened. Really listened both to my patients and my colleagues, because it is the best way to help and the only way to successfully collaborate.

But my most important job is being the mother to a 7 year-old daughter in the Southborough public school system, where I’ve volunteered as a room parent, in the library and in the computer lab.

I am deeply invested in having our schools be secure and safe environments, and I know how to foster emotional wellbeing in children. 

  • I support later school start times for our middle and high school students. Change can be hard, but most of the research shows that older kids require more sleep and perform their best when adequately rested. In fact, there are even studies on how starting high school later can reduce traffic accidents, substance use, and behavioral problems.
  • I want to explore options for healthier lunches, which I think we can do within our budgetary limitations.
  • I’ll propose the creation of an alumni fundraising program that could reduce the burden on taxpayers. If private schools and colleges can do it, so can we.
  • I will support comprehensive approaches to school safety that integrate an understanding of mental health, physical safety measures, and preparedness. For example, we should train substitute teachers and volunteers on what to do in the case of an intruder.
  • I want to strengthen ties between Southborough’s schools and its broader community. For example, encouraging educational programs with groups like the Southborough Historical Society, Southborough Open Land Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce, and other local commissions.

I have attended school committee meetings and safety forums, have examined our budgets (plus the budgets of neighboring districts), and have met with parents, teachers, principals, and community leaders. I’ve developed specific plans and action items for each of my positions, and have posted more details on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/electJenPrimack. You can also contact me directly at ElectJenPrimack@gmail.com

My family moved to Southborough five years ago, in large part because of the schools. We are one of the state’s top districts, with experienced teachers, qualified administrators, and a supportive community. I’m passionate about keeping our schools moving forward because even in the best districts there is room for improvement.

Please give me your vote on May 8, and I’ll work my hardest to make sure we maintain the sort of educational system that we all want for our children and our community.

Jen Primack
Candidate for School Committee

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mary Hamaker April 30, 2018 at 8:06 PM

I think each of the highlighted items deserve attention and am glad that you’ve put a spotlight on them. You have my support!

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2 Jen Primack May 2, 2018 at 9:03 AM

Thank you so much Mary! I am glad to hear that you care about and support those issues too. I appreciate the support!

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3 Kate Noke May 1, 2018 at 7:06 PM

Jen; your focus on a data-driven approach is just what the district needs. Your background and experience that make you an ideal candidate for a School Committee seat. Your alumni fundraising idea is a fantastic one – I can’t believe we haven’t thought of this before. I will happily vote for you!

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4 Jen Primack May 2, 2018 at 9:07 AM

Thank you! I’m invested in finding ways to raise money for needed projects that wouldn’t require us turning to the community for tax increases. I am very appreciative of your support.

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5 Caitlyn Beck-Sabino May 1, 2018 at 8:08 PM

I’ve known Jen for the last 3 years and our daughters are great friends. Being a friend of Jen’s doesn’t mean that she would automatically get my vote since I’m very passionate about my child’s education. Two issues that stand out to me personally is having healthier lunch options and for changing the start times for our older students. I’ve spoken in great length with Jen about issues that she is passionate about and I see how informed and invested she is. I know that Jen has the flexibility in her schedule to put her whole heart and soul into this position and I know that she would be dedicated to making a difference. Jen has my vote on May 8th!

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6 Jen Primack May 2, 2018 at 9:09 AM

Thanks Caitlyn. You and I have had many conversations about our schools and our educational system. I’m glad to know that I have your vote in addition to your friendship.

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7 Marnie Hoolahan May 6, 2018 at 10:20 AM

I endorse Jennifer Primack for School Committee.

I am impressed with Jennifer’s commitment to our schools and our children. Jen has set out a lofty plan that can have a beneficial effect on our children and I fully endorse her positions across her platform.

We are blessed in Southborough to have people willing to suggest change and lead it. The effort for changing school start times at the high school has been discussed forever. Having Jen available to share her academic research and experience with our town to help educate and improve awareness on the impact of early start times on adolescent development may actually change the schedule. She is an advocate for change – most change movements just need people willing to step up and lead it! Let’s allow her to do that!

Jen has conducted some research locally to assess the viability of leveraging local CSA to support the school lunch programs. I love the tenacity and approach- why not feed children healthy, local produce which will help a community CSA flourish and “feed” our children’s appetites and brain development?

Jen has some great ideas and after meeting her and learning more about what she is all about, has earned my trust and endorsement! PLEASE VOTE FOR JEN PRIMACK for SCHOOL COMMITTEE on TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2018 at TROTTIER

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8 Jen Primack May 7, 2018 at 10:31 AM

Thank you Marnie for your endorsement and eloquent response. I’m glad to hear that you support the ideas and plans I am proposing and I would love the opportunity to push these things forward!

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9 Pat D May 7, 2018 at 8:57 AM

Again, the town electiion is Tueday May 8, not May 10.

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