Running forBoard of School Committee At-Large
I am currently serving my first term as school committeeman at large and am running for reelection.
Current jobI am so proud to be a 7th grade science teacher in the Nashua School District! I also serve as the student council advisor at school. As an educator, the thing I enjoy most is working with my students to help them grow and succeed. I work hard to collaborate with other educators to improve my practice to the benefit of my students. Through my years working as a teacher, I have learned a lot about what works to improve student learning outcomes and what does not. I have also seen what helps to improve classroom and school culture and climate. This helps create a positive place where students feel comfortable to engage in learning.
Time lived in NHI have lived in Manchester for my entire 27 years of life. I love this city. My wife and I really enjoy everything that it has to offer.
After graduating from Memorial High School, I earned my undergraduate degree in biology and my Masters of Education from the University of New Hampshire. I am also currently pursuing my certificate of advanced graduate study in education leadership from New England College.
Best way to contact candidatePArgeropoulosforschoolboard@gmail.com
Why are you running for this office?
For me this is simple. I am running for reelection for the same reasons I went into teaching. I want to help make a difference in the lives of students and families. Beyond that, I want to give back to the community that helped me develop into the person I am today. While we have challenges in the school district, we need elected officials who are willing to help support solutions that benefit everyone.
What uniquely qualifies you for the Board of School Committee?
What qualifies me is my knowledge of the schools and the city, as well as my experience as a teacher in a similar school district. Education is a constantly evolving field and I benefit from working with students and teachers every day. I know what the best areas to invest in are and also what investments do not work. This is because I live, eat and breathe education. I understand what helps students succeed.
While there are many races across the city, more broadly I support the candidates who support improving our public schools with appropriate investments. I am proud to have endorsed Kevin Cavanaugh for Mayor because he has demonstrated a commitment to this city and a commitment to supporting our schools. I am also happy to be running alongside Jim O'Connell for School Committeeman at Large.
The most important thing for the relationship is that the district is set up in a way that best allows informed decisions to be made to improve the education in our city for our students.
What are your thoughts and plans for the number of public schools needed in Manchester (with breakdown of elementary/middle/high schools in that number?)
While this answer may feel like a way of not answering, the truth is it should not be about one person’s feelings or emotions when it comes to how many schools the district should have. There are researched and tested ways of determining the appropriate size and space needed for schools and students that take into account desired class size, educational programming, transportation, and more. When making decisions about school facilities, I believe it is important to listen to the information that is brought forward to evaluate for proper process, and then consider the input of the community that helps to inform the final decisions. I will say that the current state of many of the facilities in our district are not where they need to be for our students, staff, and families. We need to improve our facilities to meet educational programming needs, as well as the safety of all those who occupy our buildings. There are numerous studies that show that facilities do impact learning and we have to consider this when making decisions. Our residents deserve high quality facilities.
What are your thoughts/plans on improving grade-level proficiency scores?
How would you address student equity?
Each and every student should be provided the supports they need to be successful. Knowing that each student has individual needs, it is important that the district continues to invest in ways to support teachers and support staff in differentiating instruction to make sure every student is making progress in their education. Of course some students’ needs are detailed in IEPs or 504s, but it goes beyond this. All students learn differently.
What are your thoughts on extra-curricular offerings in Manchester public schools?
Extracurricular activities have been one of my priorities this term. I believe extracurricular activities are extremely important. They help students find particular interests in activities and create a greater sense of community for all those who participate in them. I am proud to have pushed for greater investment in sports and music programs and I’m glad we have expanded sports offerings. While there is still more work to do, we have had a great start. As a student, the extracurriculars I participated in at Memorial had a huge impact on my life while also helping me to develop skills I still use today. As a teacher and advisor, I see the connections my students build with their peers in our extracurriculars. Additionally, one of my favorite things to do is help encourage students to take risks to try something new, often to later find that they had a positive experience which helped improve their connection to school. There is still more work to do in Manchester, and I am committed to improvements for our students.
What are your thoughts on per-pupil expenditures/costs per student?
What are your thoughts on attracting and retaining high quality Manchester School District staff?
Research studies show that employing high quality educators has the largest impact on student’s learning in schools. As such, it is important we attract and retain great teachers. In order to do this, we need to pay our teachers and other staff members appropriately. Beyond pay, there are other factors that improve working conditions, including providing meaningful professional development, as well as time for teachers to complete their work. I was extremely fortunate to have had so many amazing teachers in the Manchester School District. Many of them are the ones who inspired me to go into teaching myself. The educators in our district work extremely hard to educate our students.
What are your thoughts on the Manchester School District's relationship with private schools, charter schools and other school districts that have tuition agreements with Manchester?
My goal is to provide each and every student in the city a high-quality education in our public schools. This means investing in creating programs to meet the needs of all our kids.
What are your thoughts on and plans on school safety?
This has been a major area of focus for us since I’ve been on the board. We are fortunate to have been awarded safety grants that we are using to make our schools more secure. In addition, we have invested in technology that will help provide our staff and city officers with tools to increase safety. As we continue to develop our long-term facilities plan, safety is a top priority in building design.
What are your thoughts on and/or plans for addressing remote learning/other uses of technology in local education?
Technology can be a wonderful tool to help enhance education. It can also be something that inhibits learning if not used properly. It is important to continue supporting the district and the IT department in obtaining technology that helps improve education and provide training on how to use it effectively. It is equally important to not waste money on technology just to say we have it if we do not see an effective way to incorporate it in our classrooms.
What are your thoughts on or plans for addressing vocational and career-focused educational initiative?
This is extremely important. While college works for some students, there are many who do not want to go to college. It is important that we are preparing students for any career path they decide to pursue post-graduation. Creating vocational and other career-focused programs can help improve engagement for some students, while giving them a head start in learning the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in these areas. No matter if you are going to college, vocational school, straight to the workforce, the military, or beyond, we need to set students up for a successful life.
What are your thoughts on as well as plans for addressing issues and costs related to Special Education/IEPs?
This has been another area I have been working on during my first term. Just recently our district was fortunate to hire an extremely talented Chief Student Services & Wellness Officer. The team has been working on going through IEPs that need to be updated to be more efficient in meeting student needs. This has been something I have been requesting for a long time and I am glad to see them working on this now. In addition to this, as we work on the programming of our schools, it is important to identify areas that need investment in order to keep costs down. Oftentimes, we spend more money because we do not offer certain services in-district, forcing us to spend a lot to outsource for the services. This is something the district is creating a plan to address to bring down costs. This work needs to continue in order to save.