Donna Leone for School Committee Candidate Statement

To the Community of Wilmington:

After running for school committee in our last election in April 2013, I am once again seeking your support, your vote, and a seat on our School Committee.

 My name is Donna Leone, and my family and I have made Wilmington our home for the last 15 years.  We chose to make Wilmington our home because of the strong community, safety and the excellent reputation of the public schools.  My husband Michael and I have four children, all of whom attend Wilmington Public Schools. 

Although it was difficult financially, my husband and I decided that I would be a stay at home mom when our children young. I recognize the struggle many parents may feel when it isn’t possible for mom or dad to be a stay home parent; therefore, I believe the school has a critical role in supporting and caring for our children.   

My four children are all students in the Wilmington School district. They cross the span from elementary school to high school.  As my children grew and continue to grow in their independence, I decided to rejoin the work force in September of 2012 and more recently I began working for a realtor here in Wilmington.   

To honor my commitment to all children, my husband and I have had the privilege to foster several children through the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.  I have also served as a CCD teacher at Saint Dorothy’s and coached little league.  Serving my community in these ways has provided me the great opportunity to meet many families and learn what is most important to the parents and children who live in Wilmington.   

As a mother of a special educational needs child, creating a district-wide Response to Intervention programming is a priority to me.  Beginning in preschool, RTI procedures should be in place with effective implementation of differentiated learning models within general education environments and appropriate professional development made available to all staff for proper application and success for our children. 

Identifying the individual needs of students whether they are students with special educational needs, average students or gifted, is vital to creating a learning environment in which all children are taught in a manner that encourages them to learn and is an integral part of the success of students and faculty.  As these methods progressively take root, our district will be better able to teach our children. 

As my children and all Massachusetts children face the challenge of transitioning to the Common Core standards from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, MCAS is also transitioning to the PARCC testing, a nationally standardized test with more rigorous testing standards.  When Wilmington’s six elementary schools come together to form one single school, the differing curriculum from each of these elementary schools can create distinct challenges; affecting the school district’s ability, the educational staff’s ability, to move forward in educating our children at this next level.  To minimize this challenge it would be beneficial that a single curriculum be used district wide.  Currently Wilmington, is implementing new procedures in the Evaluation of Professional Staff.  I remain hopeful that these evaluations will provide objective data on the strengths and weaknesses of our instructional abilities.

I am passionate about the children in our community; a safe environment is imperative to their educational success.  As a member of the school committee I will make it a priority to ensure that our children are protected from the threat of violence, including that of bullies.  Every child is unique and has the right to a quality education.  We, as parents and committee members are given the amazing opportunity to share in our children’s experience as they grow, learn and reach their fullest potential.   

I believe in our community, schools, teachers and our children I will take great care in my responsibility as a school committee member and consider each issue with the attention it deserves before voting on an issue.  I promise to work together with all members of the educational community, including parents, and town officials to help Wilmington schools continue to strive to reach our goal of providing the best educational program and give our students a solid foundation for their future! 

Thank you for taking the time to read my statement - I can be contacted via email at drl1226@gmail.com and can be found on Facebook by following this link:  https://www.facebook.com/DonnaLeoneForWilmingtonSchoolCommittee.

 I respectfully ask for your vote on April 26, 2014.  Thank you.

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