Candidate Profile | Christine Monaco
School Committee (contested)
The local election will be April 9, 2022. In order to inform eligible voters and empower them with the information they need to both show up at the polls and make an educated decision once they get there, I’ll be profiling candidates for election. I complete these profiles by interviewing the candidates and then writing up our conversation in a conversational format, much like I have done with the local government profiles. Candidates are invited to review the profiles prior to publication to ensure I got the facts correct.
Other upcoming opportunities to learn more about your candidates:
Democratic Town Committee Candidate Event
This is one of three candidate profiles for the contested Burlington Public Schools (BPS) School Committee race. Click a name below to read about the other candidates.
Melissa Massardo | Jeremy Brooks
Christine Monaco is a long-time Burlington resident, and many of us don’t remember a time when she didn’t sit on School Committee. She settled in Burlington with her husband after he completed his service in the United States Navy, and this is where they raised their four children, all of whom still live in town. She also has 15 grandchildren, some of whom have graduated from BPS and some who are currently in our school system - two at BHS, two at MSMS, two at Fox Hill, one at Pine Glen and two more going into kindergarten next year.
Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in math & education as well as an MBA. She was also certified as a secondary math teacher and trained as a special education advocate. Prior to joining School Committee, she was a substitute, homebound teacher, and special education tutor at the high school. After ten years working in the school system, she felt her knowledge of BPS’s inner workings - and its issues - would make her a good candidate for School Committee, and she has indeed found a home there.
During Christine’s time on School Committee, BPS has established the Burlington Early Childhood Center, an integrated preschool, as a part of BPS (not an outside agency). This school provides general education as well as specialized instruction for our preschoolers needing special education services. The district has also established a program at Pine Glen for students coming from the BECC who need a more specialized setting, but whose parents want to keep them in the Burlington school system. Christine says the goal is to have options in BPS that fit the needs of all students, while also giving parents the option to choose the educational environment they feel is right for their children.
She is also proud of the technology offerings within Burlington Public Schools, including one-to-one iPads, coding at all grade levels, and an award-winning robotics team.
Christine’s Priorities for BPS
Christine feels there are several high-value measures that could be implemented in the short term to support neurodiverse students and those needing extra academic support.
At the elementary school level, she would like to see teachers have more access to high-quality training to support students who are having trouble building the skills necessary for early reading. She believes if more teachers were trained in research-based methods such as Wilson, Orton-Gillingham, LiPS, etc., our struggling readers in early elementary would be better supported.
At the high school level, she would like to have a specialist trained in supporting young people on the neurodiverse spectrum who can help students get to know their peers, build a support system, and have a home base where they can go and be understood.
Christine would also like to see the School Committee focus on supporting students who are learning English (sometimes referred to English Learners, or ELs). We have had an influx of residents from various parts of the world, and we need to be sure we’re meeting their needs as they learn both English and the required grade-level content. She would also like to see a health facility established so families without another way of obtaining vaccinations or healthcare have somewhere to go. There is a plan with the city of Woburn to establish such a facility.
In the long term, there are a number of building projects that need to be undertaken to ensure our facilities are in good working order. These projects need to begin quickly, but they will take a number of years from conception to completion. The high school needs immediate attention so we don’t get to a place where systems are failing. Fox Hill has been approved for the first phase of its reconstruction project, the feasibility study for which funds were approved by Town Meeting this winter. And Pine Glen also needs some renovations - it won’t be as extensive or expensive as BHS or Fox Hill, but it needs to be a priority to get it done.
Christine believes she is the best candidate for the School Committee because she has the experience and institutional knowledge to support a Committee made up of relatively new members and lead them into the future of BPS. She has been around long enough to have been involved in building a school, something we’ll be doing a lot of in the coming years. Additionally, as the liaison to both the Select Board and Ways & Means Committee, she has worked with the town financial team to budget within guidelines and to plan for long- and short-term capital items, including bonding schedules. In a Committee with such a steep learning curve, Christine feels it is essential there is someone in the room with the historical understanding to continue moving forward in today’s rapidly changing world.
She is always available to talk, and residents are welcome to contact her at any time - and many do!
Christine can be reached in the following ways:
Christine is having a campaign kickoff on Friday, March 11, at 7pm. Don’t forget to check her Facebook page for details about this and other upcoming events.