Emma Pascarella sees education as a type of social justice and her occupation as a teacher as a method to advance equity for youngsters in low-income, numerous and undeserved communities.
Named a Teach Plus Massachusetts 2022-2023 fellow this week, Pascarella, a first-grade teacher at Holyoke’s Lt. Clayre Sullivan Elementary School, will use the approaching 12 months to advocate for applications and insurance policies that may result in modifications statewide to degree the sphere of alternatives for all youngsters.
“I have always been interested in education policy, and I believe that education is a form of social justice and teaching in Holyoke propelled my advocacy work,” Pascarella stated. “In this group, I have the opportunity to work on impactful policy, and I will be able to bring that experience back to Holyoke.”
Pascarella has been in education for 18 years and with the Holyoke Public Schools since 2020.
She is amongst 19 educators from throughout the state chosen by this system primarily based on an indication of sturdy dedication to equity, advocacy, a pursuit of excellence and innovation within the classroom.
“Emma is a passionate educator who believes that education policy has a direct impact on decisions which impact student success,” stated Christopher Marino, Teach Plus Massachusetts govt director.
During the fellowship, teacher leaders will write op-ed commentaries on the coverage matters that they’re engaged on and meet with legislators whereas advocating for coverage options to attain constructive outcomes for college students, stated Teach Plus spokesperson Miles Halpine.
“The new fellows will continue to work alongside coalition partners, education leaders and policymakers to ensure that teacher expertise is included in the most important decisions impacting our students,” Marino stated.
Pascarella is engaged on insurance policies associated to teacher advocacy and shutting the wage hole between pre-kindergarten and elementary educators.
She hopes to additionally work to assist create applications the place academics’ voices may be elevated as properly on becoming a member of efforts to make sure reasonably priced, equitable entry to early education and rising educator range throughout the Holyoke Public Schools.
Teach Plus recruits potential leaders who’re then requested to submit purposes. Those chosen will work collectively within the fellowship, Halpine instructed The Republican.
“We will come together once a month with senior fellows to practice policy-writing skills, to raise awareness or influence legislators decisions on new policy,” Pascarella stated.
According to Teach Plus, the mission “is to empower excellent, experienced and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that advance equity, opportunity, and student success.”
In April 2015, Holyoke Public Schools was designated as chronically underperforming and the district was positioned in state receivership. The district continues to work to realize sustained excessive efficiency.
Recently partnering with the central workplace as a liaison, Pascarella is among the many metropolis’s educators who’ve collaborated on the Holyoke Public Schools’ preliminary 2022 strategic plan. She was concerned in drafting and growing the Learners Profile, a key element of strategic plan.
The Teach Plus fellow appears to align with the brand new imaginative and prescient, mission and path of Holyoke Public Schools, stated Sullivan School Principal Sacha Garcia-Mailloux.
In addition, Pascarella is a member of the Teachers Advisory Group that meets with the superintendent and different educators on school-specific logistics as the district works on rezoning, she stated.
Pascarella stated she believes being a Teach Plus fellow will present a chance to construct on the district’s momentum by permitting her to convey her education, expertise and empathy to the desk.
“It ties together nicely,” she stated. “I will be able to better understand language, the process and translate my experience into policy that will create change, support and understanding.”
“I am excited to see the skills and strategy’s she (Pascarella) picks up at the fellow and will be eager to see how it will be implemented at Holyoke Public Schools to benefit of students,” Garcia-Mailloux stated.
Since 2008, Teach Plus has skilled educators in a variety of equity-focused matters offering abilities when advocating for change in coverage, and the selections that may affect scholar success.
“Teach Plus Policy Fellows have engaged decision makers and legislators on many issues including equitable use of school funding, social emotional learning, and anti-bias and anti-racist work in our schools,” Marino stated.
This 12 months in Massachusetts, the working group matters embody equitable funding, recruitment and retention, LGBTQ+ advocacy and early childhood education, stated Halpine.
“We are proud of the impact our work has had on students and education priorities across the state,” Marino stated.
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