WESTFORD — WestfordCAT reached out to the five candidates running for two open School Committee seats in the May 3 Westford municipal elections. Candidates were asked the same outline of questions, and were free to share their replies during an interview with WestfordCAT.
School Committee hopeful Derek Lo spoke with WestfordCAT, outlining her background, experience and aspirations if reelected to the committee.
Experience and Education
Lo grew up in Westford, where he attended schools within the WPS system, eventually graduating from Westford Academy in 2018. He is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and history in May.
Past/Present Municipal Experience
In addition to serving on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, Lo chairs its subcommittee on education.
Volunteer participation, community involvement
N/A, but Lo clarified that he’s been focused on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
What should voters know about you?
“I think voters should understand I bring a missing perspective to our School Committee,” said Lo. “I was in the school district a few years ago, so I can speak on what Westford Academy has done well and areas it can improve.”
He continued, “I think the other part is that I think it is important to have someone who has experienced first hand the policies that the School Committee has implemented, down to the teachers in the classroom. I think that perspective is incredibly valuable.”
Why do you believe voters should choose you?
“I bring a fresh perspective. I have been through the schools, but also have a platform that reflects some points that aren’t articulated as much. I think we as a community place an emphasis on the metrics and statistics and end up leaving behind a lot of students who do other vocational programs like the service or technical schools.”
Lo also spoke on his commitment to mental health, and improving student well-being in the classroom.
“Having seen some of the attempts that have been made on mental health, I felt like a lot of it was trying to put check marks as opposed to trying to get to the root of the issue,” he said.
He continued, “we need to make sure our students are doing well physically and mentally, in the classroom and outside of the classroom.”
Lo also expressed support for more technical skills in the classroom.
“We place so much emphasis on student’s grades, but oftentimes they don’t know what they want to do after high school,” he said. “The mindset they’ve been given is ‘get an A in this.’ They’re good in school but are they good in practical skill sets?”
If elected, what impact do you hope to make?
Lo hopes to see greater collaboration between boards and committees within the town.
“[For example], the Conservation Commission could play a role in getting our students active. They’re children, they deserve a nice balance of being inside and outside,” he said.
Lo also affirmed his commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, especially among English Language Learners within the classroom.
“I hope to continue the work I’ve done with diversity, equity and inclusion. Our town hit the threshold of ELL students to have a liaison to the School Committee,” he said. “The assumption is that there will be a liaison to the English Learners Parent Advisory Committee when it is created.”
He continued, “given my experience as a student who has been in ELL, I think that background and passion I’d like to be able to bring.”
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