The second and final runner-up for Boston Public Schools chief was faced with a wide range of questions on Friday, from why he qualifies for the job to how he plans to establish fairness for students of color, English learners, and students with special needs.
Tommy Welch, currently superintendent of BPS Region 1 K-12, said he wanted to become a district superintendent because although he has not been in charge of a district, he has been able to “navigate and to manage a very complex and extensive network” of 15 schools.
School board member Stephen Alkins asked how Welch would overcome racism and “anti-blackness” in the district, as well as the lack of progress in black student achievement.
“I’m thinking of tackling this head on, really talking about it and making sure it touches every part of our district, and using people like me and my current role, who support between 10 and 15 schools like this person who can speak to the headteacher to see where they stand,” he said in part.
Welch, who responded to Spanish-speaking panelists and school committee members in the same language, said he would encourage bilingualism throughout the district because it would give all students an advantage in an increasingly bilingual society. where many jobs prefer a second language and others require this.
Because BPS has had an abysmal punctuality rate in its transportation department, leaving many students waiting an inordinate amount of time for a bus, if at all, Welch said he would like an app, similar to those of ride-companies. like Uber and Lyft, an app that constantly lets students know where their bus is and when it’s expected to arrive.
Welch answered the same questions as the first runner-up, drawn from both panelists and audience responses to a Superintendent’s research poll. The other runner-up, Mary Skipper, head of Somerville Public Schools, held public talks on Thursday.
The school committee will select the superintendent next Wednesday.