Back to School!

When our son was tiny, my husband and I were both new teachers with more commitment than pay.

We relied heavily on community-based nursery schools, and these positive early experiences were fundamental to Matt’s success. When we moved to Rockville on only one income, the staff at the Twinbrook Community Recreation Center made sure “Matty Ice” felt welcome, did his homework, and honed his cooperation and teamwork skills. Having a safe, supportive place to be after school where he was mentored and held accountable set him up for success in other parts of his life. That it was affordable was a huge relief.

Quality, community-based childhood experiences, especially when rooted in play, are one of the greatest socio-economic levelers at our disposal, and a well-educated city is a catalyst for a healthy economy. Internships and opportunities for experiential learning at City Hall for high school seniors and MCC students is a way to bookend quality early education with immersive leadership training.

These experiences welcome our kids into the broader community, and pave the way for an educated, involved citizenry down the road.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Prioritize an Education Commission that includes MCPS and Montgomery College, including student leaders, as our partners.
  • Strengthen and expand our existing city-based early childhood and kids’ programs.
  • Create an ex-officio position on most Boards and Commissions for student leaders.
  • Protect the current school capacity limits included in the Adequate Public Facilities Standards as good partners to MCPS and good stewards of our children’s education.
  • Explore ways to make the City of Rockville more teacher-friendly through tax and housing credits.

Here’s what I’m reading:

Superville, Denisa. “In Some Cities, Closing Achievement Gaps Is Not For Schools To Fix Alone”. Education Week, 2019, https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/09/12/in-some-cities-closing-achieving-gaps-is.html. Accessed 8 July 2019.

White, Gillian B. “Better Schools, Better Economies.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Dec. 2015, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/12/fixing-public-schools-for-a-better-economy/419526/.Accessed June, 2019

Gonzales, Ron. “The New York Times > College > College Specials > Mayors On Education | San José: 10 Ways A Mayor Can Help Improve Public Education”. Archive.Nytimes.Com, 2019, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/ref/college/collegespecial3/coll_opinion_gonz.html?8bl.

Gross, Betheny. The Future of Education: How Cities Can Leverage Community Assets, Social Networks, and Personal Passions in Extending Their Learning Systems Beyond the Classroom, 2019, www.the74million.org/article/the-future-of-education-how-cities-can-leverage-community-assets-social-networks-and-personal-passions-in-extending-their-learning-systems-beyond-the-classroom/.

Do You Remember the First Time You Voted?

I was a sophomore at LSU in Baton Rouge when I had my first opportunity to vote. That year’s gubernatorial election featured a three-way race between incumbent Buddy Roemer, convicted felon Edwin Edwards, and KKK leader David Duke. Governor Roemer lost in Louisiana’s “jungle primary” and the choice was narrowed to Edwards and Duke, with Edwards, an early civil rights advocate, eventually winning in a landslide. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
 
Later, when Governor Roemer was a regular at the coffee shop I managed, I learned a few things from him that are as unforgettable as the first time I cast a ballot. As we talked about how to get a minor league baseball team to come to Baton Rouge and generally solved all the world’s problems, I noticed how much he cared about the people he had served and, for someone in their twenties who was unsure of what should come next, he gave me a sense of belonging to the broader community. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned over the years began with those conversations—success is measured by what you do for others, dignity stems from humility, and belonging starts with inclusivity. Governor Roemer reached out in a small way, but his welcoming and positive influence has impacted my life for over two decades.
 
The Together for Rockville campaign has one more project to accomplish—mailing a welcome postcard to newly registered voters. It’s a small thing, but by extending a hand to thousands of newly registered voters and including them in this election we make the Rockville community stronger.

Visit the “Join Us” page to learn how to make a difference.

Family date night at the poll. Matt’s been voting with us since he was in a baby carrier.

Why Run?

Bounce house safety check before the neighborhood kids arrive at the last East Rockville Neighborhood cookout.

On a late night walk home from the Pump House where we, the East Rockville Civic Association, had to work through some complicated issues regarding our neighborhood plan, I was really feeling the weight of it all, and questioning everything.

Bounce house safety check before the neighborhood kids arrive for the last East Rockville neighborhood cookout.

Were we doing the right thing? Was the process right and inclusive? Were we forgetting anything? Were we ensuring that the neighborhood maintained and even grew a more diverse housing stock? Were our (very few) historic and public places adequately protected? Was one of our neighborhood babies teething or did he have a cold? Did my neighbors around the corner order enough tile for their new bathroom? Did our “junior member” of ERCA get that scholarship to UPenn? I had all the worries.

Then I got to the corner about a half a block from my house and heard one of the most unmistakable sounds on the planet–one of my favorite neighbors laughing. I had to stop and smile at this deep, heart-felt sound that is so recognized and loved within our four-block radius and, as I stood there, I picked up the sound of children playing, and underlying that the low hum of adults deeply engaged with one another in conversation.

I remembered something in that moment–it’s not about the buildings, it’s about the people inside the buildings, and I don’t get up every morning looking forward to more meetings and firing off more e-mails to the City, I get up every morning because the community that the people of Rockville have built is worth working and fighting for.

By the time I walked the half a block to my house, I knew I was going to call the Mayor, who had been waiting patiently for an answer, and tell her yes, that I would run with her in the 2019 election. Everyone in Rockville deserves to have someone at City Hall who finds them inspiring, and I’m grateful for the reminder and the opportunity.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Commit to a community-based, people-centered approach to development.
  • Be better partners to our school community through creating and supporting an Education Commission that gives Rockville a stronger, unified presence within MCPS, and extends a hand to MCC.
  • Foster community through a sustained, focused effort to preserve and develop public and private “third places,” or places where all are encouraged to gather and interact.
  • Preserve and grow our green spaces and tree canopy for our connectedness and well-being.

What I’m Reading:

Butler, Stuart M, and Carmen Diaz. “‘Third Places’ as Community Builders.” Brookings, Brookings, 22 Aug. 2017, www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2016/09/14/third-places-as-community-builders/.

Jacobs, Tom, and Tom Jacobs. “Living Near Trees, Not Just Green Space, Improves Wellbeing.” CityLab, 31 July 2019, www.citylab.com/environment/2019/07/urban-tree-canopy-green-space-wellbeing-research/595060/.

Oldenburg, Ray. The Great Good Place: cafés, Coffee Shops, Bookstores, Bars, Hair Salons, and Other Hangouts at the Heart of a Community. Da Capo Press, 2005.

Recommendations for Building a New Model for Community-Centered Development, Partnership for Working Families, www.forworkingfamilies.org/resource-toolkit/recommendations-building-new-model-community-centered-development.

Gonzales, Ron. “The New York Times > College > College Specials > Mayors On Education | San José: 10 Ways A Mayor Can Help Improve Public Education”. Archive.Nytimes.Com, 2019, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/ref/college/collegespecial3/coll_opinion_gonz.html?8bl.