My Goal in Blogging

I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

All Invited to Join ACE

Given the discussion that has occurred on my blog involving what ACE is, and what ACE is NOT, I thought it would be useful to post this letter which appeared in today's Amherst Bulletin from the ACE Executive Board. Although I'm actually just an ex-officio member of the board now (given my service on School Committee), I'm certainly glad to answer questions about ACE through my blog OR though private email (

To the Bulletin: We invite all interested residents of Amherst, Leverett, Pelham and Shutesbury to join the newly reconfigured Amherst Committee for Excellence.

The Amherst Committee for Excellence believes that the Amherst Regional Public Schools should intellectually engage and support every child. We believe that the schools should set high expectations for all students to achieve academic success and become life-long learners. We support evidence-based decision-making for, and rigorous evaluation of, all programs, policies and curricula in our schools.

Our key strategies include increasing transparency in the development and assessment of school policy, curricula and programs and advocating for increased participation of the community in setting academic standards and expectations.

ACE has been reconfigured from the original petition group founded by Steve Rivkin and Catherine Sanderson. An advisory board of eight individuals with diverse backgrounds will now guide the organization's activities. Steve and Catherine will continue to participate as ex officio non-voting members of the advisory board. ᅠWe are compiling specific priorities for next year and invite all members to participate in the process. Members also receive email updates on events, issues and activities relevant to academics in the Amherst Regional Public Schools.

For more information on specific strategies and priorities, and a list of our current members, see our Web site at

Join on the site, or by sending an email to:

The ACE Advisory Board

David Berkman
Claudia Donald
Yaniris Fernandez
Lise Halpern
Steve Rivkin, ex officio
Julia Rueschemeyer
Catherine Sanderson, ex officio
Peter Siegelman
Rob Spence
Dan Viederman


Anonymous said...

I am just curious as to what ACE will do? Advisory to who? How will things go from ACE to the schools? Through you and Steve to the School Committee?


Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My response:

Anonymous 2:25 - Steve and I, since being on SC, aren't going to be involved in the leadership of ACE anymore. I anticipate that the board of ACE (8 people) will elicit priorities from all ACE members, select a few priorities to focus on for a given year, and write a letter summarizing those priorities to the SC and the Superintendent (and perhaps ask whether those priorities could be addressed by the committee/district/superintendent). Steve and I would have the option of supporting, or not supporting, those priorities, just as would any member of the SC.

Curious said...

Just curious if more ACE members will be running for School Committee?

Catherine A. Sanderson said...

My response:

Anonymous 6:10 - well, the last three members elected in Amherst (me in 2007, Irv and Steve in 2008) were all ACE signers. However, ACE does NOT run candidates, nor does ACE endorse candidates. But of course anyone who signs ACE is free to run for SC, and I would imagine that some of those who signed ACE care passionately about the schools, and hence could well be interested in serving in this way. I guess we will find out in early 2010!