by Aavedon Roy
As a first time voter, I am proud to cast one of my votes for Dr. Eileen Jay for School Committee. I have only met Dr. Jay in person once but her work on school related issues has impacted much of my secondary schooling. I am writing specifically to highlight Dr. Jay’s commitment to student mental health understanding the impact on long term outcomes.
In Lexington, we pride ourselves on academic excellence. Instead of just talking about MCAS scores and Ivy League admissions, Dr. Jay bucked the trend focusing on mental health. She made it acceptable for multiple demographics to talk openly about mental health and stress. She has organized both parent and student discussions because all perspectives are needed. She never engaged in the reductive soft bigotry of low expectations by assuming that merely lowering academic standards would reduce stress. Rather she advocated for structures to help all students reach their own potential.
She recognized that classrooms must be truly inclusive and that anything less impacts mental health and academic results. That’s why she has been a strong proponent of universal design learning (UDL), decolonizing the curriculum, robust health education, confronting discipline disparity, DEI goals and generally increasing access to mental health supports in school. Even her unpopular position for elementary school HW was about supporting student mental health because she recognized that a sudden ramp up in work can be very stressful for students with executive function challenges.
She gets that if ALL students are not affirmed and supported then there will be continued discipline, mental health and achievement gaps and that these are not disparate issues but all tied together. I hope that she will continue this advocacy because it’s not just about the GPA. Learn more at https://jayforschoolcommittee.com/2022.
— Aavedon Roy, Bertwell Road