Vote Sally Cragin
Fitchburg School Committee
Sentinel 070707
Cragin running for school committee
Sentinel & Enterprise (Fitchburg, MA) Date: July 7, 2007
FITCHBURG -- Sally Cragin said she is an advocate for the arts, and will always work to keep art in schools, but also knows art instruction must be balanced with math, language arts and science.
"I know lots of kids in Fitchburg discover who they are through the arts," said Cragin, 46, who is running for School Committee this fall. "I will always speak up for the arts."

This doesn't have to be at the expense of other subjects, said Cragin, adding that teachers can teach other subjects through the arts.

"But it is not the position of the School Committee to set curriculum, and I am very aware of that," she said during an interview Friday.

She said she was glad to see the middle schools kept one instrumental music teacher for this fall, after the superintendent's original budget called for cutting the position.

Cragin is a freelance arts and lifestyle writer for the Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix and other publications, and is also the director of media relations at the Fitchburg Art Museum.

The Lunenburg native -- whose mother taught in Fitchburg for many years -- said her reporting experience would make her an inquisitive School Committee member.

"I could use the skills in 25 years of professional writing, which is asking questions, asking follow-up questions and consulting multiple sources," she said.
She holds a bachelor's degree in humanities from Harvard Extension School, and has taught writing there, as well as at Webster University in St. Louis. She's also taught in art museums and in the 21st Century Program after-school at Reingold Elementary School.

She hopes that as a School Committee member, she could "advocate for long-term solutions" to challenges facing Fitchburg schools.

Cragin, the mother of a four-year-old, said being a mother makes her realize that students need to be nurtured.

She said she's concerned that too many classrooms are lacking textbooks, and that the city's school buildings are not well-enough maintained.

"We have historic buildings," Cragin said. "We have to commit to regular maintenance."

She will also work to increase parental involvement, and is concerned about the student-teacher ratio, which will go up by two to three students this fall, as a result of layoffs that just took place.

"Our school budget is one-half of our city budget," she said. "The city's main industry is an educated student. We need to do the very best we can and I people in the system are working very hard to ensure that is the case. I want support their efforts."
(c) 2007 Sentinel & Enterprise. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
Author: Alexandra Perloe

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