My name is Jack Kavanaugh and I'm running for an at-large seat on the Buffalo School Board. I have spent my life in Buffalo, and have been involved in youth leadership programs since I was a youth myself. I am not a licensed social worker with fifteen years of experience in youth development with a professional education from the University at Buffalo. my entire personal and professional life has been consistently centered around advocating for young people. As the Buffalo Public Schools work to promote equity across the schools, and for all students, I believe we need the voice of an experienced youth advocate at the table.
Participation is Equity
Promoting equity across schools, and for all students, means creating access for students to be engaged in the decision making process in their schools. As it stands, the Board and the District office have no direct accountability to the students they serve. I will implement a system in which the Board and students negotiate their own "contract to allow students to begin to hold the Board of Education Accountable.
Today’s Students Are Tomorrow’s Parents
I believe the students of our schools are stakeholders and deserve to be treated as equal voices alongside parents, educators and the Board. To raise the engaged parents of tomorrow, we need to disrupt the cycle of traumatic and negative relationships that students have with their schools. If we want to have engaged families in 20 years, we need to show them now that their voices matter and are heard. I will work to elevate youth voices and make them heard through policy that allows student groups across schools to organize beyond Inter-High Student Council.
Restorative & Trauma Informed Practices
As a licensed professional social worker, I have seen the impact that proper restorative and trauma-informed practices can have on youth. However, these practices are not just easy solutions that we can layer on top of existing protocols and policies. These practices require structural changes in the way schools handle conflict and student behavior. I will use my experience as a social worker to help the district better implement these practices, including eliminating out-of-school suspensions and other counterproductive disciplinary protocols.
And more than anything else, I believe that
Students are Equal Stakeholders Who Deserve a Seat at the Table.
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Barbra A Kavanaugh endorsed
“I am endorsing Jack because I know he is deeply committed to Buffalo and creating opportunities for Buffalo's young people”