The new Boston Public Schools superintendent has been on the job for two months now.
Mary Skipper is the city's sixth super intendent in the last 10 years, but as she told NBC10 Boston's Jeff Saperstone, she plans to be in the position for the long haul.
“I want to be here as long as BPS, Boston wants me to be here," she said. "I live in the city, I’ve been here over 25 years, I’ve raised a family here with my husband and so this is our community.”
"What I’m attempting to do for the team is first build a really talented diverse team that really represents our district, our community, our students and with that team, to really build on and recognize the strengths of the district already, the strengths of our city,” she added.
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Skipper spoke about staffing challenges the district is facing -- noting urban areas across the country are facing similar challenges.
"We entered the year around, with our teacher corps about 180 teachers across the system. We go back and forth on that number. Sometimes it’s lower, sometimes it’s about that. And we continue to try to hire. We're also doing a lot of development work in this area... we want to create a pipeline."
The superintendent also addressed whether or not she thinks police should be brought back into schools, or if schools should use metal detectors.
“I think in terms of the schools themselves, we have a really good safety unit," she said. "Chief [Neva] Coakley is the head of that. They have done a lot of work with training our safety officers who are stationed throughout schools. We also have within our school system, a certain number of BPD who work closely with Chief Coakley. We are really investing and deepening in that. These safety officers are trained specifically in working with youth. The idea is de-escalation and trauma response, in addition to the social workers that are there."
"In terms of the metal detectors, we have a process that school communities can have that conversation," she added. "We have a certain number of schools that already have metal detectors in them."
Looking to the future, Skipper painted a picture of what she sees in five years for Boston Public Schools.
“I see this being a district in five years where our school buildings...are really mirroring what the expectations of the community are. What they hope for for their children, what we would want for our children," she said. "State-of-the-art facilities, facilities that are going to be able to support the type of academic programming and opportunities that we want for our students so that equity in education is a reality and not just words.”
Skipper also shared her six priorities to get back to basics, including rigorous academics, social and emotional support, school safety, strengthening communications, authentic family engagement, and accountability.