Here's the fifth of our BOE Candidate Focus Series.
Robert Cotto Jr., of the Working Families Party.
NAME: Robert Cotto, Jr.
AGE: 28 years old
NEIGHBORHOOD YOU LIVE IN: Frog Hollow
FAMILY: Fiancée: Viana Y. Turcios; Father: Robert Cotto, Sr. ; Mother: Anita E. Cotto(Colón)
PROFESSION: Social Studies Teacher at the Metropolitan Learning Center
YEARS IN CITY: 1981-1985, 1989, 2005 - present
After graduating from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, I came back home to Connecticut to teach high school students. This year marks my sixth year teaching in a public magnet school. Each day I come face to face with the issues and concerns of students from Hartford. Students want schools that challenge them academically, hear what they have to say, and treat them fairly. In my experience as a teacher, I have learned what is right for kids: schools with great faculty that engage parents and students.
The primary agenda item the school board should have to sustain the current reform efforts is to support and retain great classroom teachers. Our school system's modest growth is a great accomplishment for its students, parents, and teachers. Without great teachers, parents get frustrated, students learn less, and school reform does not work.
As a board member, I will support our front-line teachers by making sure that the administration fairly funds schools: magnet or local. In the face of budget cuts, we cannot sustain reform if some schools do not have appropriate numbers of staff. At the same time, I will also expect that the administration hold our principals and teachers accountable for student achievement.