NIDHI SATIANI for UA BOARD OF EDUCATION
every bear forward
FOR UA SCHOOLS
every bear forward
As our Upper Arlington School Board member, Nidhi Satiani will be driven by her experience as a public health professional, healthcare provider, and engaged parent, seamlessly combining science with community values and educational priorities. She will actively seek to understand the diverse needs of our students and their families and to continuously assess the effectiveness of implemented policies. As a parent and nurturer, Nidhi is asking hard questions to understand systemic challenges. Once elected, she is committed to creating sustainable solutions that will lay a strong foundation to a more supportive and equitable education system in Upper Arlington.
As a leader in our community, Nidhi Satiani has already called for broader thinking, strategic leveraging of our deep resources, and implementation of solutions that build future capacity. Emerging from COVID-19 is an opportunity to co-create the resilience and antifragility that can carry us through any future, unprecedented challenges. Nidhi believes the way forward is to follow a continuous improvement methodology that implements evidence-informed practices in an inclusive culture of wellness. These ideas are not merely compatible with our legacy, our legacy calls for them.
Focused on UA’s reputation
In Upper Arlington, we strive for excellence. No one moves forward by standing still. We used to be a district known for our innovation, and while we’ve started the journey to reclaim our mantle of excellence, Nidhi is determined to accelerate it and see it through.
Innovation and Creativity
Nidhi is working to understand the real and perceived barriers to innovation in order to drive toward strategic answers. We cannot expect progress if we do things the way we have always done them; we can be more creative and innovative. This will come from new connections, associations, and relationships between established ideas.1 A philomath and a lifetime member of the Columbus Metropolitan Club, Nidhi enjoys spending time learning about different industries and having conversations with people deeply entrenched in them. Using her identified strength of connectedness,2 she will build relationships with other districts and national organizations to understand best practices and bridge them with ideas in other industries. This will allow our policies to be more innovative and effective; Nidhi will work to create the courageous culture that supports this.
Nidhi will advocate for an expansion of our data and accountability team into a "strategic analytics and insights" team that looks beyond STAR tests. We can unconditionally love our children for who they are and simultaneously want them to grow. As a district, we can appreciate our strengths and find ways to improve. How effective are the policies we implement? Why do families choose to switch schools within our district? Why do they leave our district? How is our discipline policy related to teaching and learning? Without clearly defined baselines and goals, the district cannot answer these questions. Broadening the scope of this team and giving due consideration to an equity audit will allow us to more clearly identify when our schools excel and where we need focused attention.
Let’s keep our eye on the ball
Upper Arlington is working to balance our treasured legacy with necessary change for the future. When crafting the plan to move forward, there are important questions to ask.
What makes an Upper Arlington graduate Uniquely Accomplished? What is our North Star? If we cannot define it, we will not get there. We are fortunate to live in a community whose residents are thoughtful, passionate, and have levels of expertise, in nearly every field, that are uncommon in other places. Nidhi will advocate for seeking input from these experts to help craft a collective vision for our students.3 The pandemic has shone a light on how we define success and presents an opportunity to redirect the ship. We have the devices that allow us to personalize education. How do we maximize the benefit of this resource? Are there elements of alternate educational philosophies, like mastery-based learning, that we can incorporate into our curriculum to identify and fix any deficits attributable to the pandemic? How can these elements build future capacity?
Nidhi's vision for our district includes each and every student being able to access and take advantage of all the opportunities provided by our district. A student and their family should not have to "know who to call" to solve a problem. A student’s progress should not be hindered because adults in the home are not readily available for daytime meetings. A student should not have to fit in a certain category to be a priority for the district. Too many students have experienced exclusion - whether it is because they selected the online academy, because of personal traits like gender or race, because of other challenges like mental health struggles or atypical neurological or physical development, or because of intentional exclusion as a result of disciplinary practices. This exclusion limits the opportunities available to them. Nidhi will advocate for the creation of a Parent Advocate position, modeled after the Patient Advocate positions in hospitals - a person who is familiar with how the schools work, that parents can partner with when going through a challenge.
Bridging Divides to Work Together
Nidhi knows that divisive politics are hurting our children and will work to bridge divides. She knows we won’t agree on everything, but we can agree that every UA child deserves the best education we can provide. Nidhi’s plan is to give the people of UA more opportunities to voice concerns and ideas so everyone is part of the process.
Nidhi will host regular community listening sessions and seek opportunities for deliberative dialogue. These will be opportunities to co-create strategies and solutions, going beyond consensus-building exercises and surveys. She will proactively work to include all voices, making the "UA way" an amalgamation of modern day best-practices and deeply held values. Nidhi will also advocate for the creation of an "open mic" feedback loop that is accessible to all members of our community. Anyone who has ideas on how we should do things differently or has thoughts on which policies no longer enable growth, should be able to share them.
(1) Andreasen, N., 2014. Secrets of the Creative Brain. [online] The Atlantic. Available at: <https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/07/secrets-of-the-creative-brain/372299/?utm_campaign=brainfood&utm_medium=email&utm_source=farnamstreet.org> [Accessed 19 Jan 2021].
(2) Gallup (2018). CliftonStrengths Assessment. Gallup. [Completed 23 Dec 2020].
(3) “A First Step in Transforming Your School System.” Portrait of a Graduate, portraitofagraduate.org/ [Accessed 17 Aug 2020]