Stand Massachusetts has a dedicated group of concerned citizens who want to ensure that all children have access to, and are prepared for college, no matter what their ZIP code or income level is. We want to recognize these amazing members and leaders in a new Members in Action series, beginning with Ursula Allston-Hill from Roxbury.
Ursula is a Stand Member Leader on the Dorchester/Mattapan team, and also serves on the Policy Committee at the Orchard Garden K-8 School where her daughter, Kyrah, currently attends a K2 program.
Ursula first became involved with Stand in April 2014, when she and her husband Dana attended and graduated from Stand University for Parents. Stand UP is our premier parent engagement training. Following graduation from the program, Ursula joined Stand as a Member Leader, aiming to gain further tools and skills to become an active advocate for a public education that puts her daughter, and all children across Boston, on the path to college and career success.
This year, Ursula has been collecting ‘I’m in for Pre-K’ petition cards from residents in the metro Boston area. These cards demonstrate to legislators the need and desire for expanded access for 3- and 4-year-olds to publicly funded Pre-K programs in Massachusetts’ low-income areas. Ursula also attended Stand’s annual Member Summit to strategize with members from across the Commonwealth on how to best educate community members on the importance of early education.
Most recently, Ursula testified before the Foundation Budget Review Committee, asking the committee to review and update the Chapter 70 funding formula, which provides state aid to public elementary and secondary schools and establishes minimum spending requirements for each school district, this formula has not been updated since 1993. She shared her experiences related to her daughter’s school, which has lost targeted state and federal grants, and which she fears could lead to the loss of programs that foster Kyrah’s love of education.
Ursula is particularly passionate about expanding access to Pre-K programs, school autonomy, and Chapter 70 reform. She is a strong leader for our efforts, and we are fortunate to work with her in advocating for a high-quality education for all Massachusetts children.