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    2020 School Board Candidates

    Cheboygan Area Schools

October 14, 2020

Melissa J. Evans

Pronouns: she/her
School District:Cheboygan Area Schools
City: Cheboygan

How long have you lived in your district?

17 years

Have you received any endorsements?

no

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to help the children in Cheboygan Area Schools more successful in their life endeavors.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

I want all kids to have the chance to learn creatively, and explore any and all avenues to help them in becoming successful in their dreams.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

Schools need to be a safe zone for those who enter the hallways. They need to be comprised of a more positive place for students and staff alike. In order for this to happen, I feel that students, staff, administration , community and families all need to have a part in the schools rules, regulations and all other aspects that govern a school system so everyone can work towards a positive experience for anyone entering a given schools campus.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

I think all the various groups should have input in making decisions regarding the school district. How can a school district serve the students, families and parents if they have no serious input into the continued effectiveness of the school district.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

My husband and myself.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

Safety first
All inclusive system: community, families, students, faculty, administration, etc.
A system where all students can learn to function successfully in the world after graduation, regardless of any issues he/she may have.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

On the state level, the main goals should be:
1) Changing the current school structure to a more hands on learning, and changing to a system that could accommodate those students who aren’t planning on attending college by providing a variety of Vocational Education classes.
2) Making provisions for those students who plan on attending college to work with local business people to investigate where their interests lie so they can choose a course of study in college that best suits them.
3) Less standardized testing.

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

There are many challenges to this school year, as there are any year. The biggest challenge this year will be keeping everyone COVID free. I feel the best way to do this is to keep a close monitor on symptoms and taking the needed steps to help keep everyone healthy. The best way to do this is to wear masks and to disinfect whenever possible. Of course the majority of this action will be on the shoulders of the custodial staff, but maybe having the students help by keeping their desks and other items they use on a daily basis disinfected themselves.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

Safety should be the biggest budget priority. Not only in relation to COVID, but in all other aspects of safety as well.
Another spending priority is for the best tools available to successfully teach the students.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

I feel there is too much weight placed on these tests. There is also too much testing throughout the school year and not enough time for the kids to learn the essentials they need to develop successfully.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

I would like to see the district implement more vocational educational for all students so they can learn some trade to help them when the graduate from high school. All students should be given the opportunity to explore as many voc. ed. avenues from a young age (grade 4-5) so they can develop their interests fully. Then we as parents, educators. students and community members need to work together so the students can be successful in their post secondary education and work endeavors.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

This is a key factor in how well a school system can thrive. If a school district doesn’t support the student and staff in promoting mental and emotional well-being then there is a good chance there could be dire consequences as a result.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

There needs to be a multi-tiered discipline structure that needs to be followed regardless of the person being disciplined. There also should be some involvement on the student body part when developing a discipline structure. This will ultimately give the student body the feeling of helping keep the school safe for everyone as they enter any school building within the district.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

We need to help those with special needs reach for and catch their dreams, just as we try to do with all other students in a given school.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

Equity for all is what all school districts need to work toward.

Any other information you want to include or share?

October 4, 2020

Julie Lohela

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictCheboygan Area Schools
City:Cheboygan

How long have you lived in your district?

30 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Not as of today. I am seeking endorsements from the CAEA.

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I feel my knowledge of the educational system will be an asset to the Cheboygan Area School Board. I retired from Cheboygan Area Schools in 2019 and feel I still have a lot to give. The growth of our community is largely dependent on the success of our school system. I believe I can be a positive voice than will help not only our students succeed but also our community.

What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?

All students and staff treated respectfully and provided the a high quality education without prejudices. In Cheboygan Area Schools all students are offered a choice of pathways that fit their needs. There are a many academic pathways that they can choose including vocational.

If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?

Schools would continue to offer both an online and in person education. Students, along with the guidance of parents, would be in charge of the educational pathway that best suits their needs.

Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?

Students, parents and families should have a clear vision of academic, social, and emotional opportunities that are available. When implementing new programs the needs of the district must be taken in to consideration. This could be accomplished through committees that include all stake holders. There needs to be transparency with all areas of education including financial.

Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?

Myself

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?

During this trying time it is more important then ever that the first priority be social and emotional health. Students and staff need to be in a safe and nurturing environment through social and emotional supports. All students, staff and administration should be treated with respect. The delivery system to meet educational goals must be fluid as all students learn in different ways. Curriculum needs to be examined to be sure it is high quality and rigorous.

What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?

Keeping students and staff safe.
Providing social and emotional supports.
Providing a high quality rigorous curriculum.

What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?

The challenges will be financial. It is important to keep students and staff safe while providing an environment that considers the social, emotional, and educational aspects.

What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?

This year with COVID it needs to be the safety of our students and staff first. Next the social and emotional needs of the students and staff need to be met. Cheboygan Area Schools has a high quality curriculum in place and the avenue to deliver the curriculum should also be a priority.

What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?

Standardized test should be used to guide curriculum development. They should also be used as a tool to help guide students educational needs.

If you could have an impact on your school district’s curriculum , what changes would you make? What, if anything, would you keep the same?

Consistency between the grade level so that each school year can build upon the previous year. Input from all stake holders when making decisions about curriculum changes. Decisions made with data that provides evidence of success.

What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?

The mental and emotional health/wellbeing is the most important aspect of a successful educational experience. It is impossible for a student to learn to their fullest extent with out effective supports in place.

How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?

Discipline should be handled in a way that is rehabilitative not punitive. One example of this is restorative justice.

What are your top priorities around special education in your district?

All students are entitled to an education that provides support for mental and emotional health/well being along with a high quality curriculum that meets their needs.

What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?

Equality within a school district is a high priority. All students should be offered the same opportunities.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I have worked for Cheboygan Area Schools for 28 years as an elementary teacher. I have a masters degree in Elementary Education. The experience I gained throughout my career in curriculum development, school finance, restorative justice, child development along with the importance of climate and culture within a school system will provide me with the knowledge needed to perform the duties of a school board member.