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    2020 School Board Candidates

    Clintondale Community Schools

October 4, 2020

Jeremy W. Schnaidt

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictClintondale Community Schools
City:Clinton Township

How long have you lived in your district?

5 years recently. Moved to clarkston for two years and then went to college. Came back after that. So almost my entire life.

Have you received any endorsements?

MEA, CEA, AFSCME

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Our district is a mess. I have the ability and time to help. I want to impress upon my son that it is important to help your community. I want to be able to influence what I think should be taught in schools. I want to uplift our community.

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

Education justice to me is giving the students the ability & means to succeed in life, not just grades to get in to college. College is not a realistic choice for everyone, especially in our lower income district. Education justice is also teaching practical life lessons and experiences.

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

I wouldn’t change anything. As good as virtual learning COULD be kids need to be with each other. Social skills and learning to deal with conflict is extremely important in their development, in my opinion.

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

I think everyone should be involved. In my experience the more a parent is involved the better the child does in school. It creates a sense of pride within the community and bonds its citizens together. I have boosted our PTO participation in recent years and because of this the school has done better and has had better ideas moving forward.

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

MEA & CEA

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

Trades, budget/finance, health

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

Same

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?

I would say testing but that seems to be pretty inaccurate depending on who you speak with. This is such a tough question only because the message changes every day. There seems to be no consistency. How can we create an effective plan if we cannot even get accurate tests or understand how the disease actually spreads. Even if schools are shut down the majority of the community is pretty active. Who’s to say they cannot get sick outside of school. I went to Blake’s Cider Mill and there was probably a thousand people there all jam packed together… If we cannot get buy-in from everyone we are essentially spinning our tires. At the end of the day common sense and good health practices must prevail. And I am not just talking about washing our hands. I am talking about eating the correct way, exercising, and taking care of our bodies so we can effectively fight back against all disease and viruses.

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

Our infrastructure seems to pretty good. Our tech may be lacking a little which is important as we continue to be more online. Getting our budget straight is top priority. After that we can look at the trades programs and internships.

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

I don’t have a strong stance on this topic just yet. I understand both sides of the argument though.

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?

Our health and our habits are so poor. It has a huge impact on our economy and our own pockets. I want to make sure that we are educating proper nutrition and cooking skills. You don’t have to be a professional chef to cook quick, tasty, and healthy meals. I also want to incorporate budgeting and finance. Something along the lines of a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University. Credit has so much influence on what we are able to do and achieve in life, if our kids cannot experience it or understand it they will struggle to keep up and get ahead their entire lives.

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

Mental health is very important. Anything they can do to help I believe is necessary.

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

Programs like “Watch DOGS” I believe is a great deterrent towards bad behavior in school. However, parenting and teaching responsibility is something that needs to be taught at home, then supplemented at school. We cannot expect teachers and the district to do everything. Figuring out a way to get more parent involvement into the schools will help create accountability and will put more pressure on parents to enforce rules and behaviors.

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

I have had very limited experience with special ed. However, a good friend of mine is a spec ed teacher and I look forward to speaking with her and learning much more about their needs.

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

I am unsure how to answer this question. Of course we want to be fair. Sometimes however, what may be best for the district is not always fair. The only way this works is if we are in this together. Sometimes sacrifices must be made and they should NEVER be forgotten. Communication is extremely important in anything we do. If we communicate properly so that everyone, from the top to the bottom, understands the goal and path we can achieve anything!

Any other information you want to include or share?

I may be a little raw when it comes to schools and their relationship with the state however my passion, ability to adapt/learn quickly, and dedication will surely put our district on the map for all the right reasons. Thank you.

October 4, 2020

Annika Christiani

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictClintondale Community Schools
City:Clinton Township

How long have you lived in your district?

about 11 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Clintondale Education Association, Michigan Education Association, Association of Federal, State and Municipal Employees We appreciate your consideration

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I was a Clintondale student and even then there was change I wanted. When I was counteracted by an old teacher asking for help and found out that most after school programs where taken from our students that is where i drew my line.

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

Education justice mean that all our students get the high quality education they deserve, regardless of race, gender, disability, socioeconomic status, or anything else. For our district that is ensuring all our students have access to the resources they need to succeed.

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

I believe ensuring smaller class sizes and more accessibility for online work are two major ways schools should better them selves after this. Not only do these help during a health crisis but also help the students by giving them better access to their teachers and more ways to access education.

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

I think everyone who can be involved should be. I believe our community should know whats going on and feel safe and empowered to get involved. whether it just be addressing the board or something greater.

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

Most of my funding comes less from money but more from donated resources. I work closely with CEA who help with finding and sharing those resources with my slate members on the “Clintondale Winning Ticket”

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

Bring back after school programming, provide our students with more resources, and help build a more involved community.

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

Though I have little power with the state I believe that schools should not be funded through property taxes as it causes poor committees to suffer, ensure our state required curriculum has all the information our students need and should know, and for the state to pay more attention to schools in need.

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?

Our district has in person and online availability for students which is amazing because some students may not be able to stay home. However with some in person classes comes risk of spread which is why we need to ensure cleaning staff is able to regularly clean each room, ensure our students who may not be able to afford PPE have access to it, ensure our teacher have access to cleaning supplies and PPE, and so much more.

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

Student resources should always be first and for-most then ensuring our staffs needs (as a great staff leads to a great education). Something I feel should be less in the for front are administrative wants, the student should be everyone top priority and administrative staff should feel that way as well and always prioritize student needs over administrative wants.

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

Though standardized tests have their useful qualities i feel they do not do enough to warrant how commonly they are used. I believe projects that test the student skills and give them a chance to make their education their own is a much better method for testing. Though I understand we can’t get rid of standardized tests all together (at least not any time soon) I believe implementing more project based testing that let the students express themselves through education should be implemented more often.

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 believe we need more life skills classes. Parents in modern america often work a lot and don’t have the time to teach many life skills and that is something I feel our school could help with. Giving students the tools they need to move on and be our worlds future is the job of education. As for keeping things the same I believe that our teachers passion is what makes the curriculum. The classes content is not what stick in students minds, the teachers method of teach is what sticks. Read a book and take a test doesn’t stay but read a book, watch a show, play games, and then make a website about it makes the information stick far better. So many of Clintondale’s teachers have been trying new ways to help students learn and that is the best part of Cinondale’s curriculum

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

I believe that if our students and staffs mental and emotional health needs are not met they can not do there best. As school and a community we should be doing all we can to ensure these are met and everyone can be their best self. Not just for school but for life.

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

Even student who cause problems deserve education and I believe our discipline should NEVER get in the way of education. So if a student is unsafe to have in a class room environment they should be removed however they still need access to their work, teacher help, and any other resource needed. Also if someone has a tendency to cause problems don’t JUST punish them, try to figure out why they act out, and then try to help. They may have other issues causing their behavior that could be fixed.

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

Students with disabilities all have different needs which need to be addressed accordingly. I am friends with a lot of disabled people and they have told me horror stories from every kind of school, rich to poor, privet to public, about why often disabled students are lumped together and there needs are ignored. I don’t want a single Clintondale graduate to have story like that. I want them leaving saying that Clintondale gave them all the resources they needed without any hassle.

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

Every student has different needs and wants form there education, I believe it is the school job to do everything in there power to help them blossom into amazing adults. For some students it is more one on one time with the teacher. For others it is after school programs. For yet more students it is special resources. For students that are like me it’s creative outlets. And on and on it goes. We need diverse resources for our diverse students. Instead of fitting kids into a molds we should be planting a garden and helping it flourish.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I loved clintondale while i was a student there and now I hope I can help even more students love our school.

October 4, 2020

Kary A. Davidson

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictClintondale Community Schools
City:Clinton Township

How long have you lived in your district?

17 Years

Have you received any endorsements?

AFSCME Council 25; Mark Titus (Former Clintondale Board Member), Michael Scott & Jason Davidson (Current Clintondale Board Members)

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

My experience of having worked with children for over 13 years and the Early Childhood Development courses that I have completed have provided me with a foundation of compassion and understanding of what children need, not only for education, but with emotional support in a safe and supportive environment.

I understand the importance of a quality education and will be giving my all for the students to provide them with the best education possible in a safe & supportive environment so they can become successful adults. The focus must remain on the students – every decision has to be weighed not only financial and legal constraints, but on what is the impact on the students.

We need to restore professionalism, transparency, accountability, policy/legal compliance, and fiscal responsibility. I have witnessed too many violations of basic leadership and compliance on this board and it is damaging the district. To help bring about real change, clean up remaining issues, restore integrity, and ensure that the programs and policies being implemented are being done for the right reason without influence from those with personal agendas, the next Superintendent must be from outside of the district to provide a new, clear direction forward (currently the district has an interim superintendent).

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

I view education justice as an opportunity to address the unequal access to quality and complete education in our public schools. As Clintondale has a high at-risk population, as well as a higher than average special education population, this issue is very present within our buildings. I am proud of our previous Superintendent that recognized this issue and built a new means to reaching those students with the Flipped High School.

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

I envision an environment of an open space concept, spacious classrooms, and the ability to customize a curriculum for a student based upon their individual needs and abilities. We have the technology & tools to make this happen, but we need the team and leadership to get it done.

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

As an elected member of the board of education, I am here to serve and represent the community, to be their voice, and to weigh all available information, facts, concerns, and questions when making a decision at the board table. That being said, I want the public to be involved – this is their community.

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

Self-Funded

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

The most pressing issue facing all schools right now is Covid-19 and how to safely operate schools while providing the best education possible to students remotely and in-person to ensure that we provide accountability for the curriculum, attendance, and academic gains.

Secondly, adequate funding remains an ongoing issue which has a direct impact on hiring quality staff, building maintenance & operations, safety, and curriculum programs. I would focus on the budget to evaluate purchase request prior to approval, and utilize the system acquired that provides an assessment of curriculum programs compared to the cost of the program.

Third priority is ethics reform as there has been issues lately and it is time to finally approve an ethics policy that has been delayed by some members of the board. At the same time, I would address the need to continuously review and update policies.

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

1 – Equity and Equality in Funding
2 – Return of Career Prep Education
3 – Support for At-Risk Students

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?

Aside from the safety/health concerns for those within the building, which the Operations Department is handling exceptionally well with smaller class sizes, sanitizing classrooms and commons areas regularly, increasing the fresh air flow, and PPE, we face a challenge with those students that need additional support, but are attending school remotely. The district may need to hire additional support staff to work remotely one-on-one with those students in between classes.

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

Curriculum delivery must remain a top priority, including staff costs. However, the district facilities must remain a top priority as well to keep them safe, up-to-date, and in good working order so that the district doesn’t need to take on additional debt.

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

Standardized tests need to serve as a measurement of growth and status, not as as punishment for students or staff.

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 bring back more career technical education opportunities for students. College is not the only pathway for students to take in order to have a successful career, and too much emphasis has been placed on sending students to college or being “college-ready”. This has shifted focus away from Career Tech Programs that provided students with a foundation for very rewarding and good-paying jobs such as electricians, plumbers, construction trades, automotive, and more. I would advocate for additional partnerships with other entities to expand the opportunity for students to participate in career prep programs, similar to what is offered through the Bricklayers Union.

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

Counselors are a very valuable part of a school environment and with the issues of the world, students are feeling more pressure than every before and if we can’t help their emotional/mental wellbeing, they will struggle in education. Aside from counselors, the district has a relationship with CARE to provide additional support to students that are in the greatest need.

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

The district began using Restorative Justice a number of years ago, and this has been extremely valuable in reducing student suspensions/expulsions, reducing conflict, and reducing repeated issues. I want to increase the focus on mediation/mentor programs to increase our ability to address the core issue of student discipline issues, increase safety, and ultimately support the students by keeping them in the classroom.

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

Recognizing that not all students learn the same, or have the same capacity to learn, it is critically important that we have a well-staffed special services department with highly qualified, certified and experience individuals that can evaluate students, provide resources, support, and individualized educational paths for those students that need it based upon their disability.

With a mix of in-person education and remote learning, the priority this year needs to shift to ensure that all students are receiving the services that they need, even if they are participating in remote learning.

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

Every student should have the same opportunity to learn in a safe and supportive environment, and I will work towards with every decision I make as a board member.

Any other information you want to include or share?