2020 School Board Candidates
Comstock Park Public Schools
October 7, 2020
School District: Comstock Park Public Schools
City: Comstock Park
How long have you lived in your district?
35 years in CP (5 at WMU , 6 in Chicago)
Have you received any endorsements?
Yes , many friends and family members.
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
First and foremost , I have been asked to run for the school board for several years by the Comstock Park Community (fellow alumni , parents and staff). This is a driving factor; a feeling that Comstock Park has confidence in me to assist in leading the district.
I understand and enjoy the dynamics of school board decision making and how boards operate in general. I consider myself having an objective view on school discussions and can and will work well within the small group to assist in making very important decisions. I enjoy small group dynamics resulting in large group successes.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Educational Justice is the collective effort to end educational inequity; a level playing field providing our kids opportunity.
At Comstock Park , we need to work harder to achieve Educational Justice. This could mean pairing a 5th-8th grade student with a high-achieving high school student; for long-term academic mentorship aimed at both improving academic performance and providing a meaningful student leadership experience.
Just think , this pairing could result in a friendship beyond the classroom. It will also likely be replicated by the young student helping another.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
Our schools will be fine-tuned with stronger processes across the board. Our schools will be prepared for what pandemic may come in the future.
Think about how they’ve had to Step Up and be more responsible! Our schools will be stronger as a result of this with better administrative decision making , transparency to the community and students understanding their school cares.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
I believe our school district’s parents , students and families need to be engaged. I realize that we are all busy , but are we too busy to attend a PTO , Athletic Boosters , Band Boosters , Senior Parents or School Board Meeting? The answer is No! Honestly and sorry to be blunt , but most parents need to get off their asses and volunteer some time & talent and in the process will influence decisions.
Our kids learn through our adult behaviors. When a son or daughter see’s how engaged their parents are with the school; they too will be involved actively participating in something meaningful and also influencing decisions.
Role Model the Behavior You Want to See From Your Kids! #hugyourkids
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
1. Work to enhance our school district’s college & career readiness by providing a learning environment that increases achievement in the areas of academic , intellectual , physical and social growth. Curriculum and the resources available may need to adjust over time.
2. Growing social-emotional skills in our students which are essential to their school life and life success. We need to be committed to providing students with social-emotional learning that will assist their abilities in school , careers , and life.
3. Achieve greater success in reaching and/or exceeding our district’s educational goals. Let’s do better from year to year and keep raising the bar with stronger academic results. Standards are a basis for comparison; well , let’s not just compare but create the very best learning environment. We just need to set goals , focus and grind it out!
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
1. Provide every child the very best opportunity to succeed from early childhood to post-secondary or skilled trades.
2. Implement a high-quality instruction in every classroom state-wide where students can meet their academic and personal goals to their highest potential.
3. Somehow better engage parents/guardians and supported partners (mentors , tutors , advisors) in their child’s education.
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?
We have been experiencing the challenges this year to COVID with Hybird and Virtual Learning since the beginning of the school year. It has been extremely difficult. Our students are behind; so the biggest challenge is getting them caught up in the most effective and efficient manner possible.
We need to continue doing what we are doing to keep our students and staff safe! We are committed to the health and wellbeing of our school community with good communication , transparency and engagement.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
Our top spending priorities in my opinion should be focused on our student’s core education from k-12.
Instruction ‐ students have a qualified teacher , teachers have instructional aides , and classrooms have supplies.
Curriculum and Staff Development ‐ curriculum , training and instructional support to ensure teachers can provide students with necessary knowledge and skills.
Counseling Services ‐ counselors for testing prep , college prep , drug/alcohol abuse programs , and supporting family needs in seeking outside counseling.
School Leadership and Support – principals and administrative support staff.
I don’t necessarily have anything that “should not” be prioritized. I believe that all things are important and have a time and place in the budgeting conversation such as:
Food Services ‐ nutritious and affordable breakfast and lunch.
Transportation ‐ buses and drivers to transport students.
Facilities – to ensure students attend schools that are clean and well maintained.
Energy ‐ the school is lit during the day , heated in the winter and cooled in the summer.
Health and Safety ‐ the school nurse cares for ill students , and security measures keep staff and students safe.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
Standardized tests are required by federal law , correct? They are used to assess the educational progress of students , as well as the performance of teachers , schools and states. They also allow for comparisons between schools and student groups.
Preferably , I would like to meet with the administration of the district , key staff and stakeholders and talk through this. Possibly we can be smarter and more strategic on how we address the standardized testing policies which are not federal/state requirements.
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?
Initially I would want to meet with our district’s school board , curriculum committee and stakeholders and better learn where we are at with curriculum. To me , it seems to be a constant without much change.
I would then provide an objective approach to discuss how we may make it better with continuous improvement measures. Allowing us to stay more in tune and aligned with what our ever changing society and workforce may be dictating.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
Our district must be supportive of our students’ and staffs’ wellbeing now more than ever. With COVID , so much support is needed! Our district must have leadership continuously communicating and checking on students’ and staff! In the event we need more comprehensive support , such as with health professionals , we must utilize our network and best practices of the greater ISD.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
The number one way to prevent a need for student discipline is to ensure that parents/guardians are engaged and supported partners in their child’s education. By doing this , our schools will be a safer place for students and staff.
I stated this earlier in a question: Role Model the Behavior You Want to See From Your Kids! #hugyourkids
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
To provide great resources for students in need of special education.
If a particular student has needs that reach beyond our district’s capabilities , then we must find the student the support needed through our ISD and/or other resources available.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
Equity in education at Comstock Park would be our process of continued reform within the district.
We must continuously evaluate our practices , policies , and procedures at the school and district levels; supporting academic fairness and inclusion and ensure that every child has the resources , teachers , interventions , and support they need to be successful.
Any other information you want to include or share?
A little about me:
I am fortunate to have been born and raised in Comstock Park. I love it here! Graduating with the Class of 1992 having served in Student Leadership and as a Captain in Athletics I was raised to be a leader. Following graduation at Western Michigan University in Organizational Communication , I lived in Chicago for several years before finding my bride Darcy. We knew there was no better place to raise a family then back home in Comstock Park. We have since lived here for 15 years , raising our son Easton , a freshman at CPHS.
Serving on the Comstock Park School Board is important to me as my strength will be in an Advisory Role. I understand how boards operate , having served on the boards of Local First (focused on buying local with emphasis on Diversity , Equity and Inclusion) , Grand Rapids Police Foundation (assist community outreach efforts of the GRPD) , Salvation Army (Doing the Most Good) and my local Neighborhood Association. I have also learned so much from my father , Ed Hood , a former school board member of 12 years , who was instrumental in many important decisions , including the construction of our existing High School opening in 1991.
“As a lifelong learner – I will continue to question , learn , and grow as a school board member and member of our Comstock Park Community. I will support the district’s initiatives , ask challenging questions , and promote our district in the community with Panther Pride!”
Our district has room to grow in numbers. The Comstock Park Public School District provides high quality education , no matter the barrier , to each and every student – So let’s showcase this and grow!
My hope still is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here. – Jim Henson.