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    2020 School Board Candidates

    Dearborn Public Schools

October 4, 2020

Sharifah Galab

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictDearborn Public Schools
City:Dearborn

How long have you lived in your district?

22 Years

Have you received any endorsements?

Endorsement requests have been submitted to various organizations and officials. Still waiting on responses.

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I am running to ensure a quality education for all our children. I want to use my well-rounded education and diverse work experience with children to serve the Dearborn School District. The opportunities I was given at Dearborn public schools and Henry Ford College inspired me to commit to giving our children even better opportunities.

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

Education justice means that we treat every child in our schools the same way regardless of his or her religious, ethnic, or racial backgrounds. It also means providing education based on the actual needs of the students.

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

Many aspects of our lives are changing through this crisis, including the way instruction is being dispensed at our schools. The most noticeable change is the introduction of online teaching at all levels of the K-12 classes. Remote teaching will most likely remain around for some students and will be used by schools to alleviate overcrowding and eliminate some problems created by students’ interaction (e.g. bullying). Another change will be the extent and depth of cleaning our schools.

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

Open dialogue among parents, teachers, and students is key to incorporating different ideas before deciding what works best for the schools when faced with major decisions. Mixed committees that include parents, staff, administrators, and other stakeholders are very helpful to ensure an open and fruitful exchange of ideas.

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

My campaign donations come from various individuals and organizations.

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

Overcrowding, the need to upgrade many facilities, and, above all, ensuring safe schools are the most pressing issues at Dearborn Public Schools. We also need to invest in our infrastructure and make sure it is adaptable to non-traditional learning methods, such as the current situation with COVID. Budget issues will always be the utmost concern especially when state funding is at risk. We need to reexamine all programs in light of recent changes to continuously ensure quality education and parental involvement regardless of the method of delivery, in person or online.

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

N/A

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 challenge is how to provide instruction while keeping the students (and parents) and staff safe. The Dearborn Schools District’s response to COVID so far has been adequate. First, schools were closed last spring at the beginning of the crisis and students were given assignments at home. For this school year, the district implemented an online program to be reviewed and reassessed as the situation with COVID-19 evolves. The District needs to continue monitoring the situation and adapt as needed. To assess the situation, the number of positive cases in the community should continue to be looked at in relation to the number of tests performed. The district should also use information provided by the state and the CDC as well as opinions of medical professionals when making safety related decisions.

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

Funding of all public schools in our state is below adequate levels. School districts should limit spending to essential items. One of the largest budget item is the cost of personnel and the schools should provide enough funds to retain the best professionals in the district. Another essential item is maintenance costs. If schools do not spend on facilities maintenance today, the cost may be much higher in the future. Non-essential items and pet projects should not be prioritized during tight budget times.

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

Standardized tests should be only one tool among other tools to measure students’ achievement and progress. They should be used along other means of evaluation without giving them an overstated weight or importance.

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?

If elected to the Board of Education, I will review the curriculum on a periodic basis and discuss it with my colleagues and the administration to makes changes as needed.

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

Dearborn schools already provide good mental health support for its students in comparison to other districts. However, it is almost never possible to have enough resources to address all the mental health needs of the students. Funding and needs change all the time. Continuous improvement is always needed. Teachers should be better trained to assess each situation because most students with mental health issues will not ask for help. Teachers need to be able to spot kids who need assistance.

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

Students’ discipline should not be the sole responsibility of the schools, it should start at home. Raising and disciplining a child should be a joint project between the schools and the parents. Open communication is key to maintaining safety at our schools while raising good members of society.

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

Dearborn Schools currently provide the necessary services to meet the needs of children with special needs. However, improvements can always be achieved especially if additional funding is provided. Further, parents need to be more involved with the staff to better assess the children’s needs. As in all areas, communication is key to keeping the best interest of the children ahead of other concerns.

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

Equity is achieved when everyone is treated with the same respect and when all schools within the district are provided with the same instructional means and a highly competent staff. Students and staff should continuously be made aware that everyone deserves a chance at a good education regardless of his or her race, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic level.

Any other information you want to include or share?

N/A

October 4, 2020

Latanya Gater

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictDearborn Public Schools
City:Dearborn Heights

How long have you lived in your district?

8 years

Have you received any endorsements?

AFSCME, MEA, Dearborn heights Mayor Dan Paletko

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

My fundamental values, love for community engagement, tenacity, along with my passion to improving the overall well-being of children that has driven me to run for a D7 School Board seat.

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

Education Justice to me means making all facets of education accessible to all students in that District. It means to make a fair and safe educational environment fully accessible to all students. In the context of the D7 School District, it means the attainment of resources by district leadership and reassuring that the students have full access to them. These resources include access to healthy food, a progressive/comprehensive curriculum, mental health services and recreational involvement.

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

Our public schools would not return back to status quo. Basic necessities such as learning materials, updated technology, healthy food options, and in school mental health staff would not being an issue. Essential staff members such as teachers, janitors, lunch aides, para professionals, and secretaries would be treated as essential beyond the pandemic.

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

It’s highly beneficial to have parents, students, and families be apart of decision making within the school district simply because they are the ones who are responsible for the execution and reinforcement of the plans and policies set in place. Community buy-in is key to school district success. True collaboration and accountability is key to success as well.

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

The top financial supporters of my campaign have been MEA, AFSCME, and men/women in D7 as well as Metro Detroit.

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

My priorities for K-12 include increasing accessibility to mental health services with in the school (e.g., having an increased amount of trained mental health professionals to address anxiety, academic deficits, social skills and depression). For this population, I think it’s crucial to give them a more diversified curriculum (in history, social studies, geography). Teaching children everyone’s history increases self esteem, confidence, empathy and compassion. It also better equips children for the competitive, global work force and economy. As a board member, I’d vote to adopt a more diverse, inclusive curriculum. I’d also solicit feedback from the teachers because they are responsible for teaching it.

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

From the state level, my first educational priority would be public school education reform where it’s not a focus on quantity but quality. I have a professional respect for standardized tests but I think the excessive push for standardized tests in schools has ultimately taken the enjoyment out of teaching and learning. Because of this I would advocate for a change in the mandate of standardized testing. Lastly, I would find ways to lobby as a collective group to increase funding for public school 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?

It appears that the challenges in the school district as it relates to covid-19 will continue to be around sufficient cleaning, keeping PPE in stock, and making sure that regardless if children are in a face-to-face or virtual program, that they still receive a fair education. I think it’ll be crucial for D7 to hire an abundant amount of staff (i.e., teachers, janitorial, aides, mental health staff, etc) to do the work consistently and to prevent burnout. I think that D7 is going to have to reevaluate the school plan very frequently to test this effectiveness.

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

D7 top priority as it relates to budget should be making sure that PPE is stocked and in place at all times and making sure trained staff are available. Alternatively, although recreational involvement is important, at this time safety and health should take precedence.

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

Standardized testing should only be used to establish baselines and what students know and how far they have grown. I think during a pandemic it’ll be harmful to consider retaining children based on low standardized test scores.

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?

The impact that I desire to have on my district’s curriculum is moving away from a solely eurocentric curriculum. As I mentioned before in the above question, having a more diverse and inclusive curriculum of everyone’s history better equips our children for the globally economy, it boosts self-esteem and empathy.

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

I think all school districts should have a vital role in supporting students and staff in mental health/emotional well-being because research shows that when people feel happy, supported and basic needs are met, they have higher chances of thriving academically. Furthermore their quality of life improves as they move towards adulthood. Mental health resources should be available to staff at feasible cost.

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

The D7 School District should have disciplinary policies that are fair and equitable to all students/staff. These disciplinary policies should be clear, understandable, enforceable to all students and staff. I think S7 should take into consideration that there should be a small degree of flexibility when considering disciplinary actions. In regard to safety, preventative and proactive measures should be implemented and practiced routinely (e.g., seminars/workshops on bullying, violence, empathy, building trusting relationships with administrators). If we get to know our students on a personal level when difficult situations arise we can better support them.

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

Has a mental health professional, my top priorities around special education would be having the school-based model implemented in public school systems in our district. I also believe that we could find a way to hire more school/clinical psychologists to administer testing to get a clearer understanding of how many children in our district have special education needs. For those children who are already identified in having special needs we should have enough staff to support them.

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

My perspective on working towards achieving equity within the D7 district is clear. People who are in leadership positions have to be willing to hear the voices of people (without unwarranted biases, skepticism and criticism and hold themselves accountable to effective change.

Any other information you want to include or share?

No thank you.

October 4, 2020

Adel Mozip

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictDearborn Public Schools
City:Dearborn

How long have you lived in your district?

20

Have you received any endorsements?

Not yet

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

To represent the voices of so many families in our district looking for honest, responsive, and hard working board members who will reflect their aspirations for quality education for their children.

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

Education justice means an equitable allocation of resources for each student in our district to succeed. Over the years, inequity in school districts has become the norm. Families that are under-privileged feel marginalized by the system. Districts like ours must be responsive to families’ needs by involving them in the educational experience of their children. Schools need to be supported based on their specific needs and students must be individually served through their individualized learning plans. Students should also be involved and supported in the advancement of their peers as well.

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

This pandemic has clearly shown us has the social inequities in our society. If I would reimagine schools post this pandemic, there needs to be a mind shift on delivery of instruction. social-emotional learning to be completely adopted by our schools. Students will come to schools with far more complex issues than before. Our schools have to be prepared to welcome students with major academic loss as well.

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

District must be pro-active when making decisions. Parents, students, and families can be surveyed on critical decisions. Board members should hold listening sessions in various areas of the school to facilitate conversations. We currently have student advisors for the Board and I believe that should be expanded to middle school as well. Board members need to be accessible (both in person and online) to families and community members for concerns. I have always followed up with parents who have concerns and seeked input from community members through various outlets.

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

My brother and role model, Adeeb Mozip

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

My current top priorities for the P-12 are: safe return to in-person quality instruction, the safety of our students, staff, and community as well as social-emotional learning. Return to in-person instruction must be guided by science and health experts. I will always advocate for an equitable allocation of resources for each student in our amazing district to succeed. I continue to challenge the administration as well as my colleagues to do more for our students, teachers, and staff. I continue to be vocal about the importance of social and emotional learning; leading the passing of the anti-bullying resolution by our board and recognizing October as National Bullying Prevention Month. I will work with my colleagues to expand parental involvement in our schools and provide additional support for special education. My top priority for Henry Ford College is to continue on the improvement of the student experience on campus and ways to increase enrollment through strategic programs & innovative marketing.

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

My three top educational priorities are to increase the school aid fund from our legislators especially in special education. My second priority is to get rid of the read by third-grade law which I believe is harmful to our students (https://adelmozip.com/read-by-third-grade-law/). The third issue is to minimize the amount of standardized testing our students take per year.

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 are many; the online education is short of in-class instruction. Return to in-class instruction must be done safely. District must keep staff and students safe and treat it as highest piority. PPE for in person instruction must be purchased on time (as the district has done) and enforcement should be key to avoid any outbreaks. Social distancing and mask wearing is mandatory on school grounds. The other challenges is carrying instruction online, providing internet access for those who are unable to afford it, as well as outdoor activities for our students. District must be creative in getting students to stay motivated and teachers to be supported during these tough times.

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

The backbone of our district is its teachers and staff. The budget should be dedicated to retain qualified teachers and enable them to improve which in return will help our students succeed. Our district should utilize current savings and federal funding to buy PPE for our staff and students in order to keep them safe in in-person sessions. Funding for special education needs to be accounted for as well. District can delay infrastructural projects in order to safely respond to the district immediate needs to combat COVID.

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

I’ve always advocated for less standardized testing in our schools. Performance shall be gauged by the students’ academic achievement in their own class. Standardized tests don’t give an accurate representation of their academic standing.

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?

While a school board has little influence on curriculum, materials being taught has to be relative to the student population. Algebra II should not a requirement and an alternative should be offered for students who choose to not major in science-focused fields. I would also encourage project-based learning and internships during high school.

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

It’s a huge responsibility for a district to implement programs that embrace social/emotional learning for our district. Students as well as staff go through a lot, especially through a pandemic. Districts should build support systems and mechanisms where students can support each and eradicate all forms of bullying. I continue to be vocal about the importance of social and emotional learning; leading the passing of the anti-bullying resolution by our board and recognizing the month of October as National Bullying Prevention Month.

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

Restorative practices are key to resolving student behavior issues. Research has shown that if social-emotional learning is embraced and implemented at all levels, student behavior issues would decline. Students need to be understood, accepted and challenged to excel. Our district needs to continue to offer safe spaces for students to vent, converse, and uplift each other.

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

My top priorities for special education is to retain the amazing staff and counselors at our district, offer more support mechanisms and programs for our students and their families. I would like to see our district exceed expectations when it comes to annual IEP goals for each student throughout the year to ensure students progress towards their postsecondary goals. During the pandemic, it’s more difficult than ever to deliver instruction to the special population of our students and that’s why in-person instruction for families that opt-in is key.

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

We cannot acheive equity if we don’t underline the inequity problem first. We can acheive equity by removing all the barriers holding struggling schools back. Funding to schools with resources has to be done with equity being in mind.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I wholeheartedly believe that quality education is the foundation of the great good and the special gift we can give to our children. I am running to retain my seat to take on the unfinished business. I look forward to your support as we aspire for equity in our schools. Thank you
More info on myself at www.adelmozip.com

October 4, 2020

Irene Watts

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictDearborn Public Schools
City:Dearborn

How long have you lived in your district?

15

Have you received any endorsements?

AAPAC, AFT1650

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Because my teaching background would provide a unique voice that would benefit Dearborn Public Schools.

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

Education justice means equity for all, and meeting students academically where they are.

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

It would be a district rooted in social and emotional learning as the foundation of all curricula, within a project-based learning environment.

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

I believe in total transparency where all stakeholders are given an opportunity to join various committees and sub-committees, district-wide.

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

Myself

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

Safely returning to in-person learning, transparency, and fiscal responsibility.

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

To increase per-pupil allowance, make Dearborn schools a model statewide, and to earn a renewed respect for our public schools.

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 greatest challenge for Dearborn is reducing our COVID cases, with Dearborn leading Wayne County (besides Detroit). We, as a city, need a tangible, detailed plan as to how we will reduce our numbers. Once our numbers are below the 5% positivity rate benchmark established by the WHO, we then need to create and implement a plan to ensure optimum availability and use of PPE, cleaning measures, Covid tests, etc.

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

I believe that the top priority should be to address student and staff trauma–i.e. adverse effects to their mental health due to COVID. We also need to ensure that our staff members feel appreciated and valued to achieve high morale and a contagious enthusiasm for teaching and, in turn, learning.

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

Standardized testing should be supplemental to the student’s report card in measuring academic achievement, not used as a substitute, or given a higher value.

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 stress the importance of social and emotional learning, especially because of the increase in students’ experiences with trauma related to the pandemic. I would also ensure all classrooms utilize a project-based learning approach, and I would change the weight and time spent on standardized testing and prep.

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

I believe that students’ and staff’s social and emotional health should be the TOP priority. We are seeing a teacher shortage combined with teacher burnout within the first month of school. This is a problem that adversely affects students and teachers alike.

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

Schools should have a defined expectations created by the students and voted by the entire student body. Students need to be part of the conversation and help to create a system in which they hold one another accountable. If and when discipline becomes necessary, one needs to ask what is happening to this student that explains the behavior. It is necessary to find the root cause, and work from the source, rather than focusing solely on the symptomatic action itself.

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

This is an inquiry and evaluation that must be made at the level of the individual school building. We need to ensure that each individual school has a data team consisting of teachers and administration that are solely looking at students’ data that will be used to help inform instruction. This data is also needed to assess student achievement and identify those students who may need additional support, possibly including an IEP.

We also need to establish support systems for parents of children with special needs. Each school should also have a parent team with a leader who is available to assist other parents in navigating the IEP process and communicating with their child’s IEP.

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

We need to ensure that each classroom’s materials, books, and artwork reflect the student body. We also need to create a student equality committee in every school, supported by a staff equality committee so that, to the extent disparities in achievement, discipline, or school experiences exist, the root causes can be identified. Finally, we must facilitate discussions with the staff committee about how to speak to children about other races, what vernacular to utilize, and how to otherwise effectively communicate to ensure cooperation, understanding, and unity.

Any other information you want to include or share?

October 4, 2020

Nofila Haidar

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictDearborn Public Schools
City:Dearborn

How long have you lived in your district?

Since 1993

Have you received any endorsements?

No, I have not requested endorsement from any political groups.

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I have been serving students in Dearborn for over a decade in many capacities. It is time that I serve in the ultimate capacity. I believe that Dearborn schools will be facing many obstacles in the near future. I want to be at the table to help find solutions. Currently Dearborn schools suffer from a capacity issue, budget cuts and need a better plan for equity across the district including the special education department.

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

An educated society is a strong society that will continue to grow and progress. Education justice to me is equitable resources and quality education for all students. It means a partnership between educators, parents, policymakers, and involved community members to continuously improve curriculum, learning environment quality and funding for our schools. The topic of education justice is on the table in my school district, but it needs to be pushed into action.

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

Change is inevitable when schools reopen. I can see our schools implementing deeper cleaning rituals, smaller class sizes when possible, less students on buses and firm rules against bringing a sick child to school. In my district, smaller class sizes will be impossible unless parents opt to enroll their children in the virtual academy. We simply do not have the sufficient brick and mortar to move students around and we do not have the land or funds to build additional schools. Some families will not be comfortable returning to school in person. We will need more teachers to fulfill the virtual academy classes. In terms of curriculum, I hope to see new lessons regarding health, hygiene, time management, discipline, use of technology and emotional health.

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

I have been involved in the Parent Teacher Association for over a decade. I began as a member and volunteer, served as a local unit president, and then served as a Council President of 33 units and over 3500 members for five years. During my service, I was an advocate for students, teachers and parents. I served on many committees and encouraged other parents and families to serve as well. I held community forums and candidates’ forums and I created opportunities for community involvement. My work for the PTA was so distinguished that I was invited to speak on diversity and inclusion at the National PTA Convention in 2019. This is very important to me and I believe that families should be involved in the decisions that are made on behalf of students.

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

My campaign is powered by the constituents of my district. I have not accepted any contributions from political action committees or political groups.

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

My school district has a capacity issue that needs long term solutions. Neighborhood schools are very important in Dearborn. Equity across the district including special education needs to be discussed. Curriculum equity and improvement as well as bullying need to addressed. Solutions to these goals can only be found using transparency, accountability and firm fiscal responsibility.

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

At the state level my priorities are funding, funding funding!
Standardized testing regulations, supporting teachers and supporting more educational decisions being made at the local level.

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?

Covid-19 has brought on some predictable and many unpredictable challenges. The obvious challenges are continuing online schooling and the negative effects that it has brought on students social emotional health. Other challenges include stress on entire family, the teachers, and other staff as well as the technology issues across the board. My district was able to supply each student with a chrome book if they needed one. If we return to school, it will be a challenge for Dearborn to implement social distancing. We have 22,000 students and our buildings are over capacity. There is also a shortage of teachers and substitute teachers; we cannot afford to lose teachers to the virus. School districts need to create a sanitizing, social distancing and personal protection equipment plan to protect teacher, students and staff during school. One life lost due to a lack of planning is one too many.

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

My districts spending priorities should be anything that supports educators in the classroom for optimal student success. Budget items such as technology, safety, curriculum, graduation specialists, paraprofessionals, and classroom resources.

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

Standardized tests should be used to measure student growth and proficiency. Our teachers should not be teaching to the test. I do not believe in over-testing. Our teachers should be able to spend more time educating students than preparing them for standardized testing.

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?

Curriculum across the nation has been criticized as being outdated. With the changing times and the new challenges that the world is facing, I would add or increase the importance of a few course requirements. Mental and emotional health, nutrition, financial literacy, technology and communications. I would keep our core requirements such as language arts, math, science, and social studies the same.

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

I believe that the school district is responsible for supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health. Unfortunately funding always gets in the way. In my district we have a high school with nearly three thousand students and seven counselors. The ratios are similar throughout the district. The counselors spend most of their time working out student schedules instead of counseling them. Mental and emotional health is critical in my opinion and should be addressed.

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

Discipline is a very sensitive topic and there is a fine line between discipline and punishment. I believe in restorative practices and using communication skills to help students realize their mistakes. Suspensions and similar types of discipline do not serve a purpose any more than a time out. Students lose classroom time, fall behind on school work and return to school angry. Restorative practices allow the students to talk about the issues and come up with solutions.

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

The special education department in my district is open to students from other districts. We have services that other districts do not offer. The special education department needs additional funding to improve the facilities, and hire additional teachers and support staff. Special education is very important to me because I have been an advocate for parents of special needs students for many years. I have heard their stories and understand their needs.

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

My school district is very diverse, we have students from all over the world and some are learning English for the first time in our classrooms. To create equity for our students, socio-economic status, ethnic origin, and personal circumstances cannot be an obstacle to achieving a good education. Equity can be achieved by placing systemic help for students who begin schooling at a disadvantage or fall behind during their education. We should give priority to early education, create an inclusion plan for immigrant students into mainstream education, prevent drop outs, remove dead ends and direct resources to students with need.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I am a lifelong resident of Dearborn, I have two daughters who are Dearborn Public Schools students. I have served as a member of the Dearborn Schools Strategic Planning Committee, as a Board member of the Dearborn Education Foundation, as a member of the School Improvement Plan Committee, the Early Learning Coalition, Dearborn Goodfellows Board of Directors, and as President of the Dearborn Schools PTA Council – 33 buildings. I served the special needs community as a Board Member of the ACCESS Hope House in Dearborn. I have served students in many capacities and it is time to serve in the ultimate capacity. I am running because we need long term solutions to infrastructure issues, equity, accountability and fiscal responsibility.

October 4, 2020

Paul Goddard

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictDearborn Public Schools
City:Dearborn

How long have you lived in your district?

We moved to Dearborn in 2001.

Have you received any endorsements?

Not yet.

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I’m inspired by our youth, and I love to be part of great things. But I also see unique problems in our schools, and I like solving problems.

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

Every student deserves to have an equal footing educationally — comparable opportunities for learning and growth. A primary driver in making this happen is attracting, developing, and retaining the best teachers to serve in the most critical schools and subjects in the district.

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

High school students starting later, and everyone having a shorter day in classrooms.
Many more opportunities for exploring and practicing what’s read in books; more music, art, and mechanics.

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

Parents, students and families should be actively engaged in their local school – regardless how small it may seem – and, to the extent possible, attend school board meetings, PTA meetings, and certainly parent-teacher conferences.

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

My community, friends, and family.

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

1. Ensuring that every student has an equal footing educationally — comparable opportunities for learning and growth.
2. Recognizing that teachers are on the front lines and deserve to be listened to carefully.
3. All decisions should be made based on good data – e.g., start school later by an hour every day and have high-schoolers starting later – and sound data analysis, not emotion or hearsay – e.g., BRICS bond.

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

1. Getting the funding education deserves.
2. Starting school later.
3. Employing proven techniques that weigh experiential learning above book learning.

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?

Funding is going to be a major issue. We must follow CDC, State, and County health experts’ guidelines and recommendations.

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

I have a lot to learn about where and how the district’s budget is allocated, but the Building, Renovation, Infrastructure, Capacity and Safety bond (BRICS) that failed to pass last year needs attention. Our facilities deserve to be safe, uncrowded, and offer a modicum of comfort. Clean water and air are basics. As a finance professional, previous Certified Internal Auditor, and environmentally sensitive nature lover, you can bet I’ll be digging into this area.
Music and art programs always seem to struggle while most sporting programs seem to do ok.

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

Standardized tests should continue to play an important (but not paramount) role. Standardized tests can be good indicators, but they’re not always reliable predictors of students’ “success” in life, nor are they accurate assessments of effective teaching. Some children might not be skilled at taking tests in mathematics or linguistics but are highly intelligent in other areas such as music, interpersonal skills, or spatial abilities.

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?

More experiential emphasis – exploring, practicing and applying what’s read in books. More offerings for skilled trades since not all students are college-bound.

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

As an employer, the district has minimum OSHA, state, and county guidelines to meet, and the district should provide high-quality health care insurance as an added benefit of employment. Our staff are on the front lines of our students’ education, so they need to be as healthy as possible, physically and emotionally.

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

Very carefully. Behavior problems are often a reflection of what’s going on in the home, and overly severe punishments damage everyone involved.
“Zero tolerance” policies should be reviewed and potentially revised, clearly communicated, and enforced.
Students should get credit for participating in disciplinary counsels (e.g., peer panels, reviews / ombudsman activities).

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

Listening carefully to Special Ed staff, including the SEAM (caucus), we need to ensure quality benchmarks are carefully applied to every aspect of the program.
I’d like to learn why it seems that while we have excellent RTs, and special education teachers there are too few of them.

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

Our district uses metrics that are reviewed and discussed regularly, yet problems persist. The only way forward is more and better communication between parents and teachers/admin.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I recognize that if elected, I will be serving on a board of individuals with a diverse set of backgrounds, education, and experiences. Together, leveraging those diverse opinions and with respect for one another, I plan to be part of making great changes for our students – meaningful, progressive, lasting changes that will benefit every family in our school district.