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    2020 School Board Candidates

    Farmington Public School District

October 4, 2020

Frank Raines III

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictFarmington Public School District
City:Ann Arbor

How long have you lived in your district?

20 yrs

Have you received any endorsements?

Those are still coming. I’ve had an interview with one group, NO decision has come forth.

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Education is important to me. My two darling daughters graduated from F.P.S.
This will be one way of giving back to the school that Proudly gave me two Graduates from F. H. S. and they both are doing very well earning their Graduates Degrees.

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

Justice, means EQUAL. Thus, everyone must be given a fair and dutiful education learning and practical application to obtain the knowledge necessary to be productive and knowledgeable to succeed in life and in a career.

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

We will be looking at many empty classrooms with a shadow of students not learning in a practical fashion as virtual learning is truly robbing our students from all the true practical knowledge that is the crown of their LEARNING.

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

I strongly believe that families should “ALL” play an active roll in the process of our students making application towards their livelihood. If the parents do not take a serious, or loving guardian does not play a significant role, how would they truly know the seriousness of what’s truly happening within their educational lives.

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

My campaign is being self supported.

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

1. Having quality Educators in the classroom;
2. Having a serious and sincere staff within administration that demonstrates a dutiful concern about the students and the students feel their are staff that really care about their well being and outcome.
3. The students themselves take serious their education and share with their parents experiences they encounter throughout the school and outside of school.

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

1. Ensuring that proper Funding be made available for students to have what’s need to ensure a quality education is being given.
2. That the science and labs be equipped to allow the students to have the practical equipment to experiment with the tools and materials that their application will yield positive results for learning.
3. That our representative in Lansing on the educational committee will have a hands on approach to ensure our tax dollars are being utilized in a fiduciary fashion.

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?

1. They must follow the CDC mandates.
2. They must follow the Governors Mandates.
3. They must follow the rules that the school have placed upon them.

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

BOOKS, SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT TO ENSURE STUDENTS GET WHAT THEY NEED TO MAKE APPLICATION WITHIN THE CLASSROOM,

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

As a child,I didn’t like standardized test, but I later learned it was pivotal to quantify our progress and scope out our weaknesses. Thus, it is pivotal and essential.

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?

Because I believe in hands on Learning, my first impact would be that the students know that they are very much appreciated being in my class.
THAT’S A PRIORITY!!!!
Being in the classroom, myself, all students will have to learn to have a “Buddy” Partner. I’ve come to conclude that if students learn to share with one another they learn better.
The curriculum can easily be changed, but the criteria for the change will require mandates from the state. Then we run into problems, who in the state will have the skills to work with the right educators to get it done correctly.
However, Technology is moving most rapid. Yet, its also a hindrance in many ways.
The classroom could be design differently, but the student population could be lessen in the classroom.

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

I’LL SIMPLY SAY, AN IMPERATIVE RES[RESPONSIBILITY!!!!

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

I shared in one interview that I thought the schools shouldn’t have Police Officers in the Building. I feel the trained citizens in the counseling arena could eradicate some of the emotional and physical displays without having to armed personnel in the schools.
I speak this way because I am a Retired Peace Officer. Deescalating a matter is easily resolved with the tone of one’s message.

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

Given age we are in, It is imperative. This would also be found under Funding from state the resources should be made available to address these continually climbing matters.
This matter, once looked into, would and should be address. However, I am the type of person who like to survey the land before trying to enter affairs as a new comer.

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

I believe that equity is important and essential. Diversity is paramount. Once again, having the opportunity to survey the land, that certainly would be a priority for me.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I merely wish to say, I am honored and pleased to have had to privilege to articulate these expressions of thoughts to this committee.

October 4, 2020

Cheryl Blau

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictFarmington Public School District
City:Farmington

How long have you lived in your district?

34 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Farmington Mayor Sara Bowman, Farmington City Councilwoman Maria Taylor, Beloved Community Initiative Leadership Team

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

With 30 years of K-12 teaching experience, a doctorate in educational leadership, masters degrees in both education and psychology, expertise in best practices in teaching and current brain research on learning, and decades of involvement in our community as a Farmington Area Arts Commissioner, Beloved Community Initiative leader, Farmers Market and Warner Mansion volunteer, resident, and parent of two Farmington High graduates, I am eager to draw upon my skills and knowledge for the benefit of our students, teachers, and parents.

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

If the shoe doesn’t fit, is it the foot’s fault? Of course not. You keep trying on different shoes until you find the best fit for your particular foot. Yet this is not what most children in America’s classrooms experience. We keep expecting children to change to fit the shape of the school rather than changing our schools to fit the ways children learn. I want to help facilitate change in our schools so that all of our children can thrive during their K-12 experiences.

Many parents, students, and teachers are frustrated by our district’s failure to fully address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. New policies, training, and curricula must be implemented to identify and remedy these issues at every level. Additionally, we must be brave enough to design an educational system that supports students of all learning styles and ability levels, including expanding vocational education opportunities. Overall, our board must be more accessible to our community and more responsive to its needs.

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

Continue encouraging teachers to implement creative, experiential, and project-based instruction while differentiating for learners’ varied abilities and needs.

Group students in multi-age classrooms, especially in grades K-5, so that students have the same teacher or teaching team for two years in a row.

Teach students how to better manage stress, anxiety, and strong emotions while also reducing the unecessarily high level of stress and anxiety our current K-12 system creates. We can have a rigorous curriculum without doing so much damage to our students in the process.

Make recess part of every student’s school day, K-12. They need the mental break and the physical activity, and even just 15 minutes of aerobic activity helps the brain focus for the following 2-3 hours.

Eliminate standardized tests and the Common Core State Standards so that teachers can invest their time and energies in truly educating our children rather than being pressured to teach to these tests and sacrifice precious class time to have students prepare for and take these tests throughout the school year. There are other, more reliable, less intrusive ways to measure and document student learning and growth as well as teacher performance. If we seek alternative sources of funding for our schools, we will be less dependent upon state funding which might enable us to make some of these changes. Perhaps our district could pilot alternative means of evaluating, documenting, and reporting student and teacher progress that enahnce rather than detract from teaching and learning in our schools.

When will we be willing to risk creating schools that meet the needs of our 21st century students rather than expecting our students to fit a model of schooling designed 150 years ago? Let that time be now, and let Farmington be the district courageous enough to pioneer this important work. Our students lives and futures depend upon it.

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

Our board must establish vehicles other than public comment during board meetings via which members of our school community can communicate their concerns and recommendations. Board members must listen more carefully and respond more rapidly and fully to comments raised and suggestions offered by community members.

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

Neighbors, Community Members, Colleagues, and Friends

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

Parents, students, and teachers are frustrated by the absence of action on the part of our administration and board to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the individual cases when they occur and systemically. New district policies, initiatives, and curricula must be put in place to address and remedy these issues at every level throughout our school system.

Second, with teen suicide on the rise, we must balance our academic expectations with the overall well-being of our students and be willing to consider new instructional models that support our students’ physical, emotional, and psychological health and growth as well as their academic progress. Expanding our vocational education options can be part of this process by providing our students with more than one pathway to success and enabling more students to graduate from high school career-ready.

Third, our board members must be more responsive to our community’s concerns, more respectful to one another, and must hold our superintendent accountable for accomplishing actionable items at predetermined dates throughout the coming school year.

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

Find less intrusive, less time-consuming, more reliable methods for evalutating student progress and teacher performance than standardized testing.

Remove the shackles of these tests and their connection to school funding so that districts are free to explore better ways of grouping children for learning and healthier, more humane ways of fostering student learning.

Provide a wider array of graduation options to better meet the varied learning styles, abilities, and needs of students throughout our state.

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?

While I believe our district has made the right choice for student and teacher safety by going all virtual thus far this school year, this has placed our teachers in an impossibly difficult situation as they adjust to the new Learning Management System the district implemented this fall and cope with continuing uncertainty about what the remainder of the school year will require. We must make sure we are attending to the overall well-being of our students and teachers alike as we all continue to cope with the many unanticipated challenges this pandemic presents. Are our students and teachers being given opportunities to discuss what they are experiencing and seek assistance if needed? What support systems are in place? How easy are these support systems for our students and teachers to access? The psychological and emotional health and well-being of our students, parents, and teachers is as important as continued academic progress.

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

District-wide anti-racism, bias, and equity training is a must, and not just a “one-and-done” inservice. Our district must invest in this work as an ongoing process. In June, a group of Farmington High School students presented a detailed plan to our Board and Superintendent for systemic sociocultrual sensitivity training that ought to be revisited and explored.

I’d also like to see more teachers hired, smaller class sizes, and fewer high-level administrators along with additional learning support personell and options, particularly for those students who do not qualify for learning support services under current state IEP and 504 guidelines.

Additionally, expanded vocational education opportunities and a wider array of course offerings at our high schools would give our students greater opportunities for success and career-readiness, especially for those not headed to college right out of high school.

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

None. Eliminate standardized tests and the Common Core State Standards so that our teachers can invest their time and energies in truly educating our children rather than being pressured to teach to these tests and sacrifice precious class time to have students prepare for and take these tests throughout the school year. There are other, more reliable, less intrusive ways to measure and document student learning and growth as well as teacher performance. If we seek alternative sources of funding for our schools, we will be less dependent upon state funding which might enable us to make some of these changes. Perhaps our district could pilot alternative means of evaluating, documenting, and reporting student and teacher progress that enahnce rather than detract from teaching and learning in our schools.

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 Social Studies curricula must be revisited and revised so as to provide our students with a more accurate, less-Eurocentric perspective of World and American History.

When will we give students the opportunity to learn and practice such essential life skills as communication, conflict resolution, navigating relationships, and managing stress, anxiety, depression, anger, and other strong emotion? How about now?

And why does every high school student have to take the same Algebra 1 and Physics classes? While all students can be required to take both Math and Science classes throughout high school, I have known many wonderful, hard-working students who were able to learn some of the Algebra 1 skills and concepts but needed a much slower pace to learn and master them than is typical in a regular 9th grade Algebra 1 class. Why aren’t we making more options available to these students? Instead, we force them to take these classes in which they spend hours and hours working as hard as they can and then, even if they pass the class, they have not mastered the learning. Furthermore, this takes a sometimes irreparable toll on these students’ confidence in their ability to learn at all as well as their self-esteem. This is completely unnecessary if only we would be willing to provide alternatively-paced courses with adjusted content.

Additionally, expanded vocational education opportunities and a wider array of course offerings at our high schools would give our students greater opportunities for success and career-readiness, especially for those not headed to college right out of high school. If our students could pursue training, internships, apprencticeships, and certifications in skills sets such as graphic design, carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, cosmotology, and the culinary arts, they could graduate from high school career-ready.

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

With teen suicide on the rise, we must balance our academic expectations with the overall well-being of our students and be willing to consider new instructional models that support our students’ physical, emotional, and psychological health and growth as well as their academic progress. Disciplinary problems descrease when students are taught communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution skills along with how to safely manage stress, anxiety, anger, depression, and other strong emotions. Teaching our students these skills will benefit them now and life long. We can also provide additional support personell (social workers, psychologists, counselors) in our schools so that these individuals and their services are more regularly and readily available to our students and teachers.

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

I recommend that we replace our punitive displinary process with a restorative justice model of holding students accountable for their behavioral choices and supporting their development of better decision-making skills. Disciplinary problems descrease when students are taught communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution skills along with how to safely manage stress, anxiety, anger, depression, and other strong emotions. Also, providing additional support personell (social workers, psychologists) and making these individuals and their services more regularly and readily available to our students and teachers would be more productive and proactive than having a poice officer in the building.

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

We need additional learning support personell and options, particularly for those students who do not qualify for learning support services under current state IEP and 504 guidelines.

And why does every high school student have to take the same Algebra 1 and Physics classes? While all students can be required to take both Math and Science classes throughout high school, I have known many wonderful, hard-working students who were able to learn some of the Algebra 1 skills and concepts but needed a much slower pace to learn and master them than is typical in a regular 9th grade Algebra 1 class. Why aren’t we making more options available to these students? Instead, we force them to take these classes in which they spend hours and hours working as hard as they can and then, even if they pass the class, they have not mastered the learning. Furthermore, this takes a sometimes irreparable toll on these students’ confidence in their ability to learn at all as well as their self-esteem. This is completely unnecessary if only we would be willing to provide alternatively-paced courses with adjusted content.

Additionally, expanded vocational education opportunities and a wider array of course offerings at our high schools would give our students greater opportunities for success and career-readiness, especially for those not headed to college right out of high school. If our students could pursue training, internships, apprencticeships, and certifications in skills sets such as graphic design, carpentry, electrical wiring, plumbing, cosmotology, and the culinary arts, they could graduate from high school career-ready.

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

Teachers, parents, students, adminstrators, board members, and staff all need to have time and opportunities to come together to discuss our district’s equity issues. We also, all of us, must develop new skills for identifying and addressing these issues as they arise. District-wide anti-racism, bias, and equity training is a must, and not just a “one-and-done” inservice. Our district must invest in this work as an ongoing process. In June, a group of Farmington High School students presented a detailed plan to our Board and Superintendent for systemic sociocultrual sensitivity training that ought to be revisited and explored. Furthermore, our Board must do a better job of modeling respectful discourse during our meetings, particularly when we disagree with one another.

Any other information you want to include or share?

Our current K-12 educational model developed during the Industrial Age. While the assembly line-approach may work for building automobiles, it does not work well for educating and nurturing human beings. Our one-size-fits-all American education system leaves many of our students behind. Farmington can lead the way in developing something that better meets the learning needs and nurtures the overall well-being of all our students. May we have the courage to do so.

October 4, 2020

Claudia Heinrich

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictFarmington Public School District
City:Farmington Hills

How long have you lived in your district?

45 years

Have you received any endorsements?

yes, MEA

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I am a 45 year resident of Farmington Hills, graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, with a BA in Education and Eastern Michigan University with a Masters Degree in Mathematics. Education has always been a passion of mine; in 2015 I retired after a 40 year career teaching high school mathematics at Riverside High School in North Dearborn Heights, Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, and Stevenson High School in Livonia. In addition to teaching high school, I taught mathematics at Oakland Community College and Schoolcraft College. I have been married to my husband, Dave Heinrich, for 45 years; together we raised 4 daughters who attended Farmington Public Schools from preschool through high school graduation. Two of my daughters live in Farmington Hills my grandchildren attend Farmington Public Schools.
I am running for the school board so that I may continue my dedicated life-long work with education, giving back to this great community that has given so much to me and my family.

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

Education justice to me means an equitable access to education for all students. It means providing a solid curriculum that addresses the needs of all learners in the district. It means insuring that lessons in teaching tolerance and social justice are included across the curriculum at every grade level. It means a strong literacy program that includes reading materials that reflect a diverse student population.

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

Schools filled with children attending class in person every day, all day. After school activities and sports.

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

The school district should include parents, students and community members along with school district personnel on district wide committees such as the shared vision committee, committee on racial equity. Any major changes in building allocations, school boundaries should involve community input.

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

I do not have any financial supporters.

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

1. Ensure a safe learning environment for students and staff. Violence, school shootings, bullying, racism and now the COVID-19 pandemic are all challenges that our students are faced with. Ensuring that the school district invests in the resources and training for all staff to support the social emotional needs of the students is a must.
2. A solid curriculum that addresses the needs of all learners in the school district; ensuring that every student leave our school district with a post secondary plan to be successful in life, whether it is entering the work force, trade school, 4 year college, 2 year college, certificate programs or the military.
3. Insuring that lessons in teaching tolerance and social justice are included across the curriculum – reading, language arts, social studies, civics, history, science and health – at every grade level along with a strong literacy program that includes reading materials to reflect a diverse student population.

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

1. That the state will support school districts so that all students have access to high-quality instruction regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, economic status, native language, or physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities.
2. That the state will support teachers with opportunities for professional development to help them meet the needs of all learners in their schools.
3. That the state will provide equitable school funding.

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 biggest challenge is the health and safety of students and staff. At this time the Farmington School District has made the decision to begin the school year with a virtual learning platform. This decision was carefully made based on the data available. It is important to constantly monitor the data and make adjustments to bringing back students to in person learning when it is safe to do so. It must also provide the option for continued virtual learning for families that are not comfortable with in person learning until the COVID virus is no longer a threat. When bringing back students to in person it must be able to assess each group of learners, bringing back students that have the most to lose from the virtual platform such as the special needs students, rather than trying to make a one size fits all decision.

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

The top spending priorities should be costs that are associated with education of students – salaries for teachers & support staff, anything associated with curriculum. Counselors, social workers, social emotional support experts and special education services should have high priority. Building maintenance, making sure buildings are safe is also a priority. I honestly do not know of any costs associated with operating a school district that should be a priority.

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

Standardized tests give the school district a measure of how the students in the district are performing. A good independent test should be just that, a measure of student performance so the school district can adjust the curriculum to make sure that the students are leaving the district with the tools to succeed in the next level of their life, whether it be college, entering the workforce, trade school, technical school or the military. The tests should not drive the curriculum, but rather a solid curriculum should prepare students for an objective measure of their learning.

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 make sure that lessons in teaching tolerance and social justice are included across the curriculum – reading, language arts, social studies, civics, history, science and health- at every grade level. I would make sure that textbooks are used that do not have racial bias. I would also like to see that a financial literacy course is included.

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

Mental and emotional health/ well-being are essential for students to be able to learn and reach their full potential and teachers to be able to teach. I believe that school counselors, social workers and psychiatrists should be accessible in every building. I also believe that a mentoring program for at risk students should be a priority.

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

The first step is a student code of conduct that is developed with input from all stakeholders – teachers, parents, students and administrators. The second step is continued professional development for all staff. Intervention specialists with a mediation program that is student led. Open and transparent communication with parents, also support programs for parents and families are all part of creating a community where students feel welcome, safe and their voices are heard.

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

A strong special education program is important. Investment in staff and training to meet the needs of all special education students is important.

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

I think that the Farmington School District is moving in the right direction with a
Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion but there is much work to be done. The district just adopted a resolution addressing racism with 10 action steps. I strongly believe that there must be involvement at every level in the community in order for true equity to be realized.

Any other information you want to include or share?

My experience as a teacher, parent and grandparent has given me a wealth of experience to draw upon in understanding how to best serve the needs of the school district as they move forward in changing times. Serving as a member of the school board gives me a voice in maintaining the high quality standards that the Farmington School District is known for.

October 4, 2020

Donald Walker

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictFarmington Public School District
City:Farmington Hills

How long have you lived in your district?

13 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Beloved Community Initiative

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to help create a transformative, encouraging, and safe environment that produces future ready students who are ready to take on the world. Lately, our school community has gone through a number of negative incidents which is preventing FPS from being the best district in the state. I want to work to change that.

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

Education justice means the removal of any aspect within our educational system that marginalizes or excludes any group. Within our district, it means an environment where African-American students are not called the “n” word, African American cheerleaders are not referred to as strippers or special needs children are not traumatized by being physically handled by their teachers to the point where marks are left on their bodies. Education justice means our students’ bodies are respected and seen as the children they are not described in negative adult contents. It means instruction and assignments that are sensitive, respectful, and inclusive of the entire history and experiences of a group, both in the past and present.

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

I would see the “digital divide” closed completely. Students would have a one to one ratio of technology with the appropriate levels of internet bandwidth to support its use. I see homes with children getting a discount because their work would be done using the internet. This would allow the business community to give back to school districts and families. I see smaller class sizes to help with social distancing. I see the community providing learning centers to help with the overflow of students as a consequence of social distancing. I see better salaires and training for teachers to become more effective online teachers which would attract more people into the profession. I see a curriculum that is better suited for learning being taught online leaving more room in schools for classes that must be face to face. I see a school system and community that is better able to put its collective arms around students to take care of and educate them under any circumstance allowing parents the freedom to work worry-free.

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

Public comments are the first place where our community should have a voice. The current public comment policies of our district does not allow for discourse through a response to questions that come from public comments.
Additional ways of getting the community involved with decisions within the school district come from “town-halls” with parents and lead administrators throughout the school year. Student leadership should have a voice at board meetings to report their accomplishments and share concerns about their experiences. This begins with school leadership being active, respectful, and attentive listeners with accountability measures.

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

Individuals from the community, professional colleagues, friends and family.

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

1. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – I will support Farmington’s new leadership in this area. I will bring resources to support the leadership’s plan. I will support accountability measures for FPS employees and students to create a safe, encouraging, and inclusive environment for students and teachers.

2. Increased College Prep and CTE Participation – I will work to increase student participation in our advanced programs through greater awareness. I will support innovative curriculum and instruction in the earlier grades that will better prepare students for the rigors of International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement education.

3. Accessibility – I will use my media experience and my time spent in the communications department of DPSCD to support the creation of additional lines of communication. I will continue virtual meetings with target groups including students. I will push for a public comment policy that provides comments to questions 30 days after hearing them in board meetings.

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

1. Diversity and Equity – The same examination of implicit bias and racism that is happening on the local level needs to be applied at the state level.

2. The third grade reading law – This law is punitive. It does not take into consideration the social impact of holding children back. Resources are needed to impact what is preventing elementary students from being strong readers by the third grade.

3. Equitable funding for districts based on areas of weakness and poverty levels within their district.

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 biggest challenge is keeping students engaged virtually. Spotty internet, lack of personal connection, distractions in the home environments, and lack of familiarity with learning platforms are making things very challenging.

Until science says otherwise, we must keep as many students at home as possible. We should be creating learning centers within our schools for the small population of students who must be face to face. These smaller populations of students will allow for more effective social distance and protective measures for the face to face teachers and students.

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

In this year, our spending priorities should reflect technology upgrades to help bridge the digital divide, teacher salaries and bonuses, and safety measures for whatever level of face to face instruction the district returns to. We should not be spending money on brand new learning management systems given to teachers two weeks for the start of school in the midst of a pandemic.

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

Standardized tests should serve as a pre-test and a post test throughout the school. Educational plans should be built upon the data from the tests. Modification should take place as the year progresses based on the work of the student. These tests should be culturally appropriated and free from bias in questions.

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 curriculum should be inclusive, diverse, and free from bias. It should be project based with real-world applications. The curriculum should be interconnected where possible i.e. showing the geometric applications found within 3D animation. I would keep the efforts already made toward inclusion and build from there.

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

The health and well-being of both staff and students are a large part of the district’s responsibility. If their mental and emotional well being is not positively addressed, they can’t teach or learn effectively. Teachers may lose patience faster and students will act out more.

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

Anything short of a physical threat to the safety of staff and students, should be addressed by restorative justice/practice. Give the student a chance to learn from the incident, stay in school and grow. Physical threats should be given to the police. However, police do not need to be in the building.

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

1. Appropriate funding
2. Social-emotional health and wellbeing
3. Transitioning into work and independence

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

It is completely necessary and needed. People need to understand equity does not mean equal. It means understanding and meeting people where they are and providing needed resources to allow everyone the same chances to become the best versions of themselves.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I am a husband, father of three children (all either graduated or attend FPS), and have nearly 30 years in communications and education as an instructor, videographer, editor, and administrator. I have worked with students for my entire professional career. I have held leadership positions in a trade school and communications department for a large school district. Currently, I am the director of a Career Technical Education program and sit on two boards that serve high school career pathways. I am open-minded, accessible, skilled, and ready to serve especially in our current climate.

October 4, 2020

Richard Mukamal

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictFarmington Public School District
City:Farmington Hills

How long have you lived in your district?

26 years

Have you received any endorsements?

yes! I am endorsed by the Farmington MEA and the Community Equity Organization. I also have a growing list of endorsements from local public officials and colleagues.

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to help lead the transformation of our school district so that it provides educational excellence for all of our students in the 21st century. This will manifest itself in three significant ways. First, it will impact what and how we teach and assess our students. Second, it will impact how we operate as an organization through greater transparency with stakeholders and a collaborative approach between school board, administration and the union. Third, it will impact how we interact and treat one another and a diverse and inclusive community.

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

This is a new phrase for me, but the intent is not. I understand education justice to mean providing quality opportunities for all students to achieve their personal best in a positive and welcoming environment irrespective of their means. In our district we have an Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Inclusion to help support and lead initiatives that are consistent with educational justice.

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

I see the need for us to transform the culture of this district in three major areas. First, I’d like to see us look to educate our kids to be successful and productive citizens in the 21st century. We can’t do this using 20th century methods and assessments. Our students must learn core competencies rather than information which is readily available to anyone with internet access. We need to incorporate in our curriculum and assessments the following skills:

Critical thinking and problem solving
Collaboration across networks by peer led groups
Adaptability and agility
Initiative and entrepreneurship
Effective oral and written communications
Accessing and analyzing information
Curiosity and imagination

Second, we have already begun to transform how we operate as an educational organization. Every administrator must have clearly defined areas of responsibility, time sensitive goals and be held accountable for their results. Decision making should be based on objective metrics and not on political considerations. Our educators are our most important employee and they should be treated as such.

And third, we need to ensure that students and staff feel safe in an environment that embraces equity and inclusion, irrespective of a person’s race, religion or sexual identity. We are already working to address concerns expressed by several staff and students. We have reorganized central office to have an Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Inclusion and will be conducting an equity audit. This will assist us in developing a thoughtful strategic plan that will enable us to have the long term cultural change to which we all aspire.

I want our students to be excited to be in school and see it as a way to have the same curiosity that they naturally have at a young age. I want our teachers to remain excited about their careers and feel appreciated, supported and respected. I want them to have the tools they need. And I want our community to know that their school district is future focused, forward thinking and a place where families will want to live. I want our students and staff to feel safe and valued irrespective of their race, religion, culture or sexual identity. I want our community to feel that FPS is open, transparent and is a part of the community.

All of this requires leadership at the highest levels in the district and I believe I have the requisite skills and experience to have a strong positive influence on the district.

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

The strategic plan that we created a few years ago included considerable input from all stakeholders which included parents and students. As we move forward with our transformation, there will also be considerable input from parents, students and families as well. It is essential that these people are part of the process because the long term changes I seek cannot be done without their buy-in.

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

I have decided to self finance my campaign because these are very financially challenging times for so many families.

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

1. Teaching and assessing students based on critical success skills in addition to content.
2. Giving students the opportunity to control up to 25% of their educational time to work on topics/projects of interest to them within the context of curriculum requirements.
3. Expanding the definition of success to include CTE, internships and other practical and real world experiences as part of a student’s educational experience.

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

1. The minimization of standardized tests as a means of assessing the competency of our students.
2. The acceptance of teaching skills in addition to content such that it would be part of the assessment of qualified applicants to colleges and universities.
3. Additional funding consistent with the School Finance Research Collaborative.

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 are balancing the quality of education with keeping our staff and students healthy and safe. We have a very vocal group of parents who insist that our district return to in-person instruction immediately. They correctly describe the challenges of remote learning and its impact on their children’s mental health and socialization in addition to the quality of instruction. However, they seem to ignore how other stakeholders might be impacted. Our district has well thought plans and we plan a slow and gradual return to in person instruction. We have begun with special ed who require it and our preschool. We hope to have K-5 in hybrid learning in November with middle and high school in hybrid in January.

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

Since our revenues from non-bond sources only provides enough for daily operations, the priority is for staff salary and benefits as well as other classroom instruction expenses. My concern is that our revenues are insufficient to deal with the growing inequities that the COVID-19 situation is magnifying.

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

I think that standardized tests have a role but they should be completely reexamined within the context of my earlier answers.

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?

My priority would be to transform our curriculum and assessment as I have already outlined. I would also examine our curriculum through the lens of equity and inclusion to ensure that each topic area includes the contributions of our diverse country and world. In the case of social studies and history, there must be an accurate reflection of the treatment of our indigenous peoples and African Americans by European colonists. I would also include the contributions of these groups to the fine and performing arts.

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

Our district plays a vital role along with parents in supporting students’ mental health and well being. For staff, it is similar. School districts are in a position to identify potential problems early on and provide appropriate interventions, particularly in situations where the potential outcomes could possibly cause harm or injury to people.

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

Our district uses restorative practice as a means of dealing with student discipline along with a multi-tiered intervention depending on the type of behavior exhibited by students. I would like to see our district transform its culture so that our interactions with one another are respectful of individual differences and that there are confidential means of reporting problems without concern for potential reprisal.

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

My priority is to ensure that we are providing adequate support for each student in special education so that they have the resources they need to reach their potential.

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

This is a high priority for the district and for me personally. The inequities in our society are significant and profound. It is incumbent on us to do our part to create an educational experience for our students so that they are confident that they will be successful in their lives no matter what they choose to do.

Any other information you want to include or share?

My commitment to social justice and equity goes back many years. As a resident of Metro Detroit, I have long felt the need to assist underserved people, principally African Americans. Ten years ago, I began convincing the director of my community concert band and my friend of the need to help kids in Detroit. We spent two years researching and debating how best to do this. I came across an organization called El Sistema USA and attended a conference with him. This organization oversees and provides assistance to after school programs across the US in providing intensive music programs for underserved youth. Following the meeting I joined the board as Vice Chairman and led the strategic planning effort for this relatively new organization. At the same time, my friend and I co-founded Crescendo Detroit in the Dexter-Davison neighborhood in a church basement. Our program is music and dance centric, but it also provides literacy, social/emotional support and nutrition. I was Board Chairman and worked 30 hours per week for three years to get the program up and running.

My background also includes 18 years as a corporate manager and senior executive in Fortune 500 companies, a consultant specializing in strategic management and a non profit leader as describes above.

October 4, 2020

Mable Fox

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictFarmington Public School District
City:City of Farmington, Farmington Hills, (small portion)W. Bloomfield

How long have you lived in your district?

23 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Fem For Dems, Beloved Community Initiatives,

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I am running for the Farmington Public Schools Board to serve students and my community. For 30 plus years, my professional and community work has prepared me to govern. My goal is to bring a data-driven approach and to govern through the lens of accountability, transparency, and equity. I want to promote policies that raise the bar in education by creating a culture of excellence where students are motivated to learn and grow in a safe and supportive environment, and teachers’ professionalism is respected. I am a certified teacher and an expert in adaptive technology and virtual and remote learning, with a career spanning 30 years in educational consulting.

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 students. That teachers have high expectations and create an environment where students have a voice that is respected. Where education systems prepare and offer AP, IB, and honor classes to a diverse student body.

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

With the assistance of adaptive technology, I can imagine a student-centered learning environment where a part of the teaching time would be to facilitate. The techer/ facilitator is reviewing data, and having data talks with individual students to help them understand their progress and encouring a growth mindset when learning. I imagine teachers and its’ systems will welcome every students without judging and without low expectations. I imagine that students are welcome to have a voice in and feels comfortable to take risks in their learning.

I image that “Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” (Dr. Rita Pierson, Educator)

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

School districts are the center of every community. The school’s PTA offers opportunities for parents/families to be active, address concerns, and make suggestions. Parents, students, and families can attend board meetings and discuss concerns or solutions within the public forum.

Attending parent workshops, coffee hours, and participating in parent and student surveys are also ways of engagement.

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

Grass root community, families, and friends.

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

My goal is to bring a data-driven approach and to govern through the lens of accountability, transparency, and equity. I want to promote policies that raise the bar in education by creating a culture of excellence where students are motivated to learn and grow in a safe and supportive environment, and teachers’ professionalism is respected.

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

1. Implement, with strong district and building leadership, high-quality instruction in every classroom through a student-centered instructional model where students meet their self-determined academic and personal goals to their highest potential.

2. Reduce the impact of high-risk factors, including poverty, and provide equitable resources to meet the needs of all students to ensure that they have access to quality educational opportunities and barriers to close the digital divide.

3. Create a strong alignment and partnership with job providers, community colleges, and higher education to assure a prepared and quality future workforce, and informed and responsible citizens.

(https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/_MDE_Goals_and_Strategies_2-8-16_514042_7.pdf)

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 challenges on both sides of educating our students while keeping students, teachers, and the community safe. Districts have implemented a number of COVID-19 models and in some cases a selection of options to be implemented at the same time.

The Farmington Public Schools have decided to start school in a 100% virtual /remote model. The District has used science and data to inform their decision, and I agree with their decision.

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

When learning at school resumes, one of the top priorities is to ensure that all buildings have a high-grade filtration system to ensure clean air circulation as well as protective gear.

The District’s annual Strategic Plan priorities should be through an equitable lens such as more funding and time for academic and social-emotional options for struggling students. It is difficult to say what should not be a priority as districts have developed budgets with too little funds before the COVID-19. Everything is a priority and the Federal government should replace the district’s funding shortfall .to at least maintain our current priorities.

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

Testing is important to understand what students know Testing three times a year gives teachers a tool/data to show growth or the lack of overtime. The data helps teachers to determine if interventions and other learning systems are needed.

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?

Farmington Public Schools needs a district-wide curriculum to ensure continuity from grade to grade. In addition to the traditional curriculum, I would include the Competency-Based Education curriculum.

A Competency-Based Education curriculum. includes characteristics of career & college-readiness within all of the academic standards, including the arts and the Career Technical Education Career and Technical Education (CTE). CBE focuses on personalized pathways rather than a traditional linear progression. Teachers in CBE develop meaningful, engaging projects for students to work on while giving feedback to revise work to mastery of the standards. Students can engage in meaningful experiences, skills, and certifications to be career and college ready. (Michigan Department of Education)

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

I believe it is important for the Farmington Public School District to establish a district-wide social-emotional and mental health program for students and staff. There should be a district-wide restorative practices system, which includes training of all stakeholders.

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

In 2018, Governor Snyder signed legislation that districts consider restorative practices as an alternative to zero tolerance. I believe that FPS should use/ apply restorative practices for at least Lever One offenders. The Student Code of Conduct policy should be revised to include restorative practices like most Michigan Districts.

Restorative practices promote student’s growth, relationship building, and it creates a trusted community instead of discipline, which can be the first step to the pipeline to prison.

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

As a parent of two sons with an Individual Education Plans (IEP) and as a Board Member, I would make sure that teachers read and understand each students’ IEP to consistently implement the appropriate accommodations.

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

The Farmington Public Schools’ recent approval of equity policy and the recent hire of an Assistant Superintendent for Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity is a great start. Our school an district is essential to our diverse community. I believe the Equity Policy set the tone and expectations with five objectives below. As a Board Member, I want to implement a data-driven process to ensure progress.

1. Gaps and barriers between our vision and the policies, practices, and structures that may perpetuate systemic inequities are eliminated.

2. The predictability of success and failure that currently correlates with any social or cultural factor is removed from teaching and learning practices.

3. All learners have access to rigorous content at or above grade level.

4. All stakeholders are engaged in sustainable partnerships to support academic achievement for all learners.

5. Knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices are developed to create learning environments and opportunities that expect and support achievement for all learners.

Any other information you want to include or share?

Mable Fox a 23 years resident of Farmington Hills.
§ Single mother of three young adult children (adopted months old).

§ My sons attended Farmington Schools from K-12 grades and they are now
attending college.

§ My daughter is a product of Detroit Public Schools with advanced degrees.

§ I believe “Every Child Deserves A Champion”, an adult who will never give up on
them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become
the best that they can possibly be.”

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=SFnMTHhKdkw&feature=youtu.be) (Dr. Rita Pierson, Educator)

October 4, 2020

Frank Raines, III

Pronouns: He/Him
School District: Farmington Public School District
City: Farmington Hills

How long have you lived in your district?

TWENTY YEARS

Have you received any endorsements?

AMERCIAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

THIS WOULD BE MY WAY OF GIVING BACK TO THE DISTRICT. MY TWO DAUGHTERS GRADUATED FROM THE F. P. S. BOTH HAS GONE ON TO DO VERY WELL WITH THEIR EDUCATION AND PROFESSION. MY OLDEST IS IN EDUCATION AND MY YOUNGEST IS IN THE BUSINESS WORLD.

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

Educational Justice means that we are an equal body of insisting that each students will get a fair and dutiful education as long as they are part of this school district. Further, if any other services are warranted, they too, will be granted the necessary skills afforded them to enhance their learning prowess.

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

If i had my way, I would bridge a program that would allow for both segments of instruction to take place thus, germinating an atmosphere that the students would have alternatives within the settings where comradery would be able to be established and formative relationships could be achieved along with the academics.

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

Living in a homogenized society, it is imperative that socialization is a part of growth and maturity. We moved here in 2000 from several cities in that state of New York. My daughters weren’t happy having to come my home state of birth, but they later deduced that this environment was a “GIFT” as they were able to see their grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and grow within the Church that I was called to pastor in Detroit. Having that experience they soon discovered that making friends within the community, school, church and programs participation that they accepted the comfortableness rested in their spirit and deduced that in reality life is building relationship, regardless of the environment one might reside, work, play or fraternalize.

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

I could have had some Financers, but mine is self Funded.

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

Formittable educators, Having Counselors who truly know how to address students, having subject matters that will enhance the learning process throughout the academic year and administrators who have good judgement that can bring the families, students and community together to bridge a holistic environment within the grounds of the campus.

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

1. HAVING A SKILLED SUPERINTENDENT.
2 A SERIOUS AND DUTIFUL PRINCIPAL.
3.ONCE AGAIN, WELL TRAINED AND KNOWLEDGEABLE TEACHERS AND COUNSELORS THAT WILL UNDERSTAND TRULY THE NEEDS OF THE 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?

IF THE SCHOOL FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES OF DR. FAUCI, AND THE NURSES STAFF PROVIDES THE NECESSARY GUIDELINES, I BELIEVE THAT THE SCHOOL WOULD HAVE DONE THEIR DUE DILIGENCE. HOWEVER, WE THE PARENTS MUST NOT OBFUSCATE OUR RESPONSIBILITIES TO ENSURE OUR CHILDREN ARE BEING GOOD STEWARDS OF MAINTAINING THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES IN FOLLOWING THE GUIDELINES THAT HAS BEEN MANDATED.

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

The district first priority should be ensuring our children are safe and secure within the building. Next, they you have the adequate learning materials, such as books and equipment for the various classes they are pursuing.

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

Given the fact that educational systems look at the methods of how well our students achieve, to me, it would be imperative that standardized test should serve as a role for the advancement of our students being fully viewed as they prepare for the College Exams where acceptability wouldn’t thwart their opportunity to be accepted into a college of their choice.

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?

Primarily, It wouldn’t behoove me to suggest changes on the curriculum at this point because the history of education has been established and the core curriculum has already been established. However, if there were other courses needing to be implemented, then, given population change in ethnic groups would foster world study courses and diversity classes that will broaden the minds of other students within the community of the school. Lastly, given the bigotry existing in our present society a class in Racism might bridge some gaps of understanding.

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

This candidate believes it is vital. This changing society has wrought much confusion, our politics is brushing fires of disorder and our misjudgement of others is illicinting chaos that it’s easy to believe that people are suffering from assaults words, cruelty and striff.
Thus, is something that can bring hurtful expressions to some and emotional hardship to others. Therefore, it is our called duty to address these matters.

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

Being a retired Peace Officer from New York State we have a charge to ensure the safety of our students, staff and school building itself to guard and protect the residence of our facilities.

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

To ensure that they are being given a fair education and the necessary materials to matriculate as thee other students to garner the knowledge to make themselves knowledgeable to become a productive citizen in our community and in life.
Their education should not arrest them from what all the other students have had to succeed.

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

SIMPLY BEING FAIR TO EVERY CITIZEN WHO ENTERS THE DOORS OF THIS PUBLIC SCHOOL. THIS BEING A PUBLIC INSTITUTION, THEY HAVE RIGHTS, AND WE OUGHT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR PRIVILEGES AS WE WOULD DO FOR OTHERS.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I WILL MERELY SAY, I’VE WORKED FOR FOUR GOVERNORS 2 IN NEW YORK AND 2 IN MICHIGAN. I ALSO, HAVE BEEN BLESSED TO BE APPOINTED BY STAFF MEMBER OF PRESIDENT OBAMA TO WORK WITH THE SECRETARY OF LABOR, SOLIS. I’VE ALSO SERVED AS THE DIRECTOR OF LABOR RELATIONS OF THE LARGEST NATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION, USA.