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    2020 School Board Candidates

    Milan Area Schools

October 9, 2020

Thomas Faro

Pronouns: he/him
School District: Milan Area Schools
City: Milan

How long have you lived in your district?

3.5 years

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

My love for the Milan community and MAS is my motivation for running. Both of my children attend MAS and have been blessed with extraordinary teachers. I believe my professional background , and my active engagement in the community will serve as assets on the BOE. I will be an advocate for all students and for our amazing teachers and support staff. I will be open , accessible , and transparent about the path forward during these challenging times.

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

Equality and providing a safe and superior educational experience for all students. We must be continually mindful of our mission , which is to ‘prepare all students to realize the best version of themselves and by creating a supportive , caring , and inclusive educational community’. Not every student has an interest in going off to college. Some students may have an interest in trades , joining the military , or pursuing other interests that do not include a college education. MAS has a responsibility to prepare students , through a well-rounded learning environment , and for life after high school. In addition , time and attention must be spent on addressing the lack of diversity in the district. A concerted effort should be made at recruiting , and retaining , highly qualified , and diverse professionals. One way to do this is to review/consider how and where the district is recruiting.

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

COVID is proving to be extraordinarily stressful for teachers and students. I always knew MAS had outstanding , caring , and committed teachers and support staff. I also know that there is a greater appreciation for our teachers , and for face-to-face instruction , as a result of COVID. In the immediate future , I believe our teachers and students may need access to mental health professionals , to discuss and address the anxiety/stress they are experiencing. Their health and well-being need to be a priority.

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

MAS needs to engage in consistent strategic planning with active and significant community participation. The strategic planning recently conducted by MAS was very good. There was a good mix of stakeholders involved in the process. Goals and expectations were clearly defined and effectively communicated. If elected , I will solicit additional parent/community input and engagement. Also , our professional teachers and building administrators need to be engaged more frequently on their ideas and suggestions on curriculum improvement/development.

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

Self-funded

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

1. Assist MAS with its mission of ‘preparing students to realize the best version of themselves and by creating a supportive , caring , and inclusive educational community.’
2. Work with the balance of BOE on establishing policy and district goals.
3. Acquire distinct familiarity and knowledge of the district’s budget.

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

1. Standardized testing should not be the primary focus on evaluating student or teacher performance/achievement , especially this year.
2. I am worried about next year’s per-pupil funding from the state. Legislators need to work together to secure more funding for public education in Michigan.
3. Advocate for increasing access to mental health professionals/resources.

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?

This is a very stressful time for teachers , students , administrators , and parents. MAS has done a very good job of securing PPE through CARES Act funding. The CARES Act funding helped MAS return most students to a hybrid learning model , which involves both in-person and virtual instruction. In order for MAS to return to face-to-face instruction on a daily basis , these decisions must be based on local health conditions and analysis of public health data. Careful planning and risk mitigation are imperative for the safety of our teachers , students , and support/admin staff.

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 our top spending priorities should be teacher/student safety , instruction , curriculum , and staff development and technology. In terms of the MAS budget , conditions could necessitate a return to full virtual for all students and , thus , a need for additional technology/equipment. If we return to full face-to-face instruction , there will be more students in the buildings. If there are more students in the buildings , there will be a need for additional PPE , cleaning , sanitizing , etc. If there are more students attending school , there will be an increase in transportation costs , etc.

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

NWEA testing has already taken place. Due to COVID , and as a result of hybrid or all virtual learning models , I hoped there would be a waiver to the federal requirement to administer the M-STEP test this spring. Unfortunately , the U.S. Dept. of Education has relayed that waivers will not be granted. I feel time/resources could be better spent on catching our students up on the learning loss from the past several months.

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?

MAS is blessed with an excellent team of professional teachers and building administrators. I believe they need to be engaged more frequently on their ideas and suggestions on based curriculum improvement or curriculum development. In addition , the BOE needs to allocate sufficient resources for continued professional development and evidence-based learning experiences for all of our administrators , principals , teachers , and support staff.

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

As stated earlier , teachers and students are experiencing extraordinary stress at this time. It’s important that our teachers and students have access to mental health professionals , to discuss and address the anxiety/stress they are experiencing. MAS needs to be prepared to properly address these current and future challenges.

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

First , good policy is important to address the core issues related to disciplinary issues. In some cases , for non-physical/threatening situations , stipulations for a return to school , like counseling , are necessary and appropriate. Restorative justice is intended to assist students with expressing remorse for their actions and resolving conflicts with one another.

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

In my opinion , the best learning environment is face-to-face instruction , if local health data/conditions and all risk mitigation measures are in place to protect our students , teachers , and support staff. Until then , we need to look at alternative (outside of the box) strategies to address the unique needs of our special education population. IEPs need to be high quality and well-structured despite the current challenges. In addition , frequent engagement with parents and providing informal student assessments are important.

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

Equity in education means providing services , resources , programs , and support that is needed for all students to be successful.

Any other information you want to include or share?

My wife , Kelly , and I were active with the Symons Middle School PTO. I participated in the MAS strategic planning process and I am one of the representatives on the Return-To-School Task Force. I’ve served in leadership roles. I’ve coached youth soccer teams , served as a Club President (Farmington SC) , and as a League President (Western Suburban Soccer League). I was a member of US Youth Soccer’s Governance Task Force and served as Risk Management Committee Chairman for US Youth Soccer , in the recent past. Currently , I serve as President of Uptown Village (Milan) Homeowners Association.

October 9, 2020

Michelle R. Heikka

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

How long have you lived in your district?

10 years

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Education transformed my life. I was the first member of my family to attend college because my grandmother taught me that my life could be different and that I did not have to repeat the same patterns of the women that came before me. The first step in breaking that pattern was to graduate from high school , an accomplishment denied both my mother and grandmother. I do not take for granted the opportunities afforded me after I took that first step.

I also , unfortunately , know the helplessness a parent feels when fighting for educational services and assistance for their children.

These experiences inform every decision I make on the Board. I am dedicated to ensuring that Milan Area Schools provides the transformative education and experiences the children of Milan deserve , regardless of their race , gender identity , sexuality , ability , culture , socio-economic status , or background. All children deserve the opportunity to take that important first step.

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

Education justice means providing all students the transformative education that changed my life path. It requires everyone in the learning community to acknowledge their own unconscious bias. It also requires us to understand and appreciate systemic racism , and how historic systemic racism impacts not only past learners , but current learners as well.

In the context of Milan Area Schools , education justice requires us to build an educational environment in which we focus on the whole child. We must meet that child where they are educationally , socially , behaviorally , health wise , economically , and culturally and understand that a child’s life experiences , and the experiences of the adults around them , inform that child’s current performance and must inform how we assist that child.

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

The COVID-19 health crisis made clear what many of us in education already knew: Much more than learning happens in our buildings. Schools provide shelter , clothing , food , mental and physical health services , safety , and much more to our students. Unfortunately , the funding and support provided to schools fails to reflect the many functions we ask schools to perform. A reimagined education would fully fund all the social functions performed by schools to provide not only a high-quality education , but social workers , behavioral specialists , nurses , and other professionals required to perform those functions.

The crisis amplified the growing digital divide between our students. In Milan Area Schools too many students do not have access to reliable internet , software , or hardware. A reimagined school closes this digital divide to equitably educate and prepare our children for the jobs of the 21st century.

Lastly , while unrelated to the health crisis , a reimagined school provides a safe learning environment in which children and staff were not forced to participate in lock down drills or active shooter training.

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

All stakeholders should be involved in making decisions in Milan Area Schools. In February , the Board of Education brought together various stakeholders , including parents/guardians/trusted adults , business leaders , elected officials , teachers , staff , and administrators to develop a multi-year strategic plan for the district. The collaborative work performed that day made clear what we already knew , Milan Area Schools’ stakeholders put our children first.

Input from our stakeholders is critical to the governing process. I always encourage stakeholders to attend meetings , contact board members , or even stop us at Kroger or on the ball fields to let us know what is working and what is not. Additionally , participation in the many surveys sent to our stakeholders is critical to guiding our decision-making process.

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

I have largely funded this campaign myself. I have one financial supporter , my dear mother-in-law who insisted on making a donation to support the continuance of the work I’ve done while serving on the Board of Education.

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

The lack of diversity among our administration , teachers , and staff is unacceptable. I have pushed the administration to rethink how they recruit candidates to increase the diversity among our candidate pool. I recently voted against hiring new candidates because the administration relied on its normal protocols for locating them. Protocols that continuously fail to diversify our staff. I also voted against laying off one of Milan’s two African American teachers. I will continue to hold the administration accountable for the lack of diversity in our schools.

Managing the budget is one of the most important Board responsibilities. Milan receives the lowest possible foundation grant from the state. While the state may believe our children’s education is worth less than others , in Milan , we believe our children are worth so much more.

Milan has a history of providing a platinum education on an aluminum budget. Squeezing every dollar in a budget requires careful scrutiny and attention to the actual needs of the District. I have a history of voting no on spending items and budgets that did not align with our budget constraints or District priorities. If re-elected , I will continue to scrutinize every budget request and vote no if the requested spending is not designed to , first and foremost , provide the best possible educational opportunities for our children.

Providing a top-notch education requires top-notch teachers , staff , and administrators. We must use our budget to retain and attract highly qualified and diverse educators.

Lastly , we must communicate better with our parents and other stakeholders. Now is the time for us to be more transparent , not less. That’s why I pushed the administration to include a COVID-19 dashboard on the school website. Stakeholders can now see the number of positive cases and those quarantined in any school building.

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

In this budget cycle , our state leaders worked together to craft an education budget that left Michigan schools largely unscathed. The negotiations were a great example of what can happen when politicians put party identity aside and work together to put our children first. Those funding levels must be maintained in the 2021 – 2022 school year. We must stop balancing the state budget on the backs of our children and teachers.

Over the past several years , the State has used the School Aid Fund for budget priorities other than K-12 education. The raiding of the School Aid Fund must stop.

Per pupil funding should equitably reflect the cost of educating individual children. Not every child needs or receives the same services. As such , it doesn’t cost the same amount to educate every child. School funding should reflect the actual cost of educating our children.

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

Our first and foremost priority is to keep our learning community as safe as possible. We must strictly adhere to our current safety protocols and continually review those protocols and amend them as appropriate to address the changing landscape.

Milan was at the forefront of designing a hybrid and virtual learning environment. Indeed , many nearby districts are now implementing plans similar to the plan implemented in Milan. We must continue to support our teachers , staff , learners , and parents/guardians/caregivers. Like many others , I am working full-time and teaching fifth grade math , high school advanced algebra , and listening to seventh grade band all at the same time. I am also watching my teacher husband , friends , and neighbors spend countless hours ensuring their students are prepared to learn. We are all stretched further than we imagined possible. We must provide all those in our learning community the supports necessary to keep us all going through this tough time.

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

In February , the Board of Education brought together various stakeholders , including parents/guardians/trusted adults , business leaders , elected officials , teachers , staff , and administrators to develop a multi-year strategic plan for the district. The strategic plan reflects the community’s priorities for our children and their futures. We must use the budget to implement the strategic plan , otherwise the hard work in February would have been a waste.

While providing a safe learning environment for our children , teachers , staff , and administrators was always a top priority , the pandemic brought new safety issues and concerns to address. We must ensure that the budget provides the supplies and equipment needed to comply with guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control , various Executive Orders , the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration , and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Additionally , providing a top-notch education requires top-notch teachers , staff , and administrators. We must use our budget to retain and attract highly qualified and diverse educators.

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

Standardized tests present a small snapshot of a particular moment. They fail to take-into-account a child’s personal history , including how many schools that child attended in the last year , whether that child had a place to sleep the night before , or ate breakfast before the test. Yet our children , staff , teachers , and administrators are evaluated based on those incomplete snapshots.

Milan Area Schools has taken very deliberate steps to use the “data” collected from standardized tests to best inform instruction for individual children , and for the District as a whole. Teachers , staff , and administrators take part in “Data Days” at which they dig deep into the data to learn what skills may be lacking and address accordingly. Paddock Elementary School set specific curriculum based on a skill gap identified by the data. This data also demonstrated curriculum gaps in social studies and science. Prior to COVID , the District was exploring new curriculum for these subjects.

While these statements may seem incompatible , the reality is we must find a balance. We cannot over test our children. The Michigan requirement that we test our children in the middle of a pandemic is untenable. We cannot allow our children to measure their self-worth or their intelligence by a test score. We have to make sure they understand they are so much more and have talents not measured by a standardized test. Given the State requirements to test our children , we should take advantage of the data provided and plan our instruction accordingly.

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?

In recent years , Milan Area Schools has focused more on an equitable approach to learning. Incorporating diverse stories , histories , pictures , and points-of-view enhances the lives of all learners and improves outcomes. One of our principals reported a story in which a little boy was overjoyed because the characters in the book looked like him. Children should see themselves in our curriculum and in our staff , teachers , and administrators every day.

Not only does inclusive curriculum improve outcomes but working within an inclusive and diverse environment is a 21st century skill that our children can no longer afford for us to ignore. The future workforce and environment will be more diverse and inclusive and we must prepare our children to work within that environment.

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

The reality is that our schools often provide many students with the only available access to mental and emotional health services. The COVID pandemic exasperated not only the need for , but also the lack of availability of these services. To address this issue , Milan Area Schools continues to hire social workers and behavioral specialists to assist our students. Our teachers and staff are focused on a trauma informed approach to education and discipline. Children cannot learn if their mental health needs go unaddressed. For this reason , Milan Area Schools has chosen to focus on the whole child , including their mental health.

We are asking more from our staff and teachers than ever before. We’ve asked them to simultaneously teach kids in-person and virtually , use all new technology , and continue to provide the safe community and other services they have always provided our students. We must provide our teachers and staff the support they need to get through this difficult time.

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

Discipline is on-going concern in districts across the state. As stated earlier , schools often provide the only available access to mental and emotional health services. Our families also face more food and housing insecurity and other socio-economic stresses than ever before. These stressors often present themselves as behavioral issues. To address these issues , Milan Area Schools continues to hire social workers and behavioral specialists to assist our students. Our teachers and staff are focused on a trauma informed and equitable approaches to education and discipline.

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

We must continue to fight for special education funding by holding the WISD accountable for its spending. Monies spent by the WISD directly impact the remaining funding for local districts. We can no longer afford to write a blank check to the WISD. Milan Area Schools often votes to not approve the WISD budget because it fails to hold its own spending in check. I will continue to advocate for spending limits at the WISD to allow those dollars to trickle down to the local districts and students in need.

An equitable education meets our children , all children regardless of their ability , where they are. Kids requiring special education services are no different. We must provide all of our students the services and tools they need to become the best version of themselves.

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

I know first-hand the transformative power of education. My education changed the trajectory of my life. All children , regardless of their race , gender identity , sexuality , ability , culture , socio-economic status , or background deserve the opportunity to learn , not only the state mandated education , but who they are and who they are meant to become.

We must build an educational environment in which we focus on the whole child. We must meet that child where they are educationally , socially , behaviorally , health wise , economically , and culturally and understand that a child’s life experiences , and the experiences of the adults around them , inform that child’s current performance and must inform how we assist that child.

I am motivated to provide the education and experiences that will allow our children to realize their full potential and become the singer/song writer , musician , sculptor , writer , activist , scientist , machinist , builder , parent , coach , community leader , or careers not yet invented that they were meant to become.

Any other information you want to include or share?

Thank you for taking the time to read my responses and consider my candidacy. Thank you also for caring enough about our schools and our community to research the candidates and vote.

October 4, 2020

George Elder IV

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictMilan Area Schools
City:Westland

How long have you lived in your district?

10 Years

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

My desire to be a Milan Area Schools Board of Education member is rooted in wanting the best for my children and the children of Milan. Our current board has fallen short in creating a culture of equity in the schools and in the hiring process. Our children suffer when others are singled out as the elite. Cliques are created, bullying surfaces. The hiring process has become a matter of ‘who’ you are, whose family you are a part of, is more important than your qualifications, skills, and experience. In the end, our children suffer. It’s time for the MAS BOE to be held accountable. I will do this by asking questions, researching, being involved and standing up for what is right for our children.

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

One organization’s vision states: “creating a world that honors every child’s potential”. All children have the right to an education that is of the same standard and caliber as all of their peers. Geography, race, religion, socioeconomic status, special needs should play no role in the quality of the learning provided. Milan Area Schools must strive to create an environment that honors every child’s potential by valuing all children and not creating cliques/groups of ‘cool kids’ because of who their parents/families are. We are failing our children in this area and need to address it now.

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

This is one area I think we all will have very similar ideas. In a perfect world, all of our children will be treated fairly and justly, be treated with respect and care by everyone, be successful in everything they do, be given the education they need in order to be successful, and are safe every moment of every day. School is so much more than a building. It’s the people. In this perfect school, there is no illness, inequity, injustice, unfairness, uncertainty, fear, or failure.

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

Parents, students, and families should be involved in the decision-making process as much as possible. The schools have student leadership opportunities. Surveys, round-table sessions, and other protocols should be used to seek the input of the students. Surveys, coffee chats, etc. should be used to get the input of parents and families. When parents speak at BOE Meetings, their input should be taken seriously, questions answered in an expedient manner and suggestions followed up with. Our students and families are an under-utilized source of information, ideas, and solutions.

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

Myself

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

1. Increase Student Achievement through highly effective educators, research-based pedagogy, workshop model and data-driven instruction.
2. Continue to create a safe environment for our children with staff trainings/PD, maintain safety procedures in place and tweak as needed to meet the needs of the ever-changing environment.
3. Ensure the needs of our children with special needs are being met by researching, asking questions, and working with stakeholders to improve current practices to better meet those needs.

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

1. Ensure that our Title and Grant funds are being used with fidelity by investigating, asking questions, and expanding my knowledge base of this funding.
2. A priority at the state level is to ensure that all stakeholders are adhering to the state guidelines.
3. Ensure that state policies are being upheld and followed by all stakeholders.

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 the schools have faced this year are unprecedented. I’ve heard it said, “we are building the plane as we fly it.” Plans change daily. Numbers drop and climb. We are all doing our best to move forward and press on for the sake of our children. There are many challenges that face us each day. The state has given strict guidelines that must be adhered to in order to help ensure the safety of our children. These protocols are not perfect though because our children are human. Keeping social distance when children want to hug and play together; when student-dialog is one of the most effective best practices in teaching; having a 5 year old cover his mouth when sneezing/coughing, let alone keep a mask on is a challenge itself. Another challenge is to get all the materials that every district in the country is ordering is difficult. Back orders, poor quality, etc. create frustration for all involved. Shields, masks, hand sanitizer, thermometers, dividers, technology are all in high demand around the country. Milan has created a plan in compliance with the state guidelines. Our goal should be to get our children back in school full-time as soon as possible, while keeping our children as safe as possible.

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

Milan Area Schools has done a great job of keeping a balanced budget. In these uncertain times with loss of revenue, extra expenses, and needs, it is vital to stay in the black. Thankfully, the CARES Act is helping with issues/costs related to COVID. In looking at the budget in general, I feel that our biggest investment should be in our people. Curriculum and technology are only as good as the people facilitating it’s use. Milan is filled with caring, enthusiastic, driven, intelligent staff that strive for the excellence of MAS. My focus is on keeping and attracting highly effective educators and staff.

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

Standardized tests play a three part role in education. Although, they are not all-inclusive in indicating a child’s ability and intelligence, it is what we are mandated to do.
First, MStep and NWEA provide a roadmap to addressing the needs of our district in the education of our children district-wide. A data-dig allows the district to find where we are succeeding and where we need to work to improve.
Secondly, each building in the district further desegregates this data to find the needs and successes of that particular building.
Thirdly, further breakdown of the information brings out the needs and successes of each individual student.
These tests should drive our instruction and focus for our district, buildings, and students.

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?

As I stated before, people are our greatest investment. Research-backed curriculum is important, but without strong delivery, even the best curriculum with fail our children. The pedagogy is vital to the success of our children. Workshop model, based on data-driven information to meet the individual needs of our children will far out-weigh the effectiveness of the latest curriculum on the market.

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

Mental/Emotional Wellbeing
Over time, our responsibilities have increased when considering the mental and emotional wellbeing of our children. Mental health is a major issue that society is just coming around to acknowledge. Add to that the seclusion and depression brought on by Covid19, we need to take action. Children can’t learn until their basic needs have been met. In order to improve student achievement, we must help those in need. One can’t happen without the other. Having social workers work with classes, small groups, and individual students will help address the issue. Title 1 funds, and now Care Act funds, may support such a venture. Our children need interventions that our day-to-day curriculum does not address. Again, a child’s basic needs must be met in order for them to learn.

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

Milan Area Schools has a reputation for being a safe place for children and I will strive to keep that going. Discipline is not cut and dry as it was ‘back in the day’. Relationships are key to developing a safe environment and in dealing with issues. Without these relationships, with students and families, we can not have the changes in the individual child in order to improve the problem behavior. Milan teachers and staff work hard to develop these behaviors in our children. My focus would be to help aid in building relationships in any way I can.
Secondly, clear expectations need to be continually established so that student and families know what is expected. Daily review in the classrooms, weekly/monthly review in the buildings by the administration, and monthly/quarterly district-wide review of the expectations will reinforce and clarify these expectations. I will gladly be part of this by being involved in the buildings, board meetings, district meetings and events.
Finally, in order to protect our children from outside factors, teachers and staff need training in what to do in case of an armed intruder. Some districts have had scenario training in which staff have ‘acted out’ real-life situations in order to be more prepared. While these trainings are emotional and difficult, they are highly beneficial and leave those involved feeling more prepared for possible situations.

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

As a parent of a child with special needs, it has become abundantly clear that our children are falling through the cracks. Admittedly, the new hybrid model may be the cause for some of the issues and we learn to navigate this new system. Our children with special needs should never be left to fail. The number of children is climbing. The state pushes back and slaps the hand of schools who are identifying a high number of students. We need to stand strong and continue to identify children with special needs, continue to put plans for success in place, and do what is best for our children.

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

“the quality of being fair and impartial” Fair is not always equal. What is best for my oldest child is not what is best for my youngest. As a district, we must look at the individual needs of the child, then the children as a whole. What is not equitable is the singling out of children/families thus creating cliques and bullying situations. While it is important to acknowledge the donations and offerings of businesses to our buildings, it is detrimental to the children to then blatantly single out the children of these businesses. When we do this, it causes a ‘cool kid’ group. If you are not a part of the this group, you are not cool. This has to stop. All children, regardless of socioeconomic status, are OUR children. All children, regardless of race, are OUR children. All children, regardless of religion or gender, are OUR children. It’s not them and us – it’s US, WE, OUR! Period.
Racism has no place in society and/or especially in our schools! As a father of children of different races, I am passionate about equality and will stand against racism at every opportunity.

Any other information you want to include or share?