October 4, 2020
School DistrictHarbor Springs Public Schools
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I chose to become a candidate for the Harbor Springs Public Schools Board of Education to provide a fresh voice to the board, representing the best interests of the students, staff, administrators, parents, and community while assisting and guiding the district towards attaining their stated 3-5 year goals, in the strategic plan.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Education justice focuses on creating equitable access to quality resources, including qualified teachers, distribution of technology resources, and access to advanced courses, which enhance the learning environment for all students.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
To reimagine schools after this public health crisis would be to create an environment where schools can focus on key strategic goal areas, such as academics, the culture and learning environment, community involvement, personnel, and operations, aligning the schools goals and objectives, with the strategic plan to achieve success. The public health crisis has forced schools to engage in alternative learning options (online learning), to creatively schedule classes with small class sizes, to create more robust cleaning practices, to get students outside more, and to enhance learning in new ways; I would want to see some of these opportunities continue.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
I believe parent, student, family, and community involvement is paramount when creating goals, objectives, and strategic plans, that will define the success of our district. An organized approach to this involvement through committees, open forums, and parent associations affords equal opportunities for involvement and brings diversity to the group.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
Steve and Adriane Corlew
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
I agree with and fully support the Harbor Springs Public Schools Strategic Plan, which outlines five key priority areas for the district, including Academics, Personnel and Leadership, Community Involvement, Operations, and Culture/Learning Environment.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
At the state level, I would like to see adequate and equitable school funding, improved early literacy achievement, and expanded secondary learning opportunities leveraged and prioritized for the success of the students in the State of Michigan.
What challenges do you anticipate this school year to COVID and what do you think your school district must do to keep students & staff safe?
I appreciate the approach taken by the Harbor Springs Public Schools district in that a school reopening taskforce was formed to proactively prepare for this school year and a safe return to school, whether online or in person. The financial constraints are real and the biggest challenges for our district include, dealing with the day to day unknowns, staffing for both online and in person education, and ensuring the guidelines are being met and enforced.
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 for the district for this year are likely to include an increase in supplies and expenses related to COVID, salaries, and resources, including technology and expenses related to online learning management systems. Continuing to align the budget to the strategic plan and allocating funds to achieve goals and objectives set in the plan should be a top priority. Items not included in the strategic plan should not be prioritized in the budget.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
Standardized test should be viewed as a means to determine if students are keeping pace within their peer group and indicate where remediation and/or acceleration may be needed. Standardized tests provide a snapshot for a student for a specific point in time and should not be the sole measure of student learning. From an instructional perspective, standardized tests can provide mapping to areas of improvement or reinforcement that may be necessary in instructional practices.
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 general, I do not believe it is within the responsibility of the School Board to dictate the curriculum, but rather to ensure the instruction and materials reflect the beliefs, mission, vision, and strategic plan for the district. Instructional practices should be constantly reviewed to ensure best practice and changes should be made when overall student performance does not align with the district goals and needs.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
There is a significant responsibility the district has in supporting the students and staff mental and emotional health and wellbeing. By developing a supportive foundation for the student to gain confidence and trust will allow a better opportunity for learning and growth to take place.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
Student discipline should be reviewed and enforced per the Student Handbook with consistency and follow through with the goal of improved student behavior through collaboration between administrators, teachers, students, and parents.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
The top priorities for the district surrounding special education include having equal access for all types of students to resources and technology; it would also include creating a culture of safety and structure so students can feel empowered to learn and excel academically; research states that children learn best when the school climate reflects a safe and nurturing classroom environment.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
A focused effort on the creation of synergies among students, staff, and administrators would be an opportunity to achieve equity within the district.
Any other information you want to include or share?
I appreciate the opportunity to share my responses to the MEJC School Board Candidate Questionnaire and would value your support in the Election on November 3rd. Please vote!