October 4, 2020

Christopher Vos, Jr.

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictPlymouth-Canton Community Schools
City:Canton

How long have you lived in your district?

19 years

Have you received any endorsements?

no

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I am running because I want all students to have what I had: schools with caring adults who lovingly help them become the people they want to be.
So many of our students are struggling with all kinds of challenges at home, which inevitably affects their ability to focus and succeed in school. This makes the role of schools in creating safe and loving spaces even more critical. It also means that we have to look at the educational system in context.

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

Education justice is the struggle to bridge the unequal access to quality and well-rounded education within the public school system. This includes accessibility to knowledge that is not usually included in public school curricula, such as empathy education, media/advertising education, power dynamics, organizing tools, etc.
Plymouth Canton has two things to focus on for education justice:
Curriculum and Methods: Often curricula in schools today are disconnected from students’ realities. Many youth are unable to grasp the relevance of what they are learning in public schools, and struggle to connect what is being taught to what they actually need to learn to survive happily and healthily in their communities. To add to the frustration, the methods in which subjects are being taught are disengaging and do not cater to all types of learners.
Economic Caste System: Knowledge is power, and our school systems today are funded and built in such a way to provide a better education to those who live in wealthier neighborhoods.
While our high schools are very diverse and offer the same opportunities to students of diverse nationalities, colors, creeds, our middle schools and elementary schools fall short of this. Compare the playgrounds at Bird with the playgrounds at Bentley and Eriksson. The passage of the 2020 Bond will do much to overcome the physical gap that students encounter. Much needs to be done outside of this to bridge the educational gap.

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

Well being of students and teachers will need to be of highest priority. It’s now clear that without their teachers’ care and support it’s hard for many young people to stay well and focused. Being well, we’ll appreciate, isn’t an alternative to being successful. It’s an essential precondition for achievement, especially among our most vulnerable children.
More gratitude for Teachers.
There will have to be a related push for vocational skills and training, and higher status for schools and programs that provide it.

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

Trust and parental participation are also features of a successful school. Trust between all parties of the school community is vital for enhancing the school’s effectiveness because it supports the prospect that parents and teachers believe in each other’s motives and actions. Parental participation is also important because it sends the message to students that the adults in their lives–both teachers and parents–believe in the importance of education and are willing to make time to support students’ educational experiences and efforts.

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

Family and friends

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

Equity for all students.
Fiscal responsibility.
Trust between parents/community and leadership.

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

Change to way Michigan schools are funded
Equity for all students
Public school support a priority over charter schools

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

Better digital resources. As money gets tighter, families on the edge of poverty should not have to choose between maintaining internet services or putting food on the table.
Better communication between district leadership and families.

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

Facility upkeep and cleaning.
Teachers salaries. Professional development that is meaningful.
Money for specials, art, band, gym.

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

Assessing student achievement, evaluating programs and create educational policy.

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 think our curriculum is top notch and being lead and managed by some very qualified individuals.

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

Well being of students and teachers will need to be of highest priority. It’s now clear that without their teachers’ care and support, it’s hard for many young people to stay well and focused. Being well, we’ll appreciate, isn’t an alternative to being successful. It’s an essential precondition for achievement, especially among our most vulnerable children.

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

We profess to have a no tolerance policy for many issues such as weapons, bullying, threats. We need to enforce this policy 100% of the time.

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

This is one area that I am lacking information on. I am currently working on educating myself in the area of special education and it’s needs in our district.

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

I am running because I want all students to have what I had: schools with caring adults who lovingly help them become the people they want to be.
So many of our students are struggling with all kinds of challenges at home, which inevitably affects their ability to focus and succeed in school. This makes the role of schools in creating safe and loving spaces even more critical. It also means that we have to look at the educational system in context.

Any other information you want to include or share?