October 6, 2020

Cinnamon Mellema

Pronouns:She/her
School District:Wayland Union Schools
City:Wayland

How long have you lived in your district?

10 years

Have you received any endorsements?

I have not sought official endorsements

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

To continue to work to help our district safely through the pandemic while also getting kids the best education possible.

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

Educational justice means that kids will have equal opportunities to educational resources within their schools. In my school specifically, it means that kids will be connected with resources and opportunities to achieve more.

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

Our district went with a hybrid model to start the year and the take away everyone agreed upon was that smaller class sizes are better. I will always advocate for smaller class sizes.

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

I think all parents, students, and families should communicate with their Board of Education, teachers, and administrators, so the Board can make informed decisions.

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

My husband and I are my top financial supporters.

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

Small class sizes, equal opportunities for all kids and constant improvement

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

School funding, reasonable assessments, and MDE having a better understanding of their policies for the teachers, support staff and administrators who work with students daily.

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 so many. The biggest concern is the safe return to face to face learning. The second is the financial burden COVID has put on districts. The final challenge is how our politicians have politicized everything about COVID and made it very difficult for the schools to keep our communities united while working through things like masks, hygiene, and social distancing.

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

Our top spending priority is to keep class sizes small. We should work to keep students and staff supported during the pandemic and in the aftermath.

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

They should be used to provide some measure of how we are doing in relation to other schools and the state, but they should not be the beacon by which we guide all of our curriculum. We need to take out the high stakes and simply use them for improvement.

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 add more on sustainability and would increase he assistance available for students who are struggling.

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

I believe that we all have an obligation to support each other and that will go along way for both staff and student well being and mental health. The schools should be well versed in the support options in the community that they can connect students and families with. Social workers in our schools can often make those connections as well as provide some brief counseling with students and families.

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

Restorative circles, when done with fidelity, can be very effective. The best way to build a safe place for students and staff is to start with a culture that is welcoming and can make kids feel safe.

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

Identification of students with special needs and proper services provided to them.

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

I think we all need to look closely at our schools and identify where there are inequities. Only after we take a hard and honest look at ourselves, will we be able to find areas for improvement. Once that is done we can begin to make effective change.

Any other information you want to include or share?