October 4, 2020

Gina Aiuto

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictRoseville Community Schools
City:Milan

How long have you lived in your district?

34 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Macomb Democratic Club is the only one I’ve solicited and received

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to be a school board member because I believe our community needs a board that reflects the districts students. We are very fortunate to have members who have given many years of service, but I believe they may miss out on having the experience of knowing what students and parents are currently dealing with.

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

To me education justic means equitable public schools for everyone. In the context of my district, I believe we do have strengths with reading coaches and other support staff. There is always room for improvement though, we need to be able to meet students where they are when they come to the district and have the tools available to encourage them to excel no matter what is happening at home.

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

Smaller class sizes, longer breaks at recess and lunch for hand hygeine and brain breaks. Continue involving parents how we need to with virtual schooling, without overburdening them.

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

A motto I learned from 428 Forward a few years ago is “No decisions about us, without us.” The community needs to be involved in planning what will effect their lives. This means that meetings should be announced widely and be accessible for families to attend. We should encourage community participation in every way possible.

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

friends and family

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

Increase reading levels, continue expanding the diverse trades programs in secondary schools, bring in some mental health support and skills for students.

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

Repeal third grade reading laws, increased and equitable funding, and even more access to free preschools.

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?

Schools must have the abilities to space students out and creatively stagger class changes where students would be in the halls together. Janitorial staff needs to be sufficient to keep buildings clean and sanitized. Supplies should be provided in ample amounts so that there is not sharing. Ventilation in classrooms must be looked at room by room as they tend to differ greatly by building and location.

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

Priorities should be made to hire and retain high quality teaching staff and technology updates for functioning high speed internet acces. We need to eliminate concessions made by employees after the housing crash of 2008 and compensate these professionals accordingly. Things that should not be prioritized are short- term and non-essential items. Equipment that needs replacing frequently or doesn’t evolve as needs change.

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

I understand the need to quantitively define how students are doing, I wish I had a great alternative to standardized testing, but I don’t know of anything at this time. I think some things that might help are shorter test taking times, more breaks to move around, and definitely keeping the snacks and breakfasts given during test times. I would like teachers to have more of an input on what is tested and how the tests are scored.

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?

Curriculum should encourage students to be exceptional members of the community, not to pacify the needs of standardized testing. I think that on a semi-often basis there should be discussions about making sure that curriculum matches the modern world. This is starting to be seen with 1:1 technology devices and other updates like that.

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

Schools need to be a safe place where students are cared for in order for them to thrive. Of course teachers also need to be supported to avoid burn out and to retain extraordinary staff. I would love to have more mental health support and holistic programs like mindfulness incorportated in the district.

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

This is something I would like to hold a workshop about with teachers and principals. I would like to make sure that discipline issues are solved without involving any services outside the schools as much as possible while keeping other students and staff safe.

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

Special education is such a diverse topic, I do like that we have a lot of support staff and therapists for those students who need it. Ideally these supports can be reevaluated regularly to make sure that they are meeting the needs of the most students so everyone has a chance to excel.

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

I really like the idea of smaller instructional groups when possible so students at different levels can get more specific help. I like the free meals in the district so everyone can thrive with a full belly. I would like to expand school libraries instead of remove them so some who don’t have access to books outside the classroom can get them. I would like to have community mutual aid pantries at the schools so jackets, gloves, toothpaste, other hygeine products, etc can be given out when needed.

Any other information you want to include or share?