October 4, 2020

Jamie Grant

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictHuron School District New Boston
City:New Boston

How long have you lived in your district?

12 Years

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I want to be a School board memeber so I can help students, families, teachers, the district and our community grow in a positive environment. As a school board member, I want to find ways to help improve our schools and community. I have been in education for over 20 years. I have served as an educator, mentor, coach, facilitator, department head, and chairperson of many communittees and the one thing I know is that you need to be a team player to help make change. I have participate on many athletic, professional and educational teams. I have been in many roles on those teams from leader to grinder and the one thing I learned as a leader is to listen to the grinders. As a school board member, one of the first thing I would do is to take time getting to know the district more. Going into the buildings to see the administrators, teachers and students. Learning and asking ways to improve the district. Not only having my own agenda but listening to others that are doing the work everyday and making their needs part of my agenda. I believe my teamwork attitude, hard work ethics and backgound in education would help me achieve my main goal of wanting to be a school board member, to help others.

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

Education Justice is making sure all students and families have the support they need to achieve emotionally and academically. In today’s society we hear so much about equality for all. In education, we have to make sure that all students have the support they need to achieve. I realize that it will not look the same way for every student. Each student has their own hurdles to overcome. If it is lack of food, to learning disabilities, to socially-emotionally problems, every student needs support to achieve. I believe it is our job, as a school board memeber, to make sure the administrators, teachers, health care aides and everyone in the students life have the support they need to help our students achieve.
For Huron school district, I know we have some great support systems. Adding full time Social workers is one positive step we took. Another positive strive we continue to work on is the Character education aspect with the Leader in Me program. However, I do believe we need to work on our “gap students”. The students that do not score lower enough on placement test to qualify for an IEP. Those students that fall through the cracks. They are C students that just get by. I believe we need to target those students and help them reach their full potential. We need to support our teachers and famlies to find ways to help those students feel supported so they can reach the next level.

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

With Covid changing the way the work force now operates and many people working from home we see two very important issues emerging. How important technology is and the need for socal interaction face to face. If I could reimagine what schools look like after Covid, I would start with what Covid brought us. More students now have access to laptops, iPads, and computers. Students have learned how to communicate through these devices through email and virtaul classes. I believe in some ways we need to keep this going. To take a positive out of this virtual learning. Teachers have adjusted to the way they have thought about how to teach and I hope we continue that trend to help our students to be more prepared for today’s workforce. The need for social interaction face to face is at an all time high. I believe we need to take this opportunity to teach students how to stop communicating only through texts and social media and establish ways for these students to learn the value of personal interaction. Find ways to teach students the imortance of not pulling out your phone when sitting with friends at lunch or dinner but instead to take interest in others. I believe we are living in a “Me” world and students need to learn to care about others and what others think or care about not just about me and taking selfies of myself.

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

The best way for parents, students and families could help with making decisions within their school distirct is to be informed on what is going on in that dstrict. I believe that Huron needs to work on communicating with their families on what is going on in the distrcit as a whole and not what is just happening in their students’ building. Parents need more information on what is going on in the district to help make decisions. For example, as a parent I am not sure if the School Board has a Vision plan for the future of the district. If they do, then they need to find a better way to communicate to parents what it is. Huron school disrict needs to work on their ways of communicating to the parents and give more information to the parents for them to be able to make any decision that could help impact the district.

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

None

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

My top three educational goals in Huron school district are:
1. Communication. I believe the district needs to develop a better way to communicate to the families what is going on in the district. They need to be more transparent to the families so our students, teachers and parents feel more involved in the district.
2. Curriculum. I believe we need to take a look at all of our current curricula and reevaluate each one. I would like to see a team of teachers review the current curricula, research to see what new curricula are out there that are highly effective at raising student achievement scores and creating lifelong learners. Then have those teachers develop professional developments to educate our teachers on the best strategies to deliver the curricula to our students to prepare them for college.
3. Help improve. The current school board is tackling a lot of issues right now. I would like to learn what they are working on and find ways to improve them. I believe that is one of my strength is being a positive team player. I do not plan on joining the school board and making a bunch of changes. I want to get on the school board and find out how I can help the school board and district improve on what they are doing now.

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

My top three educational goals at the state level are:
1. Funding. I believe that funding for schools should be a major priority at our state capital. I believe with proper commnication to our families about political issues that are facing our school district, we can help families have a voice on the state level. Our families are the ones that vote these politicians in so they should be informed on what these politicians are voting on. I believe the school board could help inform parents what is going on at the state level for school funding.
2. Grants. The state this year helped many districts recieve grants so students would have chromebooks or laptops at home to continue their education. I believe that the state needs to continue to help district find grants that are avaible to help district fund their schools needs.
3. Teachers. I feel that teachers are constantly under attack and would like to find ways to support our teachers so they could concentrate on educating our students and not worried about what cuts the state is doing to them.

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?

A major challenge for this school year will be to keep students in seat and at the schools. We know that students learn better face to face and that teachers perform better when the students are there. The best way to keep students and staff safe is to constantly monitor the situations that arise and adjust to them appropriately. There is no one thing that will keep everyone safe but having the attitude of adopt and overcome will help us adjust when needed. The school district needs to keep open communication to the staff and provide any professional development that will help staff adjust to every changing enviroment that they are teaching in. If the support comes in the form of helping teachers adjust the curriculum or change protocols and procedures in the lunch room, the district needs to be there. The district also needs to have an open communication with the parents and let them know when and why adjustments need to be made. The more families are informed the more secure they feel sending their students to school.

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 priority in the budget should be curriculum change with professional development. I beleive in some academic areas that we need to develop more professional development to help educate our teachers on best practices and strategies to educate our students. I would like to see a curriculum team devleoped for the district to help over see all curriculum change and development of professional development. I know usually the administrators are in charge of professional development for their staff. I beleive that this curriculum team could really help the administrators be more effective on delievering curriculum changes to the teachers. This curriculum team would help teachers to teach the curriculum so students achievement would increase. When teachers can find different ways to deliever the material and subject areas then they will help students better understand what they should be learning. The more equipped teachers are the more students achieve.
To be honest, what should not be a top priority in the budget, I am not sure. I wold have to spend more time with the budget to be able to determine that.

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

Standardized test should be used as a self evaluation for the student, teacher and district. The students could use it to see what areas they need to work on. A teacher could use the testing to see what his/her current students know and need to work on. District should use it to see what areas and curriculum may need improvement. Together the district and the teacher could use standardize testing as part of the teacher evaluation. Using pre and post test can help see student growth and how effective a teacher is being. However, I do not believe it should be a major factor in a teachers evalution. To many uncontroled aspects can play into a students growth that is out of the teaachers control.

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 believe a curriculum team needs to be developed. This teams core responsibility is to evaluate the current curriculum and develop professional development for the teachers to help implement it. The professional development would be based on best practices and strategies that teachers could use to help students understand and grow. The curriculum team would constantly research other curriculums to make sure we are up to date.

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

Some educators and administrtors would say that it is important but it is just another thing to add to there plate. I would say that it is the plate. If students and staff feel safe and suported then they are in the right frame of mind to learn and teach. Not only do we need to make sure we have a safe environment for all but we need to educate them on how to adjust to an ever changing environment. For example, students need to be educated on how to deal with a bully but teachers need to be educated on how to help a student stand up to those bullies. I believe the Leader in Me character education program that Brown and Miller elementary has implemented will help both staff and students mental and emotional wellbeing, however, I believe we need to do more as a district to promote that safe environment for all.

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

Student discipline is not a one sloution sovle all problems. I believe students need to know that there are consequences for their actions. I believe for common offenses students need to know the consequences ahead of time. However, as educators we are trained to deal with the whole student. So when disciplining a student we need to look at why the student is doing it. His family life, academics, support group and friends. Students act out for many reasons and teachers or principals need to look at not only what they did but why they did it and discipline from there. At the end of the day we are here to help students grow into contributing members of society and discipling a student may look different for each student to help them get there.
The best way to make the school safe for staff and students is to show them that you care. As an educator I learned something really quick, “Students do not care what you know until the know that you care.” I think that can be apply to teachers, administrators and parents.

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

A top priority around Special Education for me in the district is better communication with parents, teacher and the special education team. My son came to Huron with a 504 at the end of 5th grade. His 5th grade teacher did a wonderful job accommondating him for his needs. However, last year when he went into the middle school some teachers did not know he had a 504. So communication from building to building is a huge concern.

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

I will always work to make sure there is equality for all no matter race, gender, age or any other factor. I am an Asian man with two boys that go to Huron. I believe that the Asian population in Huron is around 1%. I believe it was the same back in the 90’s when I graduate from Huron. In my time and now, I do not see any equality happening. I came back to Huron to raise my family not for the diversity but for the small town feeling where everyone cares for everyone. My boys have not experience any equilty yet. Not saying that it is not out there but I believe Huron is a community where people believe that it takes a village to raise a child and that we care not only for our kids but others.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I would like everyone to know that I believe that I am the best candidate for Huron School Board for two reasons: my experience in education and my work ethic. I have been teaching in the Troy School District for the past 20 years at Leonard Elementary. In those 20 years I have served on Leonard’s leadership team for 6 years. Three of the years I lead the committee. I am currently the Elementary Physical Education Department Head for the past 10 years. I lead Leonard’s character education program for the past 3 years. I have served, and continue to serve, on numerous district-wide committees. I have attended and facilitated many conferences and professional developments that help me strive to improve both myself and my school, with the ultimate beneficiary being the students. I believe in leading by example and that is why I know I will have a positive impact on our children’s futures if elected to the Huron School Board.