October 4, 2020

Jeff Cyprus

Pronouns:He/Him
School DistrictL’Anse Creuse Public Schools
City:Harrison Charter Township

How long have you lived in your district?

7 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Yes; NEA, MEA-Local 1, LCEA

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

After serving ten years active duty in the Marine Corps, the call to serve is still strong. I feel the best way to serve my community is as a member of the board of education. I have 16 years of educational and curriculum development experience that will be a new perspective for our board of education.

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

Educational justice to me is ensuring every student ahs the same access and opportunities to excel in the classroom. This encompasses adequate resources, quality educators, and ensure that we prepare our students for life after graduation.

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

The ideal school after this pandemic would look like our current classes. Smaller classes would make everything more efficient and successful in the classroom. Smaller classes allows for more one on one time with the teacher and is much easier for the teacher to control. The state budget, as of 9/23, tentatively allocates $53 million in hazard pay for teachers and $20 million for support staff. It would be great to continue this extra pay to show these amazing employees how important and appreciated they are.

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

Parents, students, and families should be involved in School Board meetings to understand the issues in the district and make their options heard. The residents of the district elect the Board of Education. These are representatives of the district. Families and parents should reach out to their board members and make them aware of their opinions. One of the best things that I have seen come out of this pandemic is School Board meetings packed with parents and students. This needs to continue in to the future.

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

Self

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

My top three goals are to continue to maintain a balanced budget with a healthy general fund, improve out STEM programs at the secondary level, and remove pay for play. Having a general fund over the 5% mark will allow our district to invest in luxury items that can make our district more appealing. There are a number employment opportunities relating to STEM available to graduates or will assist in the college environment. Removing pay for play, permanently, will allow for our students to participate in extracurricular activities without the burden of paying. If even one student does not participate in a school sport due to money, that is two students to many.

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

At the state level I would like to see less state requirements for education. Things like the third grade reading law take away from allowing our teachers to teach. There are too many bench marks in place that establish the goals of each grade. this takes a lot of the creativity out of the hands of our teachers.

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?

The biggest challenge is obviously limiting the spread of Covid in our schools. I find the response of the district is very quick in identifying friction points and addressing these in a swift manner. We have required wearing masks, adjusted the secondary level schedule, control hallways, and added plexiglass in the classrooms. This is a very fluid situation and we must ensure that we do not drop the ball on identifying future frictions points. We must also ensure parents are taking responsible actions if they suspect their children have Covid symptoms.

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

Our districts current largest chunk in the budget is teachers. This is not a bad thing and should continue to be so. Quality teachers make quality schools, it is that simple. Teachers must remain a top priority in the district.

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

When students begin to learn in a standardized manner, then I will support standardized testing. Every student learns in a different manner. Forcing students to take a standard test when they are such unique individuals is a disservice to their education.

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 find that our curriculum department does a fantastic job in ensuring we in line with the requirements of the state of Michigan. If I could add curriculum I would add robot and CNC programming courses to the Pankow center. Most of the automation companies have educational programs that they offer to High Schools and colleges. This is real worlds experience that can prepare our graduates for life after high school. I would also add a life skills class and make it mandatory for graduation. We must ensure our students understand all things that are considered “adulting”. How to write a check and balance a check book. How to create a budget, file your taxes, etc.

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

I believe that our district is responsible for identifying mental health issues and affording the opportunity to offer support. We have that in place with our counselors. We must ensure that the community understands this support is there and encourage people that need it, to utilize it.

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

The district has a student code of conduct and policies in place related to student discipline. The district must ensure they continue to follow the policies established. Students are aware of their code of conduct as well as the ramifications of violations. To increase safety in schools, I feel starts with our relationships with the various first responders in the district. Ensure the first responders are familiar with the building layouts and have response plans in place in case of emergency is a good first step. Following that with performing drills in the buildings with create more familiarity. This will free up seconds during a response which will make a difference in an emergency.

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

My priority for special education is that we as a district continue to support this very important program. We have recently dedicated more resources to special education and I feel we should allocate more. With the County Education Enhancement Millage passing, we should earmark some of these funds to special education. this will allow us to ensure the resources to improve this program are available.

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

To provide equity in our schools there are a number of areas to look. AS children struggle we must identify and provide systematic help to those who fall behind.
Strengthen the relationship between home and school to ensure parents understand support is available if needed. The most important way to achieve equity is to ensure we are providing a quality education to all of our students at every level.

Any other information you want to include or share?