October 6, 2020

Kathleen Abke

Pronouns:She/her
School District:Grosse Pointe Public Schools
City:Grosse Pointe Woods

How long have you lived in your district?

25 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Grosse Pointe Semocratic Club, Grosse Ponte Administrators Association

Are you an incumbent?

Yes

Why do you want to be a school board member?

To advocate for kids and for public education: to ensure equity in our schools. We also have more work to be done with regards to inclusion and diversity education.

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

Education Justice includes Equity (every student is given what they need, which is not the same as equality.) In my time on the board we have initiated Restorative Practices and Implicit Bias training for staff. I co-authored and introduced a Resolution to address Racism, Equity and Inclusion (Passed 8/10/20).

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

State funding would increase dramatically.

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

Our district invites feedback from parents, students and families on many issues. They are involved in the decisions when possible and when appropriate.

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

Parents in the district, principals and teachers. Also the GP Democratic Club

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

Equity, Kids, and Fiscal Responsibility

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

Equity, Kids and Funding

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?

Our district is committed to keeping kids and staff safe. Families have choices regarding online education or in-person hybridmodel that follows the governors phases. (It has been online, but special ed and elementary students are beginning a phased return approach.) We follow all state, MDHHS and CDC guidelines.

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

Priorities include Staff, Curriculum, Programming, Technology and Safety.

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

Some testing can be helpful for teachers to know where kids are in their learning (NWEA) but state required testing like the M-STEP (not a valid or reliable assessment) needs to go. It takes too much time and isn’t age appropriate.

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?

Our recently passed Race, Equity and Inclusion Resolution and our district’s strategic plan both require curriculum is diverse, inclusive and updated accordingly.

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

We have a tremendous responsibility in terms of supporting mental health and wellbeing.

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

Restorative practices are encouraged and utilized.

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

Every child should get what they need. Inclusion is important.

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

We’ve made good strides; there is more work to be done. See above.

Any other information you want to include or share?

As a Counselor, I support all kids education and wellbeing. My husband and I, and several members of our board, support and actively engage in our local Pride March, Black Lives Matter movement, the March for Public Education, etc… We hosted and built a float for our last Pride March.