October 6, 2020
School DistrictWayne-Westland Community School District
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
13th Congressional District Democratic Party State Board of Education Tiffany Tilley State Representative Kevin Coleman State Representative Jewell Jones City of Westland Mayor William Wild Wayne County Commissioner Glen Anderson Dearborn City Council Lisa Hicks Clayton Michigan Democratic Party Black Caucus Westland Democratic Club Canton Public School Board Katie Borniski Westland Public Library Board Gayle Nicholson Westland City Council Mike Loundo Westland City Council Mike McDermott, State Representative Cynthia A Johnson
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I am a current Wayne Westland School Board Member. I have served on the school board for 6 years. I was a student in the school district and I have a son in high school. I am passionate about making sure that students have various career opportunities and my platform is the Portrait of a Graduate to make sure students are career ready, college ready and life ready.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
I want to make sure that there is equity in education and we must stop the school pipeline to prison epidemic. We must make sure that we provide our children resources to give every student has the opportunity to become successful and not succumb to the digital divide.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
It would be 21st Century learning. To cut down classroom sizes we should have the teachers teach in the classroom, half of the students should be in the class and the other half who prefer to learn online can zoom at home. It will help to end snow days, helpful for children who have medical disabilities and miss a lot of school, which would allow them to not miss a learning opportunity.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
We currently have a lot of surveys for the community, staff and student focus groups. Parent involvement is very important when it comes to important decisions that pertain to the students.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
Mayor William Wild, State Representative Jewell Jones, State Representative Kevin Coleman, City Councilman Mike McDermott,
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
More educational programs like UpWard Bound, Champions, Bright Futures, Leader In Me and college prep program.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
Funding, literacy, and an overhaul in the common core and math and ELA courses.
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?
Lack of funding. We will loose a lot of money from business taxes with business being shut down. We also have to watch the covid-19 numbers. We are made up of 6 communities; Wayne, Westland, Inkster, Romulus, Dearborn Heights, and Romulus and we must constantly monitor the outbreaks. We are doing a great job with virtual learning, work to get to the hybrid model and eventually face to face when safe.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
Curriculum, Technology, Transportation, Salaries and Benefits, Buildings and Grounds. Everything must be carefully measured in a school budget.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
We need to help students with stamina and rigor. We need to help students with test prep especially when it comes to M-Step, ACT, PSAT SAT.
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?
Wayne Westland has not had curriculum in 6 years and we just passed new curriculum for all of the students and purchased chrome books for every student in the district.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
Social and Emotional learning is very important with this pandemic. We must do health checks to make sure that we have telehealth to make sure that the students are able to speak to counselors to deal with the emotional hardships the students are going through.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
We practice restorative practices. We had a team of Climate and Culture Coaches that were trained and able to deal with the change in culture, understood how to handle children that were impacted by trauma. We found alternative ways to handle disciplinary issues with and participated in the Positive Behavior Support and reward good behavior. At one on the schools they practice yoga and meditation.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
Getting more money from Wayne County RESA to help fund our special education. We have one of the highest numbers of IEP’s in the county. We also need to make sure that we have the proper training and Director of our Special Ed Department needs to ensure that the federal guidelines are being adhered to. We have a school Roosevelt Magrath in Wayne where we have students that are in special education work with other students in the school to teach them compassion and empathy and learn to work together.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
We need proper funding. Wayne Westland is already $2,000 negative per pupil funding. We need to fill in the gap. I have a great relationship with the Governor, Senators and State Representatives and is able to help fight to get more money in the classroom.
Any other information you want to include or share?
I sit on the Executive Board for the 13th Congressional District, Co-Chair of the Western Wayne County Black Caucus, Election Chair for the City of Westland, Precinct Delegate for the City of Westland for Precinct #39, Previous President of the Greater Westland Area of the Kiwanis Club, Top Lady of Distinction, Top Teen Advisor, National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, Michigan Association of School Boards, Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority, Member of the Westland Chamber of Commerce, NAACP, 2018 Believe in Bond Committee, and Praise Dancer at New Hope Baptist Church in Wayne.