October 4, 2020

Nancy Thomson

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictMemphis Community Schools
City:Memphis

How long have you lived in your district?

35 years

Have you received any endorsements?

no, not at this time

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Having retired from Memphis Community Schools where I served as a teacher, principal, superintendent and parent I feel that I can provide valuable insight to meet the needs of students, parents, staff and community throughout the educational process.

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

School justice means to me that all students have access to the curriculum, with necessary support and materials to meet educational benchmarks. It also means that all staff and students feel safe, supportive and successful when they commit to learning. As a result of recent school closings and necessary learning options I feel major adjustments will need to be made to help all students meet required standards and benchmarks.

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

I would like to see the increase use of technology to connect students, teachers and parents to learning opportunities to continue. I feel that students have also been able to set the pace of their learning program, allowing some to advance at a faster pace than others and would like to see these options continue.

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

I believe that parents are the best advocate for their children and need to be involved in their child’s education in a meaningful way. I feel that parents and students should have a voice to give their input into educational opportunities, strengths and weaknesses that the Board and administration can use when setting policies and programs for the district.

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

N/A

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

Curriculum, courses, and learning opportunities
Safe and healthy environment for learning
Meeting the needs of all students to promote success

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

Funding
Curriculum decisions and regulations
Early childhood programs for all three and four year olds

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?

Due to COVID I feel the district will have the challenge to keep buildings clean, sanitized and following state mandates for student to return. I also feel they will be challenged to make sure all in person and online learners are receiving the same access to curriculum and materials. I feel teachers and other staff will need to feel supported and have their needs met to make them feel protected at school.

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

Top priorities should be cleaning, instructional staff, food service for all students, technology and teaching resources
Continued schedules for repair, replacement and upkeep on district buildings, transportation and equipment should be maintained if possible to prevent a huge financial burden in the future.
I feel cuts should be made as far away from students and learning as possible.

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

Standardized tests should be used to assist in student instructional level placement, academic achievement levels and to demonstrate progress being made on an individual level at this time. Every district will face learning gaps due to recent stoppage of in person learning as they have not all had equal access to learning for many months. I do not feel testing should be used to compare districts at this time.

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?

The districts curriculum is a living document. Most changes, revisions and adoptions are made based on state level recommendations or requirements. I would continue to let the curriculum committee in place use the most up to date information from the state and local regional agencies take the lead.

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

I feel that the district must provide the necessary support for staff, students and parents to access necessary mental health support. The district must continue to work with outside agencies to make these services available to all.

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

I feel that discipline procedures should be clear cut with expectations for student behavior and consequences for not keeping to these standards. All students and staff must feel safe in the learning environment in order to be successful in reaching their goals.

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

Identification of students that may need additional support
Providing the necessary supports to students
Providing the necessary resources to teachers to assist the learning process for all students
Follow all state and federal guidelines and regulations

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

Memphis only has one building per grade level span elementary, junior high and high school. I would want them to continue to work on making sure that all grade level classrooms are teaching to the same standards, and junior high and high school courses have the same course expectations when taught by different teachers. I also feel assessment of subject material needs to be standardized for all subjects and levels.

Any other information you want to include or share?

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.