October 4, 2020

Natalie McLaurin-Johnson

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictBridgeport-Spaulding Community School District
City:Saginaw

How long have you lived in your district?

10 years

Have you received any endorsements?

Former State Representative Carl M Williams, 95th District

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Want to see our educational status change. Testing scores are alarming low and want to see what is needed to change that so that our children in the district are receiving the best education possible.

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

Education justice means to mean finding and securing avenues that continually provide the best educational opportunities for our district. This means that we are finding innovative ways and solutions to education changes/challenges.

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

I believe that they will have better access to hygiene care such as sanitizing stations for students to sanitize their hands. Or making bathroom accessibility better with monitoring service for children to wash their hands with soap and water if hand sanitizer is not a choice/preference/concern.Maybe offering a sick waiting area for children waiting to be released home if there is not already one.

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

Providing input at scheduled
meetings/workshops, attending their child(ren) conferences and voicing concerns there, completing surveys to name a few.

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

Only me

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

Curriculum changes that align with state/federal testing; securing resources to offer good/best tutoring/mentoring opportunities for students; reviewing budgets that will allow for smaller teacher to student ratios for better education experience and safety.

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

Michigan-to provide lower test performing schools the resources to help students academically and in athletics; work with their struggling school districts not against them and ensure the fiscal year budget is maintaining education not slashing it.

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?

Making sure our students are meeting the educational requirements is the biggest challenge I believe. Some families have barriers such as affordable internet and inability to teach their children because they may lack education skills and educational tools to do so. To keep the district safe, we need to follow what is being asked such as wearing a mask, keeping your hands clean and social distance as much as possible. If a case or suspected case arises, immediately put in the safety protocols by informing families and sending children/staff home to quarantine.

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

Staffing, infrastructure and tutoring/extracurricular activities for students including appropriating a budget for coaches; materials for teachers and students. Unnecessary positions/spending that is not beneficial to the school district.

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

I don’t have much say in how standardized tests should play in terms of the requirements of the state/federal government. I do believe that if our students are being tested on specific educational pieces, we need to structure the curriculum on what they will be tested on. I do not believe that preparing for a test a week or two ahead is going to resolve the low test scores in the district. We need to be teaching our students the information year round.

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?

Align the curriculum according to what is being tested by the state/federal government

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

They are key because a one size fit all approach doesn’t work for everyone including students with special needs. We have to strive to give students the best possible educational experience in which they enjoy attending school not hating it. I believe that sometimes you may have personalities that may clash between staff and students which can be stressful. Need to find ways to try and find a good fit that meet the needs to the students and teachers even if changes are made throughout the school year.

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

Our students are perfectly imperfect. This means to me that they are going to make mistakes and not so good choices. We need to find ways that address the problem and not punish without a chance to get it right. As long as it doesn’t propose significant harm to students and staff, I believe there is opportunity for us to align discipline that promotes guidance in the right direction in making better choices.

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

To ensure students in special education are still achieving as those that are not in special education. Making sure resources are in place or available to those students that are struggling. Making sure curriculum is aligning with any state/federal government testing standards.

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

Well we have many different types of equity that includes race and health. In terms of education, we need to ensure that we have a open door for students to receive a quality education. No matter the student’s background or circumstances, no discrimination in receiving an education allowed. Even if it means we have to try different ways/paths for the student to get it.

Any other information you want to include or share?

I am a parent and I understand what it is like. However, we need to ensure that our children are getting a good education. They are the ones that I expect to take care of me one day. So, as a parent, let’s take care of them and impress upon them the importance of an education.