October 4, 2020

Rachel Fuerer

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictRudyard Area Schools
City:Kinross

How long have you lived in your district?

26 years

Have you received any endorsements?

No

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

Our children deserve to have adults in their community that want to support a strong public school. I decided to run as a write in when I found out that no one had filed for an open seat to fill a partial term.

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

Education is one of the bedrocks of moving towards equity in America. It is one of the only supports available that can help level the playing field for students experiencing any number of challenges such as poverty or trauma.

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

Reimagined schooling includes funding adequacy and equity at the state level, universal access to broadband and preschool as well as a repeal of the required retention provision in the 3rd grade reading law. It also looks like increased school-based mental health supports, an end to state summative assessments (MSTEP), and alternatives to suspension/expulsion such as restorative justice programming.

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

I think communication from the district should be transparent, available in multiple formats and easy to access. Specific efforts should be made to reach out to increase engagement with parents, students and community members that have be less connected with the district. Beyond establishing effective communication channels, the district should continue to provide opportunities for input into decision making such as providing Town Halls on issues of particular interest to the community several times per year throughout the district and streaming board meetings on zoom. I would also love to see student government expanded and structured in such a way that all students have an opportunity to participate at some point their school career.

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?

1) Increasing reach out and positive engagement with families across the district 2) Recruiting and retaining high quality staff
3)Reversing the trend of losing resident district students to PSAs, school of choice and homeschooling options.

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

1) Funding equity and adequacy 2)Universal preschool for 3-4 year olds 3) Address the critical shortage of personnel in schools

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 overall goal must be to safely open and stay open. In order to make that happen the district must 1) continue to fully implement the district’s Return to Learn Plan including all safety measures 2)Collaborative with the local health department on a weekly basis 3)Communicate updates and expectations regularly to all staff and families.

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

For this year it is safety measures including sanitizing and PPE as well as technology/internet in additional to the typical budget priorities. Typically the budget will prioritize funding a high quality staff, facilities, curriculum and transportation.

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

Formative assessments such as NWEA can provide important information regarding student progress on an on-going basis. MSTEP has little instructional value.

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 district does an excellent job academically overall. Due in part to it’s location however, it is losing students to neighboring districts. I would support the district in increasing supports for at-risk students and continuing to build out it’s MTSS system – expanding into 7-12.

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

Education is a people business. It is a core responsibility of the district to support student and staff mental health/wellbeing.

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

The district has an excellent PBIS system in the elementary. I know less about the status of the high school discipline system. I would encourage implementation of PBIS and restorative justice programming/alternatives to suspension K-12.

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

The district has quality special education staff and a good special education system overall. It also has a very inclusive culture in part due to it’s long-standing relationship in supporting the regional center program for low incidence populations in its facilities. A program called LINKS supporting students with an ASD is a point of pride for the district.

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

Equity is another core value in education. Looking at equity means valuing dignity and respect for the diversity of backgrounds from which each of our students come from. It means providing what students need to access their education, but not before understanding what they also bring to the table and can share with the school community.

Any other information you want to include or share?

The district has strongly pursued expansion of CTE programming – another point of pride.

Both of my grown children and all of my grandchildren live in the district, I am committed to helping make Rudyard the best district in the region.