October 4, 2020

Sharifah Galab

Pronouns:She/Her
School DistrictDearborn Public Schools
City:Dearborn

How long have you lived in your district?

22 Years

Have you received any endorsements?

Endorsement requests have been submitted to various organizations and officials. Still waiting on responses.

Are you an incumbent?

No

Why do you want to be a school board member?

I am running to ensure a quality education for all our children. I want to use my well-rounded education and diverse work experience with children to serve the Dearborn School District. The opportunities I was given at Dearborn public schools and Henry Ford College inspired me to commit to giving our children even better opportunities.

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

Education justice means that we treat every child in our schools the same way regardless of his or her religious, ethnic, or racial backgrounds. It also means providing education based on the actual needs of the students.

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

Many aspects of our lives are changing through this crisis, including the way instruction is being dispensed at our schools. The most noticeable change is the introduction of online teaching at all levels of the K-12 classes. Remote teaching will most likely remain around for some students and will be used by schools to alleviate overcrowding and eliminate some problems created by students’ interaction (e.g. bullying). Another change will be the extent and depth of cleaning our schools.

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

Open dialogue among parents, teachers, and students is key to incorporating different ideas before deciding what works best for the schools when faced with major decisions. Mixed committees that include parents, staff, administrators, and other stakeholders are very helpful to ensure an open and fruitful exchange of ideas.

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

My campaign donations come from various individuals and organizations.

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

Overcrowding, the need to upgrade many facilities, and, above all, ensuring safe schools are the most pressing issues at Dearborn Public Schools. We also need to invest in our infrastructure and make sure it is adaptable to non-traditional learning methods, such as the current situation with COVID. Budget issues will always be the utmost concern especially when state funding is at risk. We need to reexamine all programs in light of recent changes to continuously ensure quality education and parental involvement regardless of the method of delivery, in person or online.

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

N/A

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 challenge is how to provide instruction while keeping the students (and parents) and staff safe. The Dearborn Schools District’s response to COVID so far has been adequate. First, schools were closed last spring at the beginning of the crisis and students were given assignments at home. For this school year, the district implemented an online program to be reviewed and reassessed as the situation with COVID-19 evolves. The District needs to continue monitoring the situation and adapt as needed. To assess the situation, the number of positive cases in the community should continue to be looked at in relation to the number of tests performed. The district should also use information provided by the state and the CDC as well as opinions of medical professionals when making safety related decisions.

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

Funding of all public schools in our state is below adequate levels. School districts should limit spending to essential items. One of the largest budget item is the cost of personnel and the schools should provide enough funds to retain the best professionals in the district. Another essential item is maintenance costs. If schools do not spend on facilities maintenance today, the cost may be much higher in the future. Non-essential items and pet projects should not be prioritized during tight budget times.

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

Standardized tests should be only one tool among other tools to measure students’ achievement and progress. They should be used along other means of evaluation without giving them an overstated weight or importance.

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?

If elected to the Board of Education, I will review the curriculum on a periodic basis and discuss it with my colleagues and the administration to makes changes as needed.

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

Dearborn schools already provide good mental health support for its students in comparison to other districts. However, it is almost never possible to have enough resources to address all the mental health needs of the students. Funding and needs change all the time. Continuous improvement is always needed. Teachers should be better trained to assess each situation because most students with mental health issues will not ask for help. Teachers need to be able to spot kids who need assistance.

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

Students’ discipline should not be the sole responsibility of the schools, it should start at home. Raising and disciplining a child should be a joint project between the schools and the parents. Open communication is key to maintaining safety at our schools while raising good members of society.

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

Dearborn Schools currently provide the necessary services to meet the needs of children with special needs. However, improvements can always be achieved especially if additional funding is provided. Further, parents need to be more involved with the staff to better assess the children’s needs. As in all areas, communication is key to keeping the best interest of the children ahead of other concerns.

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

Equity is achieved when everyone is treated with the same respect and when all schools within the district are provided with the same instructional means and a highly competent staff. Students and staff should continuously be made aware that everyone deserves a chance at a good education regardless of his or her race, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic level.

Any other information you want to include or share?

N/A