October 4, 2020
School DistrictYpsilanti Community Schools
How long have you lived in your district?
Have you received any endorsements?
Yes; endorsements from Gail Quann, Ypsilanti Jr. Braves (youth community football league), Anthony Williamson, Brenda McKinney, Caroline Sanders, Crystal Harding, Darryl Covington, DeBorah Borden, Dr. Kenya Ayers-Palmore, Dr. Sandra Harris, Eastern Washtenaw Democratic Club, Elinda Burks, Floyd & Flora Brumfield, Hazelette Crosby, Helen Gates-Bryant, Henri Parker, Jason Morgan, Jessica Roache, Linda Howard, Nate Frazier, Sharon & Joe Person, Teesha & Christina Montague, Washtenaw County Black Caucus, Washtenaw Democratic Party, Pastor Courtney Jenkins, Pastor Harold Wimberly, Elder Malcolm Rowry, Educator’s Union – MEA-PAC, https://www.vote4fields2020.com/endorsements
Are you an incumbent?
Why do you want to be a school board member?
I want to be a school board member because of my love for children, my passion for technology and education, and wanting to serve my community.
What does education justice mean to you? What does it mean specifically in the context of your school district?
Education justice means to me being able to provide every student with quality education from quality teachers. It means raising children who are well-rounded and preparing them to be the best citizens they can be in our society. It also means addressing the disparities in the school system. For my school district specifically, it means meeting students where they are at and raising the bar. Not only raising the standards, but also equipping them to be able to meet these standards.
If you could completely reimagine the way schools look after this public health crisis, what would they look like?
If I could reimagine the schools look after this pandemic, I would offer both distance learning and face-to-face learning in public schools. Digital learning is only going to grow as technology is becoming more advanced. Learning will be happening in schools, at home, in the community and beyond.
Describe how you think parents, students, and families should be involved in making decisions within your school district?
I think there should be representation of a parent and student at the board meetings who would be the voice the the parents and students. Having a place where parents/students/families could voice their concerns, and a representative delivers this information to the School Board. They are the stakeholders in the district. Their voices must be heard to ensure a more collaborative approach.
Who (if any) are your top financial supporters for your campaign?
I have been equally supported by many in the community.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals within your school district?
My top three educational priorities/goals include increasing teacher retention and parent involvement, improve graduation rate, and more funding to provide resources for additional technology education.
What are your top 3 educational priorities/goals at a state level?
My top three goals are advocating for more funding for schools that have lower achievement scores, collaborating with neighboring school districts to share information, and addressing the disparities seen in standardized testing.
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?
One of the challenges is that not all students can adapt to online-learning. As well as not all parents will be able to provide the support needed to help them at home. As a school district there needs be periodic assessments to see how well the students are adapting to this new way of learning and retaining the information.
Keep up positive interaction with students and families. All students learn differently so for some, distance learning will be a challenge. For the students who are struggling to adapt, the district should continue working on finding resources that will help them to succeed.
Continue the communication, education, and the reinforcement of appropriate hygiene and social distancing practices in ways that could be understood no matter the age of the child, the teachers, and staff. Make decisions that take into account the level of community transmission of COVID. Develop a proactive plan for when a student or staff members tests positive for COVID 19. Stay in touch with the local health department to stay updated on COVID 19 transmission and response in your area.
What should be your school district’s top spending priorities in their budget? Alternatively, what should not be prioritized your district’s budget?
The top spending priorities should be providing resources to help assist teachers in providing a quality education to each student. I would also like to priorities retaining teachers and more professional development. The top spending priority should also be on enhancing technology and the staff to support it.
What role do you think standardized tests should play in your school district?
Standardized tests do play a role in my school district, but I believe it is often designed to measure only one portion of the student. Often it’s too generic and does not capture all of the nuances for each district. I would like it to be used in conjunction with other measures to get a better picture of each students’ progress.
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 changes I would make to my district’s curriculum is increasing STEM education. It is being taught in the middle school, but I would have it become one-third of the school year curriculum. I would also have it follow the students from elementary school thru high school.
For example learning coding at an early age helps children understand how things work, i.e. video games, phones, computers, and tablets. Ypsilanti Community Schools already offers a strong curriculum I would just like to add coding earlier in the learning process.
What responsibility do you believe your school district has in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional health/wellbeing?
My school district has a significant responsibility in supporting students’ and staffs’ mental and emotional wellbeing. When we have a healthy mental and emotional wellbeing we, students and staff, can show up as the best versions of ourselves. It is also important for the district to provide resources to not only address emotional and mental issues when they interrupt the learning environment, but also promote ways to identify mental health wellness and practices.
How do you think your school district should handle student discipline/and make schools a safe place for students and staff?
To always suspend students outside of the school is not always necessary. I agree with in-school suspension, of course depending on the circumstance. Having different forms of discipline in place is always useful. For example, the same student may be exhibiting bad choices often, by digging more into that students background or home life (i.e. death of a loved one, family suffering financially, lack of food, …) could be cause for some of the behaviors they are showing so this students discipline could be different than another students discipline.
What are your top priorities around special education in your district?
My top priorities around special education are more para professionals to be able to provide more one-on-one time, more support for the students who have a special education needs and struggles with distance learning, and more support for the parents.
What is your perspective on working towards achieving equity within your school district?
I believe that achieving equity in my school district will be a continuous goal, but it can be done. We have to continue to look at root causes and address them. All students must have equal access to quality education and resources to ensure they have a fair chance as productive members of society.
Any other information you want to include or share?
More information about my campaign can be found at: www.vote4fields2020.com