- What do you feel is the most important issue facing HCPSS at the current time? What steps should the BOE take to address this issue?
I think there are many issues facing HCPSS right now, but what is highest on my priority list is addressing the lack of equity in our children’s education. To address this issue, the first thing I’d suggest that the BOE do is to make training regarding diversity, equity and inclusion mandatory for all HCPSS staff. By addressing the implicit bias that goes unrecognized in the adults tasked with teaching our children, we can address several issues at once – equity, disproportionate discipline and delivering world-class education.
- What is your understanding of social-emotional learning and its impact on education and learning? What should SEL entail?
Social-emotional learning is the way we (both adults and children) process new information (as well as skills and attitudes) to achieve goals, while feeling empathy for others and maintaining newly established positive relationships. SEL should entail teaching self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making and encourage that these types of behavior continue at home and in the community. SEL also advances educational equity.
- How will you address redistricting and improving the balance of socioeconomic diversity across all schools?
I will work with the other board members to come up with a solution to the overcapacity schools. My proposals will emphasize the importance of children attending their neighborhood schools and providing the resources needed by each school to adequately address the needs of their student population.
- How do we best support LGBTQIA+ students within the school system?
We can support LGBTQIA+ students within the school system by recognizing that they exist, honoring their presence and instilling within them a sense of belonging. Every child can learn, but safety, a sense of belonging and a healthy sense of self are just as important as food, clothing, shelter and sleep.
- What is your plan to improve access to special education services and special education staffing?
I will propose that adequate funding from the HCPSS budget be directed to the recruitment and salaries of the teachers and paraprofessionals who provide such an important service to our children who utilize special education services. We need to expand our recruitment efforts and pay our teachers a competitive salary. We don’t have enough teachers now, and the result is that some children do not receive the instruction that they need from the teachers providing special education services.
- What should the role of parents be in selecting materials or content of instruction (including media center books)?