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33 year resident of Longview. My wife and I continue to raise 7 of our 16 children who continue to live at home. All of our children attend Longview Schools; 11 have graduated.
I have over 25 years experience in progressively more responsible positions at the Longview Fire Department.
In my opinion, Longview Schools face a number of critical issues. Three that I often consider as critical are the 1) preparation of students for the next stage of academic and/or their work life, 2) facility improvements and 3) the continued development of life and social skills.
While it is difficult to name only one as the most urgent, since all are supported by the other, I think that passage of the facility bond this fall is the most urgent. The Longview School district has long known that there has not been adequate finances to maintain what is currently in place, but further delay on the start of infrastructure improvements would be a mistake.
I am a strong supporter of the public school systems. I have long known that a number of parents are disappointed in performance of Longview Schools and the readiness of students promoted to the next grade level. Therefore, I am in favor of allowing Charter Schools to be part of the public school system. However, I feel strongly that we need to support our educators and school administrators in achieving greater success; thus the reason I am running for this position. It is my belief that once our schools are achieving greater success there will be less of a push for parents to seek alternative educational opportunities.
Students should be tested on subjects to ensure mastery of the subject matter but also to give educators an evaluation tool for their teaching method(s). With that said, I do not believe that all students should be evaluated at the same level. In my experience in the supervision of people and the development of effective teams, not all are excellent in all areas. My focus is on concentrating on individual strengths that benefit the whole.
I believe that start times that are currently in place are adequate and ensure that the greatest number of students are served the best.
Focus on safe and secure environments is key to on time graduation. Those that arrive to school with the correct amount of sleep, stable home environment and excellent nutrition, have the best chance of success.
Informational sessions can be provided to the schools as a whole but many aspects of proper respect and treatment can be included in many parts of the daily school life. In addition, the schools should staff more counselors who could help in program delivery and assistance.
Students can learn a lot about civics by attending a series of school board, city council, county council meetings. They would be required to follow an assigned topic from beginning to end, whether by research or by a current initiative. I believe the most learning would occur on a current initiative.
It is very important to have discipline for students who disrupt classroom time. In this case some schools, Cascade Middle School, has had a very high level of achievement and less student suspension by the addition of a Monday morning training session for students and staff. I think that controlling undesirable behavior in the manner that the staff has done at Cascade is a model that should be stood up district-wide.
Town where you live
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I have not held a public off but I have been
Facilities – This year there will be a bond measure on the ballot for the Longview School District to rebuild 3 elementary schools and refurbish a 4th facility. This measure will also provide funds for safety and security upgrades throughout the district. Our district hasn’t had a facilities upgrade in over 20 years. There is a severe need to provide an environment that is conductive to learning, provides adequate space, cafeterias and buildings that will allow students and educators to grow with technology.
In its present form I do not support Charter Schools, privatization of public funds without clear and transparent oversight removes accountability to the community they intend to serve. Charter schools are not required to have a publicly elected board and are ran by “not for profit” corporations that are sometimes managed out of the county or even the state in which the school resides. I have concerns about the funds directed to charter schools being removed from public school. If the charter school fails the student will have to return to the public school but the funds to support those students may not be available to return to that school. Additionally the responsibilities placed on public schools are not the same as those placed on charter schools. Charter schools are required to accept all students but not required to provide transportation or even services for special needs students. This may result in discriminatory practices.
Testing students to make sure they are growing and learning is important. I don’t buy into standardized testing to penalizing teachers and take funds from schools – No Child Left Behind was bad for schools. I think that measuring each child’s growth is important to meeting their needs as a student. If a child isn’t showing growth then steps need to be taken to address that individual student needs. If an entire group of students isn’t growing or showing an overall understanding of the curriculum then some investigation in to the teaching method, teacher or curriculum should be under taken. Testing for baseline understanding at the beginning of the year and checking in on growth at the midway and year end to understand individual’s growth is important. This can help identify students that are highly capable and offer more rigor in their curriculum. This can also help identify students who need more resources.
The needs of the parents and the students need to be addressed when we discuss this question. Parents need to get to work and students need enough time in the morning to eat breakfast and be prepare to learn. It’s been a long time since I have had an elementary student. It would be unfair to arbitrarily answer this question without the input of those in the community who are affected by this. A 2013 study by Hanover research indicate a late start time in elementary school had no benefits for the students. However a late start for middle and high school students showed a higher levels of alertness, mood and fewer automobile accidents.
Ongoing communication of the requirements and the current students’ progress should be shared with the student and parents at least twice a year. Longview parents have access to this information using the Skyward system but for those student/parents who don’t use this tool other options should be utilized. This could be in the form of current credits earned, expected credits to have and the required credits needed to graduate on semester ending report cards. The earlier you see a student running off course the easier it is to correct.Students who do fall behind should have options available to them based on their individual’s needs. Some students don’t test well, some students don’t respond well to certain teaching styles or methods, some students will face circumstances outside of school that may prevent them from achieving in class. Having alternative options for these student like online course work, a peer or teacher who can advise them or a counselor who can recognize a need.
There’s no easy answer to this question and no silver bullet that will stop bullying. It’s an ongoing effort that should start at the earliest entry into the educational system. This includes head start & daycare. Fostering classrooms where students are taught and expected to call out peer to peer bullying in a constructive way. Using words to describe behavior that is inappropriate vs. shaming student with labels like “bully” & “victim”. Using positive reinforcement, calling out good behavior and recognizing student for it.
Building a social structure where those behaviors are not welcome and addressed immediately is a good foundation. Ongoing education to staff, students, teachers and parents is also a tool that should be used every year. Educating parents on the expectation and standards for the classroom. Asking for their buy in and support at home and school functions.
Civics education as part of the overall minimum requirements for graduation is a welcome requirement. Without a basic understanding of government how can we help our students become tomorrow’s leaders or foster any interest in participation in our local, state and federal government. Civic is already offered in the Longview School District as a semester long class and in conjunction with the current 3 credit requirements for social studies. As requirements are added by the state legislators it is the responsibility of the board to work with the superintendent to find the most equitable way to implement the changes.
Student suspension is a tool that should be available at all schools. However I believe that any suspension should be spent in school unless the behavior is a safety threat to students and staff. Students are facing a variety of issues in and out of school, the school system shouldn’t give up; having an alternative program for these students is important. Students not following the rules and finding it hard to conform to the normal classroom environment should be evaluated to find the best way to reach the individual student. Removing the disruption for those students who are actively participating in the classroom is important but we can’t abandon struggling students. Alternative high schools or specialized courses, online tools and teachers who have the right tools to work with these students should be options in any school district.