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PUYALLUP SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 3 Director Pos. 1

4-year termNo Salary, some districts offer small per diem for evening meetings. School Board Members or “directors” – are the elected governing body of the school district, serving four-year terms. The school board’s governance responsibilities fall in four major areas: Vision – focuses the work on student achievement through a comprehensive strategic planning process; Structure – provides prudent financial planning and oversight; diligent and innovative policymaking; Accountability – sets specific goals and a process for evaluation, reporting and recommendations for improvements; and Advocacy – champions public education in the local community and before state and federal policy makers. The School Board sets the general policies of the district, which are implemented by the hired professional district Superintendent and certificated teaching staff and personnel. One of the critical duties is the adoption of the district's budget and proposal of any school levies to be placed on the ballot to the people. The commission sets policies and approves all spending via the budget. The council also sets salaries for district employees.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Mike Leuzzi (NP) Financial Analyst

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    Maddie Names (NP) Mom, Student advocate, Volunteer

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Biographical Information

Of three major issues facing your district, which one is the most urgent?

What is your position on Charter Schools as a part of your public school system?

What is your position on testing of your students?

What is your opinion on "start times" for elementary and secondary school?

How can the on-time graduation rate be improved?

How should bullying be addressed?

What would be your plan to see that your school district students earn their civics credit required by the new state law?

What is your opinion of student suspension for classroom disruption?

Phone (253) 579-4909
Email Mike.Leuzzi33@comcast.net
Town where you live Puyallup
Experience (300 characters max) Financial Analyst at Virginia Mason Medical Center; Active Sunday School Teacher (Pilgrim Lutheran Church); Active YMCA Youth Sports Coach; Past Carson Elementary PTA Legislative Rep & Traffic Committee Chairperson; Certified USA Hockey Referee, Facebook Admin- Informed School Parents in Puyallup
The three major issues would be: 1) Reducing class sizes and portables amidst a surging enrollment 2) Maintaining classroom choice despite pressures regarding Testing 3) Ensuring teachers have the professional development programs that benefit them. Given that Puyallup is one of the largest school districts in the state with the most portables and more people moving into the area, it is most critical that we find creative ways to keep class sizes to manageable levels. This would include effective utilization of paraeducators and promoting more volunteerism from parents. We also need to prepare 5-8 years down the road for the next construction bond that needs passage. We are still 8-10 years behind in catching up with the growing area development. I would look to use my Bachelor's degree experience and critical thinking skills in assessing what is the best way for our students to succeed in Puyallup, given our limited resources.
Charter schools do not truly foster Classroom Choice so long as we’re tied to the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessment. Initiative 1240 passed back in 2012 under a narrow margin was also highly flawed and ultimately bankrolled by corporations. I am sensitive towards protecting Public Education as I’ve known it with wonderful teachers and the McCleary funding battles are not going away anytime soon. As such, I would not support charter schools in Puyallup if I were elected as a school board director. They are unnecessary and I am proud of the academic excellence that we’ve had in Puyallup for many years. I am a very independent minded person on Education, and have the principles along with a track record to back that up through my involvement over the years with members of many political preferences.
I have tremendous concerns about the Smarter Balanced Assessment which I believe to be unfair, invalid, and reliable. The assessment is being used for high school graduation decision-making, which was not as originally intended. As proposed under the proposed state plan, I also do not want to see 8th grade and 10th grade SBA results driving further coursework. My strong preference would be for low stakes testing to inform curriculum selection and to study how students learn, via paper and pencil tests like the Iowa Assessments used to be. In Puyallup, the current STAR tests are reasonable and the norm-referenced results to the percentile and grade level has worked out okay. I will be closely watching future testing results with the hope there is not more “teaching to the test”.
Puyallup has a good two-tiered bell start time system that appears to be working well for busing needs. There is a current bottleneck problem at Emerald Ridge High School and Glacier View Junior High which have similar start and finish classroom block times. One solution could be to stagger the classes by 0.5-1.0 class periods but that would entail examining if the block time set-up is effective. I am concerned about the proposed SPI plan to expand the academic calendar year to add 30-60 minutes per day for an additional 20 school days per year. As that would potentially increase the instructional hours from 1000 to roughly 1230 under state law, I believe that would open up another set of additional problems and not necessarily lead to narrowing the achievement gap. In Puyallup, the close proximity of JBLM leads to many students arriving in the school district after September 1st. As such, such an increase in the calendar would work against the realities of our community.
Currently, Puyallup has an on-time graduation rate of 90% which is well above the state and national averages. One instant change that would benefit our district is if the Testing requirements were delinked from graduation requirements. Not every student is destined for a Science career and the Smarter Balanced Assessment itself is neither fair, nor valid, nor reliable. Earlier interventions in the 9th grade will be critical now that we’re under CORE 24. This 9th grade passing rate will be a big part of the future Achievement Index under the state’s submitted ESSA plan. It is critical that we focus on 9th grade course completion but not just to squeak by.
I have inquired about people’s thoughts on Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) and a fair number of people believe the current programs are not working. We do need to remember that we only hear about the problematic situations and not of all the times that kids are “caught doing good things”. We need to ensure relationships are being forged but also bearing in mind restorative practices that need to be utilized on a consistent basis. It’s important that classic and common situations are being handled in a consistent manner. We also need to ensure that the most egregious and harmful situations are being captured via the reporting form that many people may not know that exists. I have heard of too many situations where physical harm was done and there was a perception that nothing was done about it. Proper 1:1 communication is key and more direct links online should be made available from OSPI’s resources on how HIB should be managed to in the context of the state laws.
I appreciate the main goal to ensure that every student is provided a high-caliber civic education from kindergarten through high school. We need inspire learning with solid and passionate classroom instruction with limited factual memorization, and emphasize “the big picture”. We need to incorporate discussion of current events in understanding the “what/how” in earlier grades and the “why” later on. Service learning and extracurricular activities should offer ample opportunities for involvement with meaningful student participation in school governance. This can include outside volunteer activities and on a “student council” that builds civic skills. These can capstone into simulations of the democratic process while build an appreciation for our type of government in a constitutional republic. It is also important to build an appreciation for the Development of Western Civilization in the disciplines of History, Philosophy, and Literature, and a respect for other countries.
Gone are the days of sending a suspended student home which is not effective and only leads to being further behind their academic coursework. Earlier interventions and relationship building are much more effective means of averting significant problematic behaviors. Intrinsic motivation and extra-curricular activity involvement would also be effective ways to help a student show up ready for learning. I have spoken with a principal about these concerns and a book referenced to me was “Paper Tigers”. I look forward to learning more about the concepts discussed in this book which curtailed suspensions by 85% at Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA. We need to balance family relationship building along with consistent restorative practices.
Phone (253) 677-9404
Email maddienames@outlook,com
Town where you live Puyallup
Experience (300 characters max) WASA Community Leadership Award for Outstanding Community Leadership for the Improvement of Public Education, PTA, PSD Award of Recognition for Volunteer Service and Dedication to the Children of Puyallup Schools 2012 & 2015, Co-chair Citizens Committee, Feed my Starving Children, other charity work
One of the largest issues directly facing our students is the enormous growth that is happening in our district. A year ago I became very passionate about this and Co-Chaired the Citizens Committee for Education to pass a bond that would directly impact our students with new school construction and over 140 new classrooms at the elementary level. This bond in time will also allow the district to improve our secondary schools as the growth continues to explode in our city. This bond passed with an unprecedented 69% voter approval rate. I not only have issues that concern me, but I'm willing to do the work to accomplish goals that will benefit our students and community we live in.
Here is what I know about Charter Schools. They are an innovative model that bridges the gap between public schools and private education. Since it's inception in 1992 Charter Schools have performed at high levels in preparing students to succeed beyond k-12 education. If this was proposed in our district I would take an honest look at how it could benefit our students.
I believe tests are necessary. Providing benchmarks of information to support teachers and parents alike. In my household I have two kids. One is in 6th grade who does ok on tests, but above average on classroom work. My other child is in 9th grade and rocks every test any time it's in front of her. Both have great work ethics and enthusiasm for learning beyond the basics. My attitude for testing is simply "prepare your hardest and do your best, but you are so much more than a score on a test sheet"! I like to see the benchmarks for my kids, but I don't hold it as the only predictor of their success. Can my child hold a conversation with eye contact, speak clearly and expand on their ideas with critical thinking skills, are they accepted by most peers, do they have confidence with adults, can they problem solve... and my list goes on? This is the education of a whole child; testing is a piece of that. I do support accommodations for students who have additional needs.
This is a great topic where conversation has started in the mid-west. There is definitely a need to look at start times, and our district has had a few committees in place to discuss this. Transportation is a big factor when it comes to balancing start times not only in our elementary and junior highs in Puyallup, but also our High Schools. I hope the board is able to review start times again that will benefit all of our students.
Puyallup Schools have worked diligently toward on-time graduation rates. The last statistic I saw was 95% of our students were graduating on time. Many factors have influenced this including the ability to catch students at an early rate with standardized tests, creating our on-line academy , running start, pathways, and numerous community partnerships including the newly introduced partnership with City University which was promoted at the last School Board meeting in October, along with many other innovative ideas. I believe there is always room for improvement, and as a board member I would take a hard look at anything that would support our students graduating on-time. I hope to see us garner more community support in the next 4 years.
Bullying should always be addressed quickly and effectively. This is a great question that I plan to do some research on, and if the board is called upon to make tough decisions regarding this issue I can assure you I will do diligent work in researching, seeking out opinions, and asking the right questions to make the best decision for our students.
I believe the RCW's put this into effect in 2009, but I realize that there have been some recent updates. I understand that there is already a plan in place. One reason I wish to be a part of this board is because of the long term vision and prepared nature in which our school district is run. I realize that curve balls head our direction, but I see planning and foresight taking the lead in minimizing major cracks in our plan that help not hinder our students success.
As a parent who has seen first hand the detriment one student can have in a classroom is disheartening when the behavior is a continuous pattern for classroom disruption. Realizing student disruption may be a cry for help, but at what cost to the other 25 plus students? I think teachers need good support and leadership to help mitigate these situations so that they don't escalate to suspension. I think administrators and school districts need better tools and resources so that suspension (resulting in "no learning") isn't our final resort. Suspension doesn't help the student and in the long run doesn't help our community. This is a great question that I would love to spend more time researching. I would be interested in learning about districts that show little to none suspensions. Do they have breakfast after the bell, what does administrative support and training look like, how do counselors take pro-active approaches? These would be some of my questions.

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