Town where you live
Unincorporated Snohomish county
Experience (300 characters max)
30 years as academic and biotechnology industry professional, to Director of Analytical and Formulation Devt. Direct experience includes teaching at college level, management, project lead, department head, budget and contract negotiation and implementation, staff development and team building.
Well, I could probably name more than 3, but I think closing the opportunity and access gap would be among the most urgent for me. Northshore is a great district that is actively working on this and many other concerns. And I couldn’t be more proud. It is spelled out in the Strategic Goals for the District and the approach to closing the gap is very well addressed there. It starts with early and equitable access to responsive teaching. Many of the other issues we face, I think, can be resolved by, or are included in the solutions for, addressing this one; the on-time graduation rates, providing multiple paths to career goals, addressing special needs student accessibility, resolving the debate over standardized testing, etc.
Well, Charter Schools, as I understand it, are part of the Northshore School District whether we agree with them or not. As such, and given that we have NSD students attending them, we must support them as part of our District that serves Northshore students. Having said that, I am in general opposed to imposing Charter Schools on public school districts. There are many good intentions involved, but it is my understanding that as a general rule, they do not work. They fail the students they were intended to help. In a perfect world, no student, or parent would feel the public schools have failed them such that they feel the need for things like Charter Schools. But if there are problems with public schools, the answer is not to divert funds away from them and possible fixes to the public system, into what I feel is a system that sets up inequality in our schools with unequal access to them.
Testing certainly needs to be done to fully evaluate any student’s comprehension of the material being taught. With respect to testing as a requirement for graduation, a couple of possible points come to mind. First, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a ‘standardized’ test. Students learn differently, they approach and perform on tests differently. I strongly feel that mandated standardized tests drives schools toward teaching to the test, instead of teaching the students in front of them so that each, individual learner is able to learn the material required for graduation. It also assumes that all students have the same background and respond to testing formats in the same way. We know better. Their teachers are the best assessors of their comprehension of the material.
I can’t pretend to be familiar with all the input NSD has received and all the complications associated with the new start times. But so much research has been done over the last several decades about students’ need for sleep and their body/brain response to the amount of sleep they are getting. Teenagers need more. I think Northshore’s approach to later start times is going in the right direction and certainly takes the research into account while also recognizing the needs of primary students as well. It will be difficult to accommodate all the variables, like after-school athletics or jobs, parents’ morning schedules, bus availability, etc., but it is a start.
We can start by fully funding education. That means enough teachers, paying teachers a good wage so we attract and retain the best, providing the schools with the resources they need to accommodate all learners (ESL, disabled or special needs students, etc., etc.). We also need to make sure all our students have a safe school environment where they are supported instead of shunted out. Pre-school for all children, breakfast and lunch available for all students. We know enough about the impact of early learning and good nutrition, that we know how to make sure no student falls behind due to conditions out of their control
There should be absolutely no tolerance for bullying. School should be a safe environment for all our students. And that includes physical, emotional and verbal bullying. First, we need to make sure all our students feel safe reaching out to seek help against a bully. Health, social studies, or civics classes might be a good place to introduce a lesson on what bullying is, how to recognize it and how to address it if you are the victim. But pulling a bully out of school is not the answer. That doesn’t correct the behavior and only further alienates and isolates the bully into their aggressive behavior. There is a reason they act out. There are mechanisms for working to alter bullying behavior and reparations or consequences that can be a learning and growth opportunity. I think a bully should be confronted with their behavior in a controlled discussion with their victim and made to answer in a productive way.
I think there are multiple approaches that can work. For myself, I would love to see a separate high school class on Civics that includes government structure, the Constitution, citizen responsibilities and current event discussions, including trips/discussions with MOCs, and perhaps feeding into student government participation. But that also takes up a credit, so I think it can also be incorporated into components of other history or social studies classes, as long as the components are called out and thoroughly addressed as a separate unit in the class. The teaching should begin in middle school and build into a high school class.
It would depend on the extent & nature of the disruption, but in general I think it is a bad idea. See Bullying above. Taking a student out of school only hurts them & doesn’t address the issue. In most cases, I think a student can be dealt with while keeping them in the classroom. Removing them from class, or going as far as suspending them, puts them behind in their schoolwork, removes them from the community and likely only exacerbates the cause of their disruptive behavior. Teachers need to be able to maintain control and authority in the classroom. But it is also a classroom of children, not a military base. Teachers need to be trained to recognize causes and behavior traits. If the behavior continues, the student needs to be held accountable, but also helped, by finding a cause and a way to get them engaged with the class. My own son was disruptive when very young, but his teachers knew the signs, found he was far advanced for his age and gave him more challenging material.
Town where you live
Unincorporated Snohomish County midway between Bothell & Mill Creek
Experience (300 characters max)
As an individual with over 10 years’ experience in the Customer Service Industry, I have developed a sense of what people want and expect. Regardless of age, people have expectations and are more receptive to learning when they believe it is in their best interest and future advantage.
Provide students with comfort and convenience; the need for 'creature comforts' doesn't suddenly begin at age 18!
Our district should explore ways of providing students regardless of age a comfortable, visually appealing environment with minimal distractions in which to learn. If adults have difficulty concentrating in a bad working environment, imagine the challenge for children. Children should be considered "school customers" and as such need to be catered to as well as shaped by their school environment and those which provide their instruction. make school a place where kids want to be and we'll all be pleased with the results....Comfortable schools are a win/win for teachers and students, it doesn't have to cost a fortune to make little ascetic changes to make schools a better looking, better smelling, more desirable place to be
As with all educational innovation they have their place along with school choice; our 21st century is about choices and options....Charter schools can be incubators of new ideas and teaching methods, however, they must not be permitted to overtake the public system and therefore must be limited to a capacity of no greater then 1/5th of total student enrollment within the district.
Students should not be taught to conform to the expectations of a test! There is too much testing and too much pressure on students to preform to a particular test, I do not support high steaks testing for grades 5 and under, let children develop their own style of learning and form their psyche before having the pressures of high expectations dumped upon them....It is more important to develop their mind and character then the knowledge can come later, testing at an early age can instill a fear of school in a child's mind making school a scary place...The exact opposite of what we want it to be.
I fully support The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that school days should not begin before 8:30 A.M. for all grade levels, it is better to keep students a further 30-60 minutes into the afternoon rather then disturb their sleep by awakening them prematurely in the morning. An experimental program for High School students permitting them to choose their own class schedules should be considered as well, it would be a great way to introduce the responsibility of college and adult responsibilities.
Second chance testing, alternatives to testing such as earned credit for extra projects, more on-line content and memorization drills. For example if a student happens to be good in most subjects but weak in one particular subject such as math (I was terrible at algebra) why not break the algebra competent into a separate test which that competent alone can be tested...
All schools should be thoroughly outfitted with both audio and visual monitoring so that on campus incidents are easier to prevent, observe and document, depending upon the severity of the bullying offense for grades 5 and over a "youth court" should be established where a panel of 6 "jurors" are impaneled and the teacher sits as judge...A simple "trial" is held in which the accuser faces his victim and has to answer for his cruel behavior. The six fellow students then make a non-binding verdict and suggestions for punishment and perhaps even compensation for the victim....The point of this is to introduce the real-world adult concepts of consequences for actions....A further idea is to provide martial arts training for the victims of bullying, this training is beneficial not only for self-defense purposes but also for mental discipline and emotional focus....The most important thing is to empower victims of bullying to feel stronger and not as victims...
Through organized volunteering in coordination with a fraternal organization(s) such as the Fraternal order of Elks, Eagles, Rotary Club, Lyons Club, American Legion, and other such traditional organizations that promote Americanism, civic charity, and the values of playing community over self...Further, students would be encouraged to read and memorize our nations founding documents; and the nobility of our founding fathers and their lives.
Only after the fourth offense; often times all that suspensions accomplish is to make a student a outcast and take them away form learning...While I support necessary discipline, nevertheless, I don't want to plant the seeds of juvenile delinquency by pulling a student out of school and casting them aside as outsiders. Unless a boy or girl really does something dangerous to others or generally immoral; I would want to do everything I could to prevent a student from being suspended from school.
Too often the cycle of youth destruction begins with a simple set back or foolish decisions by a student that leads them to suspension, expulsion, drugs, crime and death...Let's stop the tragedies before they happen....