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Granite School Board 4

Our Charge & ResponsibilityStudents will leave us prepared for college,career and life in the 21st century world.Board Goals Increase achievement for every student Enrich and increase parent and community engagement

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    Nicole McDermott

Biographical Information

What experience and skills do you bring to solving problems?

How do you propose to provide an equitable education to a diverse student population, including underserved students?

How would you provide a healthy, safe and supportive learning environment for all students?

What would you do to attract new and retain teaching staff?

What are the most critical needs facing the district and how can you best contribute to potential solutions?

As a problem solver I am creative, flexible, open to new ideas, and someone who does my homework. Whether in my classroom or with the school board, when faced with a problem, I try to get a different perspective by stepping back and looking at an issue from other points of view. I listen to the different sides, solicit opinions from those who are experts in their fields, and research as much as I can. I know that relationships are important in problem solving and I like finding solutions that work best for the greater majority. It can be difficult making decisions surrounded by lots of emotion. And while we should not be devoid of emotion in our decisions, we cannot let them rule what we do. If there is a big issue, I make sure I don't make hasty decisions. I take my time to think it through and use my resources. I recognize that I don't have all the answers and someone else might have a better solution. We all need to be open to new ideas.
I believe that all our students deserve a quality education no matter their race, religion, socio-economic status, sexual orientation or where they live. Our district is unique in that we have 10% of the children but 20% of those in poverty. Along with this comes unique challenges that very few other districts face. We have some good programs in place and I support legislation that rewards good teachers who teach among those who are in our most diverse and poverty-stricken areas. We have many after school programs, food pantries, and family support programs. We need more of these in our schools. Bringing families into the schools is the best way to ensure success for out students. We need strong PTAs, community councils and other outlets to get parents involved. We need to start young, teaching good study habits and prepare students for their future. We need to use our resources help our students find success through programs like AP, concurrent enrollment and the GEC.
We need to make sure we have safe buildings to accommodate our children. I appreciate the process that Granite District has undertaken to change each school so that access to the school is safe. I also have seen the innovations and technologies in our newest schools and am excited for what this means for our students. We also should make sure that our students feel emotionally safe. We do this by making sure they have at least one trusted adult in the school that they can talk to. Teachers need to continue to be trained on how to identify and help students who need interventions. Investing more for social workers and school psychologists into all of our buildings will provide the mental and emotional support to some of our most critical students’ needs. We need to continue to support and encourage teachers to find creative ways to reach our diverse population, and continue to train teachers in the best practices to provide further support.
Great strides were made by offering our teachers pay raises making salary schedule competitive with other districts as well as offering one of the best benefits packages. We also have made it a priority to look at what we can do to support teachers. We changed professional development allowing it to be more site based depending on what a school needs. We should be more aware of the diverse needs in our schools and allow certain decisions to be made by the school for what will work best for them. When teachers have ownership over what they are doing, they are more invested and more loyal. In addition, teachers need to have the supports in place to help them in their classrooms. We have made it a priority to increase pay for substitutes, aides and other hourly employees who are crucial to a positive environment for our teachers. I will continue to listen, support, and advocate to meet the needs of teachers.
For many years, people have been saying our education system needs reforming. As a teacher and board member I have seen what is and isn’t working particularly during the last six months. I love that we are seeing programs and classes that are online- everything from credit recovery to science. Having these options allows students the flexibility they have not had before. I am excited for this change and support our continued offering of classes online to students who need or desire it. Having our curriculum online also allows students to continue school work during illness or vacation because the classwork is being put online. But it is vital we invest in technology. I also appreciate that online learning is not a good fit for all students. As a fine arts teacher, it is important to me that we expand what we offer to our students and foster the creativity and problem solving that these activities teach. This is an important part of success in today’s world.