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Snohomish Edmonds School District 15 Director District #2

4-year term No 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.
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    Ann Mcmurray (NP) Office Manager

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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?

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Phone (206) 618-3675
Email amcmurray@msn.com
Town where you live Brier
Experience (300 characters max) As the current vice-president of the Edmonds School Board, I've 27 years of active involvement in the public-school system, as a parent, community member and tax-payer being familiar with school issues by serving 15 years on the District's Citizen Planning Committee and 12 years on the School Board.
I believe the three major issues facing our district are, in order of urgency: 1. McCleary Funding Challenges - to understand and implement recent legislative directives in response to McCleary, including levy funding reductions, new rules defining enrichment/enhancement, and the new tiered teacher compensation models. With the State funding formulas in flux, this creates uncertainty in our staff, as well as in our budgeting going forward. 2. Changing Diversity Demographics - adopt proposed Race and Equity Policy to create system-wide implementation from board room to classroom, including a rigorous commitment to staff professional development. Edmonds is no longer predominantly white. We need to insist upon measurable procedures/practices to ensure good intentions translate directly into student achievement, as well as family and community inclusion and engagement. 3. Reduce Class Sizes – continue to monitor overcrowded classrooms and hire more teachers, ideally teachers of color.
As a school board member, I don't support charter schools in the Edmonds School District. My passion and advocacy for the past 27 years has been for children to be served by and prosper within the established public school system. While there are exemplary individual charter schools, I don’t believe the overall evidence shows that charter schools deliver a superior educational model over the public school system, in general, nor the Edmonds School District, in particular.
Standardized tests are a snapshot of how a particular student did on a particular test on a particular day. Their value is thus limited and must be combined with formative classroom assessments to get a true picture of how a student is progressing academically. Standardized tests, given yearly, cannot provide a teacher with the ability to assess, in real-time, a student’s progress and make the modifications and differentiated instruction that create immediate opportunities to improve student understanding. Standardized tests are a limited part of a student’s educational picture and, because of that, should be used sparingly. I’m not convinced the amount of time needed to complete these standardized tests versus the information they provide pencils out. I am more in favor of classroom-based, frequent assessments to provide the teacher, student and family real-time information on how the student is progressing so modifications and supports can be provided in a timely manner.
After several years of researching this issue, speaking to staff, parents and students, it seems to be the ideal window of time for elementary schools to start would be 8:00 AM – 8:30 AM, and 7:30 AM to 8:00 AM for secondary schools. The challenge has always been the bussing. This would require a large number of busses, with drivers, all on the road within, roughly, the same hour. At present, our District does not have the number of busses, the drivers, nor the funding necessary to do this. In addition, by bunching the bus runs closely together, drivers would face large gaps of unpaid time in the middle of the day before called upon to drive students home in the afternoon. There are also issues, in the secondary schools, of after-school activities, sports, jobs, and older siblings called upon to watch younger siblings after school. As a District, the discussion of what would work best for the largest number of students, families and staff continues to be evaluated.
The on-time graduation rate comes down to providing the supports needed for individual students to receive their diplomas in four years. These supports need to start no later than middle school, by identifying at-risk students and creating immediate interventions instead of waiting until high school to address. Providing high school level credit for academic work in middle school can also free up important elective time in high school, so students can participate in their passions and not only in academic requirements. At the high school level, knowing and monitoring each student, and finding multiple and creative ways to overcome graduation barriers, through administrative, classroom and counseling collaboration on the student’s behalf, as well as through family engagement, is needed. In short, close up the “cracks” to keep students from falling through them.
Bullying should be taken very seriously, addressed immediately and compassionately through action and education. For the student being bullied, he or she needs to know the school is a place of protection, where concerns will be heard and responded to. A student who is bullied also needs to have additional support to learn how to move beyond the bullying, to a place where self-worth is reestablished and strengthened. If the person bullying is also a student, that student needs to know there is no tolerance for such behavior, first, and then, second, educated in the value of using positive, constructive forms of communication in personal interactions.
As I read the law, the District is required to provide at least one-half credit in civics, which needs to include federal, state and local government organization and procedures; rights and responsibilities of citizens addressed in the Washington State and US Constitutions; current issues at the federal, state and local levels; and electoral issues, including elections, ballot measures, initiatives and referenda. As much as possible, I would like to see addressing these requirements in a hands-on way, instead of a lecture-and-memorize-only model. There are government issues that students can research and find ways to participate in. Instead of dictating to students how to fill these requirements, I would present the requirements to students and ask for their suggestions, to increase relevancy and, hopefully, enthusiastic participation. Real-life learning has a way of “sticking” in the minds and hearts of students, as well as promoting life-long skills and interest in civic life.
If the classroom disruption involves violence or the threat of violence to staff or students, the disruptive student needs to be immediately removed. After analysis of the situation, a decision can be made as to the safest, effective place for educational instruction to continue for that student. This analysis should include input from the student, family, and District staff. Whenever possible, I am in favor of in-house suspension instead of off-site suspension or expulsion, as the least disruptive to the student’s educational progress. For lesser forms of classroom disruption, I would favor in-house educational and psychological support and training, to assist the student in learning about and choosing other ways of either gaining attention or seeking to meet needs. In each circumstance, the least restrictive or disruptive alternative should be chosen, for the shortest amount of time to be effective.

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