BS; Early Childhood Education
MEd: Education Policy and Administration
Married with 2 boys 19 & 15
There are curriculum standards for each grade. Those cannot change. What can change is how the material is taught to ensure student success. It is important to offer lessons based on the learning styles of the students.
Prince William County has the most crowded schools and lowest salaries for educators in Northern Virginia. If Prince William County truly wants a World Class Education it must invest in it. That means building the schools that can support the growing population to reduce class size. It also means paying teachers salaries that are competitive with the rest of Northern Virginia. This is needed to attract the best teachers and retain them.
I believe the curriculum should be written in the county where it will be taught. There should be state standards, but the actual curriculum should belong in the hands of the people delivering it.
I think we can also agree that there is too much testing in Virginia, which causes too much stress in the classroom. There is no reason to test every class every year and students should not be asked to take tests that span multiple years.
This probably isn't innovation, but it is necessary to reduce class sizes. Over crowding has put enormous stress on the classrooms. Teachers cannot hope to meet each child's needs when class sizes as high as they are.
I would also like to see the curriculum incorporate critical thinking skills. It is important for students to question and discern facts in front them. Skills on how to find credible sources and facts in an ocean of social media is one of the most important item we can teach.
Specialty programs offer great opportunity to students across the county. Unfortunately, some schools are so crowded the specialty programs are only available to those within the schools boundaries. Which means many students are left out.
I would also like to see more tech ed for students that do not desire to go to college. We need to honor those students and help prepare them for good paying jobs in the trade industry.
As an early childhood teacher, I know that excellent Pre-K education is critical for success in school. It is worth investing in. Many resources are needed like funding and infrastructure. Buildings and classrooms need to be built and the teachers need to be paid equal to the educators in the regular education classes. By investing in Pre-K education we will give children a head start to success in school.
Citizens already have the opportunity to express their concerns or ideas to the school board. However, perhaps advisory committees could be made to work with the school board.
The most important change to increase teacher retention rate is to increase salaries to be competitive with the salaries of other counties from Northern Virginia. Many teachers work two jobs and have to live in less expensive counties commuting quite far because they cannot afford to live in the county. If they can make more elsewhere, they will leave. It is also critical to treat teachers as the highly educated professionals as they are and recognize all they are and all they do for our kids
J.D., J. Reuben Clark Law School, 1997
B.A., Humanities-English, Brigham Young University, 1992
Utah Bar, 1997
Husband and three children, two currently in Prince William County Schools and one PWCS graduate
I recommend we expand our specialty programs and replicate our most successful ones. I would like more flexibility from state government for diploma requirements. I propose we increase our number of JROTC programs and dual enrollment courses. We can increase our offering of career and technical certification programs. We can foster greater collaboration among schools and promote best practices such as project-based learning and more opportunity for student-directed projects.
We should identify an alternative to the revenue sharing agreement. We need greater flexibility to address needs like teacher pay and overcrowding. The school board should be able to request additional funds for specific purposes without raising taxes to secure more funding for our greatest needs. The School Board and Board of County Supervisors need to work more closely together to manage growth and resources.
They restrict how flexible we can be in rewarding diplomas, which limits students interested in technical, career, or military education. We need more flexibility for internships and certifications. We need to resist teaching to the test; our kids are cheated when they are just learning to the test. Testing and assessment requirements are good in moderation, but too much testing takes time away from important 21st century skills like innovation, communication and creativity.
Increase our offering of cross-curricular programs like IB and Cambridge in all levels of secondary education. Promote the development of dual enrollment offerings at HS level. Promote teams of teachers working across curriculums. Consider later start time for high school. Increase opportunities to get outside. Open several career and technical programs that house multiple certification and credentialing tracks. Expand the Governor School at Innovation Park to allow for more students.
Specialty programs allow students to specialize while in HS and give them exposure to subjects they may want to study after HS. They increase the chance that students enter college, military, or the workforce with specialized knowledge and skills. Our greatest challenge is accessibility due to factors such as distance, time and traffic. The further away a student is from a specialty program, the less likely they are to apply, and more popular programs fill up quickly, leaving some kids out.
To increase public pre-kindergarten programs would require more instructional space, additional teachers and counselors. All of these would require additional funding, so expanding public Pre-K would start with securing adequate funds. I would like to see a robust pre-K curriculum developed with an online option for parents to register for and participate in. This would help achieve the goal of school readiness among a wider percentage of the school population without driving up costs.
We need more and better communication with the public and more collaboration with local governing bodies. We need to educate the public on how the process works, how to use the data, and how to provide meaningful feedback beyond voicing what works best for them. We need to be more transparent with data and decision-making. We can manage expectations of what can reasonably be done, on the choices available, and the consequences of various options.
Adjust the pay scale to be more competitive for new teachers. Assist principals with creating positive work environments for new teachers through professional development. Seek system-wide feedback from teachers on what they need. Develop more robust mentoring support. Offer incentives to receiving professional certifications for areas like gifted and special ed. Develop a specialty program for education to identify and educate high school students interested in teaching as a profession.