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> First off, I am a teacher. I have been in multiple public-school districts around the country as an educator and have seen the success and struggles of multiple districts including District 81. I have a master’s degree that I have used for teaching since 2008. I have the years and I have the experience to know what is working and what is not working in District 81.
1. The most pressing issues is the 21-million-dollar deficit. This is crippling to our schools, staff, and kids if we don’t do something to turn around our spending.
2. The district is not listening to the issues of the schools. There are schools in our districts where their employees and kids are not getting their needs addressed in a timely manner. All of our district schools need to have equality in how the board responds to them. There needs to be adequate support for special programs and staffing to ensure these programs are successful.
3. Our staff is highly trained and highly educated. The board and district need to support the experts needs and advice for our schools.
We need the public and schools to have the same financial goals for our schools. We need to work together as a community to have financial transparency.
The safety of our students should be a top priority. Safety concerns come in a variety of forms in today’s society. We can have a threat from outside our schools such as a domestic terror situation such as a school shooting. We need to have professional, trained, armed resource officers able to respond to a lethal terror situation immediately. However, there are also inside threats to our schools and that is lack of authority and discipline our children have for the schools’ teachers, staff and administration in today’s schools.
We need to have more structured and district supported consequences for students who do not follow the expressed district rules for school learning behavior. I feel extreme and disruptive discipline issues should be addressed with parent involved consequences, such as firm punishment for breaking the school rules, in school suspension, and parent and school classroom intervention.
We need to prioritize funding for our district to supply the needs of our schools. We need teachers, we need staff, and we need student programs. But we need to cut back on non-essential positions and programs until District 81 can balance our budget. That will require an extreme financial priority cuts and responsible spending.
Technical programs are more important today than in recent history. We need to offer technical training for our kids. Not only is there a surge for technical jobs in our society, but children today are lacking the essential life skills to be successful.
Our schools have great programs in place that deal with most of these programs. Our schools and staff are highly trained to deal with these very important issues. However, staff cuts are leading to laying off the essential staff needed to ensure that these programs succeed in our schools. That needs to stop. We need our school counselors, nurses, liaisons, therapy experts. We need to keep these programs secure and that includes prioritizing essential personnel.
Town where you live
Experience (300 characters max)
I’m a mother of four young adults, ages 19-25 who all graduated from Ferris High School. I have 20+ years of leadership experience in non-profit, tribal government, and tribal organizations.
While working full-time and raising a busy family, I juggled being an adult student, earning a Bachelor’s in Business-IT Management. I’ll begin a Masters in Health Leadership program this Fall. I currently work for a local non-profit doing project management in Medicaid Transformation as the Director of Tribal Relations. Within my job, I work closely with tribal and non-tribal partners in the region. I provide technical assistance and support to ensure that the Medicaid system changes do not adversely affect our tribal health systems, which provide care to the American Indian/Alaska Native populations they serve. The last three years, I’ve been a member of the SPS Diversity Advisory Council, chairing 2017-2018. We've provided input to the Board regarding curriculum, student discipline & restorative practices, and diversity training. This work needs to go deer, and I believe I'm the best candidate to infuse equity in all policy and activities.
Safety, Curriculum, and School Discipline
The full Safe Havens report was released, outlining safety considerations and recommendations – one being to arm campus resource officers. I do not support arming school resource officers. There have been no studies that indicate the arming of CROs makes students or learning environments safer. I’d rather see continued investment toward programs such as Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and Social Emotional Learning. With the budget cuts, we don’t have the funds to spend on equipment, training, additional insurance costs, and process changes that arming CROs would require.
I would make sure that all safety policies focus on inclusion of all students. Adopting a diversity and inclusion policy that is supported by a school and public campaign is needed – we need to engage families and students. Increasing and expanding programs such as Multi-Tier Systems of Support is a must. We need to continue to nurture an unbiased environment by ensuring all educators are trained in cultural diversity and trauma informed care.
The district needs to first address the disproportionate rate that students of color and those with IEPs are being disciplined and put in isolation. These inequities are unacceptable. We need to assess the data, review specific instances, and talk to educators and families/students in order to correct these inequities.
The legislature needs to fully fund public education. Our community continually shows they support our schools, but we shouldn’t first look to them to make up any deficit in future years.
I’m an advocate for technical training in secondary schools. We need more innovative schools and programs like NEWTECH Skills Center but integrated into the regular school day for more students.
Working collaboratively with community organizations, the district needs to understand the family’s needs, and prior education and experiences in order to create specific programs, supports and opportunities for them to succeed.