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West Windsor-Plainsboro BOE Plainsboro

Members of the Board of Education are elected by voters in the communities of Plainsboro and West Windsor Townships. Members are elected to three-year terms, and usually three seats are up for election each year. The Board of Education is composed of four elected representatives from Plainsboro and five from West Windsor.

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  • Rachelle Feldman Hurwitz
    (NP)

  • Candidate picture

    Loi Moliga
    (NP)

Biographical Information

What do you consider the most important challenges facing the District and how would you address them?

What are the most important factors for student success, and how will you, as a school board member, ensure that those factors are addressed?

To what extent should students have input and how should they make their voices heard?

Do you have any concerns regarding equity during the pandemic and whether all students have access to the internet?

What are we learning from the pandemic that could change how schools operate in the future?

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Campaign Email moliga4wwpboe@gmail.com
Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/VoteLoiMoliga
I think the most important challenges facing the district are issues related to the pandemic, pressure on students to excel academically, and budget concern.

COVID CHALLENGES: The pandemic is the biggest challenge facing any school district. Our district has implemented many plans which I support and would like to continue to see more of. For example,

a) Very early on, the district emphasized learning over grades, which helped to alleviate stress

b) Over the summer, a survey asking families for feedback on curriculum priorities, in-person vs. virtual learning, and afterschool activities, was a great way to gauge the pulse of the community and get input from families

c) As plans materialized, giving families the option to choose between hybrid and all virtual models, allowed families to make decisions that best fit their situation

With that said, there are other Covid related concerns that I would like addressed, such as:

a) Having a mechanism in place for continued feedback from families, staff, and students during the pandemic. This is a new situation for all of us, and continuous feedback would allow us to adapt faster to unforeseen issues

b) Ensure that there is no gap between what is covered academically now, versus what would have been covered pre-pandemic

c) A more inclusive decision making process. For example, the district cancelled all after school activities unless they are virtual. That may be the right decision, but it felt like the decision was made without including the community in the decision making process. I believe that a broader discussion could have brought forward ideas that take care of the basic health concerns, while also honoring students’ and families’ desire for improved mental, social and physical well being

PRESSURE ON STUDENTS TO EXCEL ACADEMICALLY: The students’ internal drive to succeed is a positive and should be nurtured. However, when the pressure is external it can negatively impact students.

I am very supportive of the steps that the district has taken to reduce external pressure, such as expanding counseling services, integrating counseling themes into the classroom curriculum, no homework nights, and parent and student focused presentations through Parent University, to list a few.

Something I would like the district to work on, is to make extra curricular activities accessible to more students. Extracurricular activities help students cope better with academic pressure and before the pandemic, many students could not participate even if they wanted to. For example, in my son’s middle school, almost all after school clubs have long waitlists.

SCHOOL BUDGET: I believe there will be cuts to state funding, due to the pandemic. As a district, we will face some tough decisions ahead. As a mother of 3 kids in the school district, my focus is to continue to support programs and policies that benefit students and to ensure that student needs are our top priority.
The most important factors for students' success are, 1) student motivation, 2) family & school support of the whole child, and 3) access to needed resources. The district has made strides in addressing these factors, and as a board member, I will continue to support measures that impact student success. For example:

STUDENT MOTIVATION

Motivation is probably the most important factor for student success. Students are motivated when they have a say in what they do and are interested and passionate about the topic at hand. As a board member I would support:

a) Student input in curriculum design

b) Having lessons & courses that are engaging and relevant

c) Expanding extracurriculars - clubs, activities and sports

FAMILY & SCHOOL SUPPORT FOR THE WHOLE CHILD

With my background in social work, I am trained to look at an individual from a whole person perspective, which includes their biological, psychological and social selves. This perspective will help guide my views as a board member. I support the district’s focus on the whole child, and I would work to preserve the balance between the academic, physical, social and mental health needs of students. I would:

a) Encourage expanding counseling services and to continue to integrate counseling lessons into the curriculum from elementary ages to high school

b) Continue to involve and inform parents & students of the importance of the whole child in student success

ACCESS TO NEEDED RESOURCES

We are fortunate to live in a school district that has many resources to help students and their families. As a board member, I will support expanding access to resources to ensure that all students get what they need to succeed in the classroom
Student input is vital. When students' voices are heard, they feel engaged and invested in their own learning and educational experiences. The district curriculum emphasizes 21st century competencies, which aim to prepare students to be the leaders and workers of tomorrow. What better way to engage in these competencies than to encourage students to advocate for themselves to make meaningful changes that impact their own education.

As a district, we should continue to provide several avenues for students to make their voices heard, such as:

a) The district should conduct student surveys that can capture issues and concerns that are important to students.

b) Student BOE representatives are another way for students to communicate their ideas or concerns. Currently the high schools have BOE student representatives that report the happenings in their schools to the board. I would encourage the district to consider adding middle school representatives as well

c) Students themselves can attend board meetings and speak up during the public comment portion. I think that students in general should be made aware of this option, and that it is great for the board to hear from the very students that their policies impact

d) Students can also utilize their elected student body representatives to bring their concerns and ideas to the administration

Besides the formal mechanism listed above, we should be supportive of student-led informal initiatives. For example, I was very impressed by the students organizing walkouts for climate change and rallies for social justice.
Equity is a systemic issue and concerns of equity in education is always present, but the pandemic has made it worse. As a district, we should recognize the equity concerns and do our best to meet the needs of our students, as much as possible.

With regard to access to technology, I think the district has done a fantastic job of getting Chromebooks in the hands of all students. Additionally, the Technology department has been a wonderful resource to students for devices and connectivity questions. However, I do not think all students have access to stable and reliable internet. I would be supportive of any district initiatives that try to resolve this issue.
I don’t think the pandemic changes how schools operate in the future, but the pandemic simply accelerates how quickly we get there. In the future, I envision technology being used in a variety of ways to make some aspects of our education system, a little more convenient, such as:

a) Avoid school closures due to weather, as everyone can log in remotely to their lessons

b) Help students who are home due to an illness, login to remotely attend or watch a recording of a missed class

c) Conduct teacher parent conferences

d) Conduct 1 on 1 teacher sessions with students across schools

Despite all the possibilities, the pandemic has also made it very clear to everyone, that “virtual” cannot replace the learning and growth that happens inside a classroom and between classes. The district, especially the teachers, are to be commended for their hard work and dedication in adapting quickly to this new way of teaching, but I think we all await a future where classroom interactions are in-person, kids are back on the playgrounds and teachers are doing what they love, at the head of the class.