What motivates me to become a Board member is that I am very passionate about the town and community that I grew up in. I have always felt it was important to volunteer and be involved in the community as much as possible and help make a difference wherever I could. I will bring trustworthiness, caring, responsibility, and loyalty to this town and my community. Also, my life-long experience with volunteerism is a unique strength that I can bring to the Board of Education.
I would consider community involvement, Covid-19, and technology/education important challenges or areas that I hope to make a difference and/or make a more positive outcome.
First, I am a firm believer that you need community involvement and support to make a difference. I would like to try to get the community more involved in attending board meetings because everyone has a voice and everyone's voice matters.
I believe no one should feel stuck or lost when it comes to the current public health crisis. Although I feel confident the administration is doing their best in keeping our schools safe, I would like to make sure that our schools have all the tools and support they need in order to adhere to all the most up to date protocols and safety measures to ensure everything is being done to keep our students, teachers, and parents safe from Covid-19.
I would like to make sure our schools have every opportunity for any available programs out there for our students. I also believe our students deserve to have the best technology there is to offer to schools. This will not only benefit our students and teachers but help keep the parents involved in their children's education. Education is very important to me and every child deserves to have the best education and opportunity there is to offer to them.
I feel the school districts should take a serious and passionate involvement when dealing with these situations because for one they are children. Secondly, sometimes these children depend on us for a voice when they are afraid to use their own. Last, I feel it is important and our responsibility to help and guide these children in the right direction or help resolve any situation they may be going through. Hunger, poverty, drugs, emotional illness, and bullying are obstacles every school has to face at some point. No child should feel embarrassed or have to worry about how they will eat during school. I would like to make sure our schools offer the best meal programs for every student no matter their situation. I also feel that no child should ever feel afraid or worried about going to school and encountering any bullying situation. Growing up in school can be fun and also tough. There are quite a few life decisions to make, new and confusing emotions to deal with and a lot of social anxiety. Therefore, no child, teacher, or parent should have to feel they have no support or resources to help them. I will also commit and make sure our schools provide the best resources and solutions to help overcome any of these obstacles.
I feel every board member should be accessible at any time, therefore I personally will make my email and phone number available to anyone when there is a concern, question, or even a suggestion that a parent or community member may have. I feel the board members should have an excellent relationship between parents and other community members. Besides the parents being the most important, the next is the people in the community because everyone has a voice and everyone's voice matters.
I prefer the students should start school virtually before starting in school class for two reasons. One to make sure the plan the Board of Ed has in place is well executed, secure, and safe for our students. Secondly since there is supposed to be a second wave of the this virus, or if the virus numbers start to increase again, at least the students starting virtual will not only be safe at home, but they will already be accustomed and prepared if virtual needed to remain longer until it is safe for students to return to in person school.
Channing Conway for Ewing Board of Education
My motivation comes from my work in education and my intrinsic desire to create equitable learning experiences for all students. My 25 years of experience as an educator in which I have served as a teacher, vice principal, principal and currently an assistant superintendent has presented me with the opportunity to become very well versed in matters concerning public education. In addition, I have served on the Ewing Board of Education since 2017. My experience with policy & governance, curriculum & instruction, educational finance and a deep understanding of the inner workings of a school system have proved to be strengths in my tenure as a Board Member.
I think the most important challenge facing the Ewing School District and every other school district in the country is educating children during the global pandemic. We learned quickly, online school may work for some, however there is no replacement for face to face instruction with a certified teacher; particularly during the primary years of education. Engaging students in meaningful instruction, while implementing researched based best practices in a remote environment will be a monumental task. Schools not only serve to develop academic abilities in children but social and emotional aspects are equally as import in the development of the total child. Keeping students connected with their peers and the school community is necessary to combat symptoms of social isolation, loneliness and depression. Attempting to simultaneously keep students socially distanced and socially engaged will be a challenge for Ewing,
To address this concern, I would work with the district's administration in the development of extra curricular programming to extend beyond the school day. These programs would be offered remotely and face to face if/when appropriate. The idea is to engage students in a less formal environment where their social well being is primary concern and they are provided with an opportunity to socially interact with their peers.
Schools are microcosms of society and they often reflect the ills that plague communities and society. Unfortunately, many of our children experience trauma and other adverse child experiences on a regular basis. As such, the implications of poverty, hunger, emotional illness and drug abuse can prevent students from meeting their full academic potential. I believe education should serve as the great equalizer and should present life changing opportunities for all students. I believe educators have a responsibility to address the needs of the total child. This includes their social, emotional and overall physical well being. In certain instances, schools should work to align families with the necessary resources to assist their situation and promote student success. Education plays a significant role in shaping and developing the lives of children and it remains our duty to provide all students with the supports needed for success.
Unlike other elected officials, Board Members do not have office hours. With that, parents and community members can access Board Members at the monthly Board of Education meeting. It is my beliefs as an elected official, Board Members should be responsive to the community and respond appropriately to concerns received though electronic communication channels. Board Members should be visible in the community and attend community based events. Opportunities to engage with the community outside of the monthly meeting is extremely important in ensuring community members feel represented. Additionally, Board Members often frequent various school based activities in an effort to show support and interact with the public. Creating opportunities to engage with the public works to ensure the community has a voice in the decisions impacting the school community.
I think this is a personal question as each person has to make a decisions which best meets the specific needs of his/her family. That is why I supported the districts Return to School Plan because it did just that; it provided a variety of options for the students and parents of Ewing. There is no replacement to a certified teacher however, the health and safety of the school community is paramount. The Return to School Plan closely followed CDC guidance so parents who selected an in person option can feel confident the School Board was committed to the health and safety of both children and staff. By recognizing the diversity of our school community and the Return to School Plan gave parents the ability to select an opting for their unique circumstances.
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I believe that our children are our future and that I (We) are their hope. Attending public schooling has been a wonderful and life changing experience for me. I was blessed with great teachers and staff who encouraged me to push harder when I wanted to give up. I truly believe that for them to have been so dedicated and concerned for my wellbeing, the school board was an enabler. I want to be a part of that. I want to be a major contributor to allowing our teachers the ability and comfortability to want to teach our children and be a vessel of encouragement for all students. I am also seeking this position as I believe that every Ewing citizen has an obligation to be held accountable for ensuring that our children are positioned to be able to compete in a world that is forever changing.
Socioeconomic Status and how it affects learning, to include online learning. Training, as it relates to teaching strategies and cultural awareness. I am a strong believer in communication, active listening, and training. If we can do this, I think we can at least position ourselves to become open to understanding who we are individually and those that we work with. The National Association of Social Workers mission is to meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. My opinion is that this mission should be utilized as a mechanism to enhance diversity. As a graduate with a master’s degree in Social Work, I would promote the importance of human relationships and dignity and worth of a person as my blueprint to cultivate a safe working and educational environment.
I believe school districts should assume some responsibility in dealing with societal problems. The continuation of providing meals to all students should always be a priority. For many students, they look forward to school lunch because that may be the only nutritious meal they may receive that day. A child cannot learn if they are hungry. No child should be denied an education due to poverty. School social workers should be the bridge to building relationships to help students fell comfortable discussing their feelings without fear; to include parents and guardians as well. As it relates to substance abuse, I again would refer to having skilled social workers who can build relationships with students and parents that will promote trust.
I believe in full disclosure. As a member, I will ensure that our students and their parents/caregivers are provided with all current and changing information regarding education both within Ewing and surrounding cities, towns, and townships. So many of our families are not aware or does not know how to access this information. I would like to develop cost efficient programs that would ensure easy access to information and where to find it.
I am a visual person. Pre-pandemic, I would rather talk face to face. Nothing is more pleasing than expressing yourself verbally and visually. In person communication is the best form of communicating as it allows you the opportunity to gauge body language and expression. The pandemic has made this challenging, so I would prefer the hybrid option. When safety allows, I would love in person but I understand the need for online and I will always comply with safety.
As an lifetime educator I want to become a board member in Ewing to encourage progress in how we approach educating our young people in the 21st century. I have taught at all levels of public education. Currently I teach high school in Burlington County and am working on my EdD in Educational Leadership. I have a vast amount of training in curriculum, social justice issues in education, classroom management, school budgeting, and community relations. The knowledge and experience I have in NJ public education enables me to give valuable feedback to the administration to ensure that we are providing the best possible education for all the students in Ewing Township Public Schools.
The most important challenges Ewing faces as a school district is the diverse needs of our community and meeting them equitably. It is important to gain more community investment in the schools so that we can more effectively meet the various levels of need among our school population. The board needs to be directly involved with clear and transparent communication to all constituents so that everyone will be informed of the events and resources that are offered throughout the community. When we work together with all community constituents with open and transparent communication we will be much more successful at meeting the needs of our students equitably. Finally, community committees addressing the various needs of our students should be opened up to all community members for an actual seat at the table when making important decisions.
School districts have historically dealt with many societal problems. Schools provide food for the hungry, resources such as counseling and tutoring at no cost to students and families, and references for support with drug abuse. As a community resource schools have a fundamental responsibility to address the societal issues facing our children and families. Schools must be advocates for children and families who face these grave problems so that children can learn effectively when in school. In order for schools to effectively educate students they must provide supports for children and families who need it so they students can grow to be productive and successful community members.
Board members should be easily accessible to parents and community members through email, social media, phone, and written communication. If the board is going to be able to effectively represent the needs of the school community it is imperative they are fully aware of parent concerns and needs so that the schools can respond appropriately to the people they represent.
During this time of pandemic I personally preferred online instruction for my own children. COVID-19 will not be effectively controlled until we have an effective treatment and vaccine. That being said, I also recognize the extreme hardship this caused for many families in the Spring. Hybrid is the second solution that I feel is the best. In person instruction is critical for students to learn and grow, however, we must also be cognizant of the many risks this poses during the pandemic. By keeping numbers low in the classrooms we can more effectively social distance and ensure that all students are wearing masks and conducting proper hygiene. Research continually shows that mask wearing is the single most effective method to curbing the spread of COVID-19; along with proper ventilation while inside buildings. Remote instruction is most certainly the safest method of instruction at this time, but the hybrid model can also be safe as long as all involved are vigilant.
I am motivated to become a board member
because i want to bring an energy to the board that it currently lacks and has lacked for as long as i can remember. Being a school board member is not a job, it is a responsibility. As a school board member your responsibility is to make sure you are adding something positive to the school system. I feel like whatever it is you are great at, bring that to the board and the schools to make the school experience better for the children. Which will make it better for the parents, the teachers, and the administration. I will bring a positive energy to every interaction i have with any person i come in contact with. Which will encourage more community engagement. I will work to bring the students to the forefront of all discussions. I will bring a refreshing unifying energy to the board.
The most pressing issue ewing school district faces is complacency. I think the district and the board has been the same for a long time. As ewing changes the school system should reflect that. Ewing is a great place to live and go to school but a change of pace is needed in the school system. I will be that change of pace. I will bring more enthusiasm to the board. I will engage with the students and parents. I will invite them to board meetings. I will answer all emails within 24 hours. I will encourage more dialogue between students, parents, staff, and administration. Again i will bring an inclusive positive energy to all interactions.
I believe school districts have a responsibility to teach children and facilitate growth in the whole child. Yes children must learn reading, writing, math, and health. That is the base of all education. That is also just one aspect of a child. Children go through a myriad of emotions growing up in society today. We should feel as a district, the need to support them. Our district must foster an environment full of empathy and understanding. To answer the question, yes we should take on the responsibility to support these families by funneling them to agencys or companies that can help them. That is the responsibility we should take. To get them to a place they can get help.
Board members must be accessible and visible to parents and other community members. Being accessible and visible is paramount to building relationships in the community. How else will we know the needs of the people if we are never amongst the people?
I believe the best way to protect our families is hybrid. With families having the choice of in person or virtual learning. Everyone's situation is different. Some may have at risk family who lives with them. For that family virtually may be the best option. Others may be a single parent with a small child who needs to work in order to pay rent. We as a district must do our best to accommodate our wide demographic of families.
I want to be a board member because I want the best for my community. I was born in Ewing, have lived here my whole life, and used the education I received in Ewing Public Schools as the foundation for my entire life. Not only did I attend the Ewing Schools, but I worked in the Ewing Schools for over six years as an aide and a substitute. In the past year, I have been in every single Ewing school. My strengths are not only my connection to the community, but my understanding of the value of public education. My undergraduate degree was in Education and now I am studying Education Law. I have learned that the best way to further a community is to invest and improve their education system. I would bring a unique perspective to the board, as a young person with great entanglement to the community but also with knowledge of data, research, and best practices in the field of Education.
The most important challenge facing the Ewing school district is unequal opportunity for all students and teachers. We have three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school- all of which have dedicated teachers and hardworking students. However, each of these schools experience different issues; and teachers and students at these schools have different needs. From pre-k to twelfth grade we need to prepare our students for success by giving them what they individually need. Not every student needs the same things. Some students have active and involved parents, and others have parents who are busy but still trying their best. Some families are well off and some are struggling to get by. If we as a district acknowledge these differences we can better help our students and educators. We can provide more books, or materials, or anything that may be necessary! I will address these inequalities by listening and learning, as well as using research about what children need to be successful. Research will guide each decision I make. On a case to case basis I will evaluate situations and analyze problems to solve them as they happen. Ewing can work to even the playing field for their students to ensure a successful future for all of our kids.
It would be easy to absolve school districts from dealing with societal problems, after all schools are technically only in charge of educating their students. This, however, would be a critical mistake. If the district refuses to address societal issues they are not doing their job. As I referenced before, if we do not acknowledge where each of our students is coming from, it is impossible to properly educate them. A student who is impoverished, hungry, or struggling in any way can not learn at their full potential. This is a known fact. As society, we should be protecting children; and as a school district it is our responsibility. Schools need to be a safe place. It would be entirely disingenuous to claim that our schools are a safe place while ignoring or refusing to help remedy the damaging life experiences affecting our students.
Board members should be accessible to the community. Period! We must all listen to and learn from each other. It is pointless to pretend like one person knows everything. Everyone has a different but valuable perspective. Regardless of their personal experiences, or their education, or their knowledge; no board member can have the experiences that someone else in the district is having. A board members’ job is to do what is best for the students and that cannot be done without listening to and communicating with the parents and the community. By listening with empathy, by communicating with honesty, I aim to create productive relationships with members of the Ewing community. It would be a disservice to the community if I did not listen and understand the valuable contributions that others have.
I have no preference of options during this pandemic. I prefer the option that emphasizes safety but still facilitates learning during this unprecedented and ever changing time. We need to put our children and teachers first; and let what's best for them guide our decision making in the upcoming months. Last school year, when classes were moved to fully online there was no longer a need for substitute teachers; so I have never had the experience of teaching online. I have listened to many of my teacher friends and colleagues express their frustrations and difficulties with online classes. Currently, I am a completely online student; so I understand the challenges facing our students. There is no perfect solution, and finding the balance that prioritizes health and learning is my strong preference. Regardless of what is chosen, I think we must listen and offer Ewing students and teachers the support that they so vitally need when it is inevitably asked for.