Canyons School Board 7
Our Charge & ResponsibilityStudents will leave us prepared for college,career and life in the 21st century world.Board Goals Increase achievement for every student Enrich and increase parent and community engagement
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What experience and skills do you bring to solving problems?
How do you propose to provide an equitable education to a diverse student population, including underserved students?
How would you provide a healthy, safe and supportive learning environment for all students?
What would you do to attract new and retain teaching staff?
What are the most critical needs facing the district and how can you best contribute to potential solutions?
I have spent the past ten years serving on school community councils at DPMS and Sunrise Elementary. I have listened to a host of problems our schools face and enjoy finding creative solutions. For example, at Sunrise Elementary I helped develop our Council goal," Every Sunrise Eagle rise". We worked with our district to develop a program where learners were assigned numbers. It became a teacher goal to identify learners within each of the sub groups and create an academic plan. We supported this plan with extra funding for teacher aids, professional development, and a reading program. We reduced the number of times students were pulled out of class for assemblies. Best practices were implemented along with lessons on test taking strategies. Additional help for students was provided. We were thrilled to see the data and watch as test scores rose for below basic, nearly proficient, proficient, and advanced learners. As a mother of seven children I was happy to provide pathways for all.
I spent 4 years working with a youth group in the inner city of Cleveland, Ohio. I am keenly aware of the challenges underserved populations face. Equitable education begins with access. Equity in education is not only vital with instructional support, but also within the school climate. We need to energize our efforts to create a school climate of inclusivity. Inclusivity begins with student and teacher lead councils established to provide equality in our schools. Mini lessons need to be taught by counselors to open students’ minds to peers they may not see. This year has been a turbulent one as schools have faced the unique challenges COVID has brought. Canyons District has worked with comcast and T-Mobile to provide internet access and hot spots to families who do not have it. As we have moved to an online teaching experience it is vital we provide internet access for our students. One of my greatest concerns is to help those students who are currently underserved.
Providing a healthy, safe, and supportive learning environment for all students is multi faceted. We must not only provide the instructional support for every learner, but also create diverse pathways for success. We must implement inclusivity at every level. Counselors need to work to build a relationship of trust for their students and establish themselves as a safe adult. Students need to be well educated about programs like "safe Utah" which allows students to anonymously report dangerous situations in the school. We need to work on how we reintegrate students who have been disciplined by the school. Finally, we must be sure we are recognizing the needs of every student. There is a group of students who we need to address better. This group is the nearly proficient learners. If we look closely at this sub group of students, they have unique challenges. We need to ensure these students have established pathways for success and that we provide extra help with teaching assistants.
Attracting and retaining teaching staff happens when we offer competitive teaching and teaching assistant salaries and incentives. Our teachers need to feel supported in their professional development with opportunities to attend conferences. Teachers need to feel valued in our school district and be informed about the choices and decisions the school board faces. A large part of our retention can also be attributed to the climate and working environment of our individual schools. Attracting and retaining talented principals who establish a positive work environment is crucial. Principals set a tone for the school and a dynamic which can elevate teacher's experiences. Providing teachers with support from the school district, their school principal, and their fellow colleagues help to create a happy work environment. Promoting mental and physical health with incentives is also a great support. As a district we need to survey our teachers and listen to suggestions on how to improve.
Currently our critical need is providing quality education to students during the COVID 19 pandemic and helping our teachers handle the workload. One of the most difficult problems is the current quarantine policy outlined by Salt Lake County Board of Health. Currently masked students are required to quarantine if they shared a class with another masked student who tested positive for COVID 19. These quarantined students are required to stay at home for 14 days. Not only does this provide a disruption in their learning, but also it has provided a huge workload for teachers. Most recently at one of the high schools in my district we had almost one hundred times the amount of students quarantined as had the virus. Every day school was open, teachers had to be prepared for in person teaching and for the exponential growing amount of quarantined students. A solution is to allow schools the same quarantine policy as businesses. This would support the CDC statement of mask wearing efficacy.
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