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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Cowlitz Longview School District No. 122 Director Position #1

4-year term No Salary, some districts offer small per diem for evening meetings. School Board Members or “directors” – are the elected governing body of the school district, serving four-year terms. The school board’s governance responsibilities fall in four major areas: Vision – focuses the work on student achievement through a comprehensive strategic planning process; Structure – provides prudent financial planning and oversight; diligent and innovative policymaking; Accountability – sets specific goals and a process for evaluation, reporting and recommendations for improvements; and Advocacy – champions public education in the local community and before state and federal policy makers. The School Board sets the general policies of the district, which are implemented by the hired professional district Superintendent and certificated teaching staff and personnel. One of the critical duties is the adoption of the district's budget and proposal of any school levies to be placed on the ballot to the people. The commission sets policies and approves all spending via the budget. The council also sets salaries for district employees.
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    Joseph Hobson (NP) Union Steamfitter

  • C.J. Nickerson (NP)

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Biographical Information

Of three major issues facing your district, which one is the most urgent?

What is your position on Charter Schools as a part of your public school system?

What is your position on testing of your students?

What is your opinion on "start times" for elementary and secondary school?

How can the on-time graduation rate be improved?

How should bullying be addressed?

What would be your plan to see that your school district students earn their civics credit required by the new state law?

What is your opinion of student suspension for classroom disruption?

Phone (360) 430-8447
Town where you live Longview, Washington
Experience (300 characters max) A resident of Longview for 27 years and a union member for over 40 years. Earned a Master's Degree in Pastoral Studies from Seattle University in 2006. I worked as Director of the Worker Re-Training Service at Lower Columbia Community College from 2005-2008. Two adult RA Long graduates.
My goal in running for this Directorship is to advocate for students in helping to create and expand, in collaboration with the other 4 school board members,academic excellence and career pathways for Longview's public school students. We, as a community, need to be aware and cognizant of a multitude of pathways for students, working in partnership with area companies, unions, parents of students, school staff. A comprehensive plan from pre-K thru high school graduation must be in place for all students. This means Longview residents must invest in a well-trained and qualified administrative and educational staff. The current bond issue is an example of the communities investment for the future of Longview Schools. I can also envision an area career and training center being created through private and public funding.
I am against Charter Schools being a part of the public school system. Public school funds should go toward creating, strengthening and enhancing our public school system. Charter schools have their place in American society. Charter schools should be funded with private funds.
Understanding that not all students learn the same way, we need to test to the strengths of each and every individual student. This would mean smaller class sizes for more one on one interaction between student and teacher. The testing the took place during the No Child Left Behind era was too generalized and took away from integrated learning time. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 has been much better at promoting localized innovation and also addresses equality issues.
I believe that not all students function their best at all times. Some are early risers and do well at an early hour. Others are more "night owls" and after they sleep longer, function better. With more "flexible" start times for especially middle and high school students, I believe we will see better performance by the students.
On-time graduation rates have improved recently and that's great. We could do even better by taking successful models from other districts then utilizing and molding those practices in the Longview School district. An example may be only 40 miles to the south of us in Vancouver, Washington. There graduation rates have gone up from 64 to 80 percent. How? Superintendent Steven Webb addressed the achievement gaps by alleviating the detrimental effects of poverty which he saw as barriers to learning. He helped to establish Opportunity Zones comprising of his district's highest poverty neighborhoods. He helped to engage students, parents, teachers and staff, community partners and public-policy makers. Public, private and nonprofit organizations assist children and families through Family-Community Resource Centers that donate clothing, food and school supplies for basic needs. They also facilitate learning opportunities, afterschool programs and parent engagement activities.
Bullying should NEVER be tolerated. Bullying should always be reported with out fear of retaliation. Corrective action should closely involve students, parents and the school district so that bullying is not repeated over and over again.
I believe civics and understanding our government should be taught at ALL EDUCATIONAL LEVELS. We can arrange current legislative aids to current and past public officials to make presentation in the school districts. A recent poll was taken asking students what are the three major branches of government. Another question was what was the names of the Three Stooges. More student knew the names of the Three Stooges than the names of the three branches of the U.S. Government. This is a disgrace. We see the result of this lack of knowledge in reality with less and less citizens who are eligible to vote, not voting. Being involved as a citizen and caring about the common good are hallmarks within our democracy and should never be taken for granted or we will lose them forever.
All classrooms should be free from disruption. If a student, after being warned, continues to disrupt the class, he or she should be removed from the class. Suspension should be the final solution to disruption. First though, the school district must go through a process of accessing the students situation at home. Parent meetings, possible psychological evaluations, must all be reviewed. Certain disrupts deserved immediate suspension, such as others students being threatened physically or through intimidation. Each situation must be handled on a case by case basis.
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