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Pierce University Place School District No. 83 Director Pos. 2

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.
  • Nate Angelo (NP)

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    Marisa Peloquin (NP) Division Chief of Staff (colonel) in U.S. Army Reserve

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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?

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Phone (253) 381-6006
Town where you live University Place
Experience (300 characters max) I have worked in education for over 13 years, as an adjunct professor and as a military instructor. I have served on the WA State PTA Board. My children have been in the challenge and special ed programs, and I understand that students have different needs, but all thrive with responsive support.
There are several major issues facing the University Place school district, and they are consistent with the issues identified by the Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI): increase basic education funding; improve academic achievement and close opportunity gaps; and increase pathways to graduation. While all are critical, University Place faces the urgent issue of increasing pathways to graduation through career and technical education (CTE) programs and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs. One-third of students attend a four-year university after high school, so we need to build pathways for the other two-thirds. College may work for some students, but learning a trade is the right path for others, so CTE should not be marginalized. These students cannot be left behind, scrambling for minimum-wage jobs when, with the right guidance, they could be learning a trade, earning a stable income, and truly becoming productive citizens.
I am a strong advocate for public education. There are fewer than 1,000 students enrolled in charter schools in WA, compared with 1.1 million students in public schools (<0.1%). Charter school advocates desire a model that might better fit their student, but this path in WA is not without roadblocks, such as lack of consistent funding, transportation, services for children with disabilities, and higher suspension rates due to stricter discipline policies. This model of education is not appropriate for all of Washington’s public school students, so the funding for charter schools should not disproportionately detract from the total available to public schools. While charter schools are ineligible to receive funds from local levies, they still take away from the funds available for public education. At this time, the charter schools model in WA is rife with problems, and it is not ready to be a viable solution for our public school students, in general.
Some testing is necessary for federal accountability and to provide a common measure of a student’s progress toward academic goals. Testing can also determine where additional support and resources are needed to close achievement gaps or to qualify students for advanced learning programs. With that said, I am against high-stakes testing that is linked to a teacher’s compensation or that will prevent a student from graduating. Such use of testing causes undue stress on both the teacher and the student, changing the classroom dynamic from one of learning to one of “teaching to the test.” I have witnessed this stress at the primary school level, where teachers were forced to trade hours of hands-on learning for hours of common-core methodology and the use of tablets for testing. We need to allow teachers to focus on their students’ learning rather than on their test-taking abilities.
I think that it is prudent to examine school start times as they relate to student learning, making adjustments to improve the learning. However, there are trade-offs in making adjustments. For example, the University Place school district maintains its own transportation assets, and this is a limited resource. The latest start time is for intermediate school students (8:45 am). Such a late start time seems infeasible for high school students, many of whom have sports or other after-school activities. When one looks at the time to travel to a different school for a game, in addition to the duration of the event, the return time would be well-past the dinner hour and would leave little time for homework. Therefore, I believe that the current start times work well for the students within this district.
The on-time graduation rate can be improved by taking a closer look at absentee-ism before students even reach high school. Good habits start at an early age, so it is important to build strong relationships with students’ families during primary, intermediate, and junior high school. Students who have a strong support network of family, teachers, and community mentors have a better chance of getting the help they need before it is too late to recover. This network can identify problems and implement interventions to help students persevere and graduate rather than lose hope and drop out of school.
Bullying needs to be taken seriously by students, families, and teachers. The solution includes educating students what bullying looks like, de-stigmatizing the reporting of bullying, being watchful for inappropriate behavior, and modeling good behavior. Parents have a strong role in the success of their students by being involved in their student’s activities, to include monitoring online behavior and enforcing standards for appropriate behavior.
The intent of this new law is to ensure that students are provided with a high-caliber civics education. My plan would be to incorporate civics education as early as primary school rather than waiting until high school to begin the discussion. At the primary level, teachers can teach the basics of government, history, and democracy. As students grow, they can hone their critical thinking skills through facilitated discussions of current events and controversial issues. Throughout the process, students should be encouraged to practice community service, simulations of democratic processes, and school governance. Extracurricular activities, such as service clubs, can encourage civic involvement.
All of our students deserve the opportunity to be part of a learning environment, and excessive disruption by a student can detract from this experience. It is important to reduce disruptions so that the class can focus on the learning, but it is also critical to address the cause of the disruptive behavior and apply appropriate interventions before the behavior escalates and becomes harmful to the student or community. Disruptive behavior should be addressed quickly and appropriately. When a student is suspended, it causes a break in the learning, and it can signal a deeper problem, such as a family crisis or mental health issue, including suicidal ideations. Counseling or tutoring can help get a student back on track, and sometimes alternative schooling should be addressed. I am familiar with this issue because I have a special-needs student who has been suspended for classroom disruption, and it is imperative to get students the support they need to stay in school. logo


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