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Mesa County School District 51 Candidates, District E

The Mesa County School District 51 Board of Education is comprised of five members, each of whom is elected to four-year terms by voters within School District 51's boundaries. The Board members establish philosophy, policy and guidelines to ensure equal educational opportunities for all District 51 students.
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    Amy Davis (N) Family Physician

  • Thomas Keenan (N)

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Biographical Information

New businesses say they do not want to move to Grand Junction because of our below average reading and math scores and the aging conditions of many of our schools. What is your plan to address the quality of education in Mesa County and to provide favorable learning environments for our students?

Given the recent suicides in School District 51 and the known incidents of bullying, including discrimination based on ethnicity, beliefs, and physical differences, what are your plans to change the environment of our schools so all students feel safe, accepted, supported, and valued?

How will you ensure that the individualized needs of all students are addressed in our schools, including students with special learning needs?

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Background My family moved to East Orchard Mesa in 1996 where we have lived for 21 years. My 3 children all attended District 51 schools and graduated from Palisade High School. I have worked for over 20 years in Mesa County as a family physician and also as a teacher of family medicine residents and medical students at St. Mary's Family Medicine Residency. I have training in public health which I have used for community problem solving. I have been a long term public school advocate and spent 15 years volunteering in our schools. I was the 2003 Partners in Education Colorado Outstanding Individual Volunteer and was awarded the 2008-2009 School District 51 outstanding elementary school volunteer award. I have leadership experience as a medical director in the public health service and in leading local health programs. I understand how to balance mission with margin. I am a mother, doctor, educator, and a leader. I want to serve our kids, our families, and our community. I want to step up and do my part as an independent voice on our local school board.
New businesses need our graduates to be responsible, competent employees. Business owners’ children will be educated and prepared for the future by our schools. We need to show that our community has prioritized this and is engaged in the success of our children and schools. Passing the Bond Measure and Mill Levy sends a strong message that we care about the condition and safety of our school buildings. Adding school days back to the student school year shows our investment. We must look at ways to improve student growth. We must prepare them for their chosen vocational career or possible military service. Our future college students need to be prepared for higher education without need for remediation. This requires employing a menu of choices for our students, but also assuring a basic toolkit of education which includes good citizenship. The school district has launched performance based learning this past year. It’s a good start but I want to see if it works.
Students cannot learn if they do not feel safe, accepted, supported, and valued. We must change the school environment so that students feel safe or our educational programs can’t succeed. We face modern challenges; schools must work together with parents and community partners such as mental health services and law enforcement to create safe environments. Many community organizations have stakes in this issue, but the school district needs to be the champion for our students. The students themselves can add insight and ideas. Parents, teachers, the Health Department, law enforcement, the mental health community, and the medical community should join with schools to address problems that threaten the well-being and security of our children. Together, we can try to understand why problems such as suicide are so prevalent. Then let’s work together as students, schools, and as a community to identify critical situations and put the right programs and people in place to help.
One size doesn’t fit all when educating children in our community. Creating individualized paths to success within a set budget is difficult. Our classrooms have more diversity than ever before. We teach children with incredible aptitude aside children with disabilities. We teach children of different cultures, children who come from poverty and from wealth. We must care for students and teachers who are all affected by a range of abilities, backgrounds, advantages and disadvantages. The goal is to maximize the positives of this diversity by being inclusive. But we must address the difficulties and disruptions which can occur. Each situation is unique requiring a unique solution. Successful models for response to these situations do exist, but must be specific to our classrooms, workforce, and community. Our success with these practices relies on the engagement of the parent-student-teacher team who work together. This team must be supported by our board and administration.
I believe the age of a building plays little role in the decision of new businesses. I believe the learning taking place in these buildings are the issue. It is our responsibility as a Board to provide the Principal, Teacher, and Student the technology to "directly challenge" every student everyday. This failure to provide every student an opportunity to understand and master the "challenge" is not acceptable. The focus must to be placed directly on the classroom. We must institute Performance Based Learning for the students understanding and testing that provides the parent and teacher the students' level of knowledge. Teachers must know the student's level of understanding and teach the student to the next level. We must also be able to identify the performance of the classroom teacher for the sake of the student, principal and their performance pay structure. The current standardize testing and application to "buildings" achievements are of little value and test re
As a community member, teacher, and parent I am empathic to these issue. as a teacher with a Masters degree in K-12 Education, I did not receive any formal training in suicide prevention. The medical profession is needed to provide any information as to educational practices that might be fostering the feeling of hopelessness. These issues and have become an inhibitor to the learning experience in the classroom. These are issues that need to be handled by the community, not just the school. There are several agencies available in our community that are professionally trained and staffed to deal with this specific issue, and we should be partnering with them. As a Board Member I ask how might these issues be handled in the workplace?
Through Performance based Learning and the proper environment to learn. A testing procedure that provides the Student, Teacher & Principal more immediate understanding to the learning needed for the student. A community that understands the need change and the resources required to make the change. We don't need agenda's, misrepresentation, or emotional solutions. logo


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