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Pasco School District Director, At Large, Position 3

4-year termNo 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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    Steve Christensen (NP) Engineer

  • Brian V. Griffith (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 (509) 366-5404
Town where you live Pasco
Experience (300 characters max) 4 years Pasco school board
Our district is in need of more school buildings. One of our high schools has the highest enrollment in the state and the other is not far behind it. All of our elementary schools are well over their design capacity and some are nearly double their original design capacity. We have portables at nearly every school building in the district. We are lacking a comprehensive long range facilities plan. Our district is in the process of developing this plan, which will guide us in running bonds and building buildings to serve our students.
I am in favor of charter schools. Charter schools serve several purposes. One, they give students options. Not all students do well in the typical public school for a variety of reasons. Charter schools give these students an alternative. Two, they provide opportunities for innovation in education. Charter schools typically do not have all the regulatory and reporting burden that typical public schools have. Some see this as an unfair advantage. The goal should not be to burden charter schools but to relieve the burden on public schools. Lessons learned in charter schools should then be brought into public schools. And three, competition is a good thing. I don't believe the goal of charter schools should be to compete with public schools, but the sense of competition is healthy for public schools. It motivates them to improve.
I believe we have to trust our teachers to teach the students the material and then to make an assessment of how well they have learned the material. Assessments can be developed by the teachers and used across all classrooms at the respective grade levels. This will give us an idea how students are doing with respect to their peers within the district. I am also in favor of some kind of state-wide or even national assessment so we can determine how our students are learning compared to other districts, but these assessments should be limited and carefully selected.
I am a firm believer in the adage, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." Unfortunately, many in our society, including children, are simply staying up later. Consequently, everyone, including children, are not as engaged in the morning hours. I believe there have been studies done to show that later start times actually improve student learning. However, I don't believe it has anything to do with their natural schedule. It is a result of staying up too late. My concern with moving the start time later is it would only encourage kids to stay up even later.
I believe one of the biggest things we have to do is make sure students are learning the material when they are supposed to learn it. If students have not learned the material, they should not advance to the next level. This just sets them up for failure. Once we have students performing at the level they should be in earlier grades, we will see graduation rates improve.
Bullying is a tricky subject. On the one hand there are some true bullies and they need to be stopped. Students need to know bullying will not be tolerated and there needs to be real consequences for bullying. On the other hand, there are some who would apply the bullying label to anything offensive. We have to have staff that can discern between the two and administer the proper discipline, whether that be to the bully or to the student who needs to learn the difference between bullying and someone being rude.
Civics is vital to our survival as a nation. While I am not familiar with the details of the state civics requirements, I am confident they do not meet the level that I would expect of our students. I believe we need to be learning about the founding of this great nation in every grade level. In fact, it is the most important subject we could teach our children.
I believe there needs to be real consequences for disruption in the classroom. If there are no consequences, or minimal consequences, for disrupting the class, what incentive if there for students to behave? The teacher needs to establish a healthy classroom learning environment, but part of this comes with strict rules and consequences for disrupting that environment. I'm not sure that suspension is necessarily the answer, but detention or in-school suspension might be more effective. A disruptive student makes it difficult for all to learn and should not be tolerated.
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