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USD 437 Auburn Washburn District A Pos 4 BOE

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    Jacqueline Whitney Lightcap

  • Shanna Simpson

Biographical Information

What is your experience with the school district? Parent? Patron? Alumni? Why do you want to serve this district at this time?

The incidence of youth suicide in Shawnee County has been very high for two decades and is climbing. How do you propose to help the public schools in your district play a role in reversing this trend?

What can your school district do to increase civic involvement of students? Where is civic involvement in your priority list for school activities?

What policies will you support to ensure that all students have access to tools and infrastructure necessary to benefit from distance learning opportunities?

If your personal beliefs are different than those of the district you are elected to represent, what values will you apply when deciding how to vote on issues before the Board?

Personal Biography I was born and raised in Kansas and am proud of the strong education I received. My parents, grandmother, and great grandmother were teachers so education has always been a top priority for my family. My professional background is in communications and media, with a degree in public relations. I worked in newspaper advertising and marketing for several years before we started a family. I currently serve as the co-president for the League of Women Voters of Kansas, which is a volunteer position.
Campaign Phone (785) 338-1324
Education High School: Topeka West High School, class of 1990, diploma (graduated 2nd in class) College: Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma. Graduated magna cum laude in 1994, BA in public relations, minor in French
Community/Public Service Auburn-Washburn USD 437 School Board, 2018-present; League of Women Voters of Kansas, Co-President, 2021-2023; Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board Member, 2020-2024; PTO Executive Board Member-at-Large, Farley Elementary, 2016-2019; League of Women Voters of Kansas, Public Relations Chair, 2017-2018; Baby Friendly Committee, St. Francis Medical Center, 2015-2018; Outreach Committee member, Grace Cathedral, 2017-present; League of Women Voters of Sioux City, Iowa, Secretary and Co-President, 2013-15; Library Trustee, Sioux City, Iowa, 2012-15; Co-Founder, Birth Network National Sioux City Chapter, 2011-15; La Leche League Leader, 2010-17
I am a parent to two students at Washburn Rural High School (9th and 12th grades). I have been involved in our children's schools since our oldest started kindergarten and I joined the PTO. That was a great way to learn more about the schools, teachers and district. Eventually, I began to observe school board meetings to learn more about the district as a whole and when I learned of an opening on the USD 437 Board, I decided to run for the position and was elected in 2017. As a product of Kansas public K-12 schools, I feel it is my duty to give back to the community that contributed to who I am today. I believe that all children deserve the best schools, teachers and opportunities to help them excel as they grow and it's my job to ensure schools have the resources needed to help our students develop a love of learning that lasts a lifetime.
Addressing the complex issue of mental health among our student population is a priority in our district. We want every one of our students, in every grade level, to feel they matter and can make a positive impact in the world. That is why we have set up a multi-tiered program of support to meet these social emotional needs, from our preschoolers and elementary-aged students up to secondary level. In addition to caring classroom teachers and staff, we have school-based mental health teams in every school, consisting of a counselor, social worker, nurse and psychologist. We also partner with Family Service and Guidance Center in offering community-based mental health services, if needed, for any of our students. Students also have a wide variety of opportunities to participate in special interest clubs and leadership groups where they can both make a difference and experience a sense of belonging.
Every student in our district completes a U.S. Government class as part of the required curriculum. This is in addition to the required U.S. History, World History, and an additional social studies elective needed to graduate. Middle school students take a Kansas History class, too. I highly recommend reading the Kansas History, Government, and Social Studies standards. The mission statement says, “The Kansas Standards for History, Government, and Social Studies prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, engaged citizens as they enrich their communities, state, nation, world, and themselves.” They then detail what kinds of citizens Kansas students aspire to be: informed, thoughtful, and engaged. In addition to the standards, our government classes also encourage the importance of voting and being involved participants in the elections process as part of a civic duty. Whether that be through a class lecture or a guest speaker, our students get a glimpse of their role in the world.
Due to the necessity of off-site learning last year, we became much more aware of the role technology plays in meeting the needs of our remote learners. We asked district families what kind of equipment they needed at home to ensure learning could happen there when required. We learned about holes in our own computer equipment supply as well as forces we had no control over, like high speed Internet accessibility. Through that inventory process, and thanks to some COVID-related and other grant funding, we were able to purchase more laptops and provide some WiFi hotspots to areas as needed. This helped us bridge many of the gaps and allowed us to re-tool our one-to-one laptop policy for future years. While technology needs will only increase, we are committed to making sure our students have the tools required to succeed.
Our Board is guided by our mission statement: Inspiring, Challenging, and Preparing Every Child, Every Day. This statement directly guides our five-year strategic plan, which is a result of feedback we receive from parents, community members, staff, and other stakeholders every five years. (We are just starting our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan after completing the 2016-2021 plan.) These plans are living, breathing documents that we consult on a regular basis, using them as a guideline for every decision we make. Once we are all committed to the same priorities, as outlined by our mission statement, decision making becomes an exercise in “keeping the main thing the main thing.” In other words, our mission guides all the work that we do and keeps our focus clear. This is how our School Board can consist of seven unique individuals with varying personal values that still work together toward one common goal. With our mission statement as our guide, we move forward together.
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