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Note: Answers provided have not been edited for grammar, misspellings or typos. In some instances, candidate claims that could not be immediately verified have been omitted.
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Office sought: Elgin-Area Unit 46 School Board (4-year Terms)
Family: Married,eight years with 2 dogs.
Occupation: Elgin Community College Admissions Coordinator
Education: Associates in Arts, ECC, 2002 Bachelors in Applied Psychology, University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), 2004 Masters in Social Work, Jane Addams College of Social Work (UIC), 2008 Masters in Education, College of Education (UIC), 2013
Civic involvement: One Voice, Carpentersville Speak Out Against Prejudice (SOAP), Elgin Metropolitan Family Services, Chicago Elgin Dreamers United, Elgin ECC Voluntary Involvements: Alliance for College Readiness Black History Month Committee Latino Heritage Month Committee
Elected offices held: None yet.
Have you ever been arrested for or convicted of a crime? If yes, please explain: I have never been arrested or convicted for a crime.
Key Issue 1
I want to make sure U-46 prepares all students for college, the workforce, and for making sound decisions in their every-day lives. Improving our students? college readiness levels means they spend less time and money paying tuition for developmental courses, which do not count as college credit, when they first enroll into college. Also, it is equally important to support instruction that leads to high-skill, high-wage work and I will continue to support career and technical education.
Key Issue 2
I want to increase student and community engagement in carrying out the districts goal of providing a safe and supportive environment for learning. I would support increasing opportunities for extracurricular activities and opportunities to measure the school climate from the students' perspective. Really, it only makes sense that we continuously strive to develop and maintain positive learning environments that lead to positive academic outcomes and general well-being for all of our students.
Key Issue 3
I will keep a firm eye on the budget so as to continue the district's progress in maintaining a balanced budget and whenever possible a surplus. I would like to strengthen efforts to obtain outside support from community partners.
With the racial discrimination lawsuit set to wrap up as early as February, do you think the district needs to do anything differently when it comes to addressing diversity in and among the schools?
The school district has already made some progress when it comes to addressing diversity. The district's Dual Language Program and diverse staffing at the cabinet level are examples of the progress the district has made towards addressing diversity. I would continue to encourage our various advisories and councils to come forward with issues and concerns to help guide the district. I would like to increase student input to learn how the district might continue to improve their learning environment. Also, I would encourage more multicultural competency trainings for our administrators, educators, social workers, counselors, and our students. Sometimes, we don't know what we don't know and multicultural trainings might bring to light something of value or innovative to help increase student engagement as well as college and workforce readiness levels.
What do you think about the district's response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School? How is the district on safety, more generally?
U-46 was able to implement their safety plan effectively and efficiently such as making sure schools were locked down, making sure there was no roaming in the hallways during in-class instruction, making sure parents were notified that safety procedures were being implemented via the rapid notify system, and making sure local responders were present or in-touch with all of the schools. More generally, since 2006, the district has been part of a School Safety Advisory Task Force in which all of the schools collaborate with local law enforcement officials and first responders to develop, implement, and update safety procedures on an ongoing basis. Additionally, the district has been increasingly training employees on Crisis Prevention Intervention strategies which teach staff how to identify and deescalate hostile situations. As a result, the district has been doing a good job providing a safe and nurturing environment. However, I would like to support having more social workers or mental health professionals in our schools.
What do you think about the district's progress in getting more students to take AP classes and succeed on AP exams? Do you think it's a good strategy to urge more students into those types of classes?
The district has made progress in getting more students to take AP classes and succeed on AP exams. I would continue to urge more students to take AP classes so that more students are challenged. Plus, students might be able to save time and money once they reach college either through their AP exam results or because they have a strong foundation to build upon in college. Additionally, I would like to increase awareness about the benefits and kind of instruction AP classes offer and make sure the district provides additional support. I want all students to be challenged and the more students have access to rigorous material the better off they are.
What do you think about the shift to the common core standards? How big a role do you think the board of education should play in setting the curriculum for students and what ideas do you have for changes to the current curriculum?
Let me start off by saying the Board does not set the curriculum for students, rather the board helps set the vision for the district and holds the superintendent accountable for reaching its goals. Any ideas I have related to curriculum development are related to making sure the board collaborates with curriculum and education experts and making sure there are funds in the budget to realistically support the district's goals in order to meet the new national standards. My personal impression of the common core standards are that they are another attempt to set national standards in our schools, but that this time they have the potential to increase our students? academic engagement. Just this past year, I completed my studies in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment in education and from this perspective I can say I appreciate a curriculum that emphasizes student's ability to organize, synthesize, and critically analyze material more so than simply teaching to the test. However, the board of education only sets the vision and direction for the district and the curriculum and instruction ideas are left to the curriculum experts.
How satisfied are you that your district is preparing students for the next stage in their lives, whether it be from elementary into high school or high school into college or full-time employment? What changes, if any, do you think need to be made?
There is always room for improvement when it comes to preparing students for the next stage in their lives. That being said, the district has been real purposeful in helping students transition from elementary school to middle school up to high school. Educators from various levels come together to discuss their student's level of progress in relation to their next transition and as necessary revise their curriculum and instruction. Also, the district has increased community awareness about the importance of early childhood education and several high school faculty and staff are part of the Alliance for College Readiness at Elgin Community College which helps educators prepare students for college and career readiness. Still, parents and students need to be made more aware of their high schools? opportunities to earn college credit by completing high school courses in various areas ranging from Accounting to Automotive to Nursing Assistant.