Dean Klapatch: 2021 candidate for West Chicago High School District 94 School Board
Six candidates are running for four seats on the West Chicago High School District 94 School Board in the April 6, 2021, election.
City: West Chicago
Occupation: Pastor and professional drone pilot
Civic Involvement: Teaching in church, coordinate leadership conferences, technical drone classes to teach students about science
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A: One of the reasons I wanted to be on the school board is the experiences our children had with the coaches and the teams at the high school were rich a great blend of personal attention with structured activities, practices and meets that helped them ability and confidence. I did want to support and see if we could create more opportunities that were similar for more students, the response to the pandemic has delayed those plans, but I would like to return to those initiatives as we begin planning what the return to in-person learning will look like.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: We have had a balanced approach, but we are starting to see the effect of the longer periods of isolation.
Q: How do you view your role in confronting the pandemic: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?
A: Some of the restrictions from the state of Illinois have made it difficult to have the students in school full time, we would ask that the state review these rules in light of the current data and focus these efforts on ages and groups of people who are most vulnerable to the virus.
As one of the smaller school districts in the state, we are hoping that the school districts can appeal to the state to change the rules that have made in-person learning hard to administrate under the current guidance.
Q: Did your district continue to adequately serve students during the disruptions caused by the pandemic? If so, please cite an example of how it successfully adjusted to continue providing services. If not, please cite a specific example of what could have been done better.
A: Our teachers have made great innovative efforts to build connections around the current structure and restrictions that exist.
Q: Do you have a plan on how to safely and effectively conduct classes in the spring? What have you learned from the fall semester that you would change in the spring?
A: The administrative staff and school board are collaborating on what can be done at this point to move toward more in-person learning, this has been a slower process than we originally hoped as the extent and measures taken to help control the virus.
It does seem that the approach to controlling the virus is ready to start a more targeted approach where each group and organization can take measures that are appropriate to the risk associated for the age groups and activities involved. In many ways the state of Illinois has had a blanket approach to these areas, and it seems we are ready to a more targeted approach as we find ways to reopen schools and other organizations
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: I think that being part of a coached sport and on a team that practices routinely and strives to improve every week and do their best is a great area for personal growth for high school students and would like to see more sports opened up for more opportunity as soon as possible.
Not only sports, but other clubs that provide opportunities and challenges that add to the academic experience but often can provide life lessons that cannot be taught through classes. Special projects, working together on larger coordinated efforts and unique experiences that can help youth learn a health balance of effort, knowledge, teamwork, and achievement that can benefit them for years to come.