Alisa Wolfe: 2021 candidate for Winfield Elementary District 34 school board
Challenger Alisa Wolfe, one of four candidates running for three, 4-year terms in Winfield Elementary District 34, responds to the Daily Herald candidate questionnaire for the April 6, 2021, local election.
The candidates are: incumbents Lynne Kammes and Norman Bothwell; and challengers Manuel A. Figueroa and Alisa Wolfe. Bothwell did not respond to the questionnaire.
In-person early voting with paper ballots is now available at DuPage County Fairgrounds Building 5, 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton. In-person early voting with touch-screen voting begins March 22 at locations throughout the county. Learn more at www.dupageco.org/earlyvoting/.
For more election coverage, visit dailyherald.com.
Occupation: Strategic group manager at Essendant
Civic involvement: Former Winfield In Action baseball coach
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: I have been a part of the District 34 community for a combined 32 years. I currently have one child attending first grade at Winfield Primary School and a daughter that graduated from Winfield Community School in 2020. Joining the school board is a way to utilize, combine and give back to the community I cherish while directly impacting my children's education in a positive way.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: 10 out of 10. The current school board adjusted quickly to the required changes needed in 2020. They quickly responded by implementing safety precautions that allowed our children to attend in person weeks after the 2020-21 school year began. The current board understands the importance of having children attend in person and have continued to keep that objective at the forefront on their decisions. Additionally, the board provided support for those parents that wished to continue the virtual learning for their children and provided options for the teachers uncomfortable with in-person teaching.
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: I believe my role in confronting the pandemic is that of a working parent of a current student attending District 34. I have a strong pulse on the community and continue to engage with the Winfield taxpayers and other parents of District 34.
I could be a bridge between the board and the community to help explain why decisions are made. Additionally, my career in janitorial sanitation is directly impacted by the pandemic and I participate in national conversations on how other communities are tackling the pandemic and through these conversations I will be able to provide broader insights to our Winfield team and taxpayers.
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 district provided support quickly and as efficiently as possible during the pandemic. On a biweekly, sometimes weekly basis, a District 34 employee would hand deliver the materials that a child would need to for their courses during virtual learning. They did this in a very safe way, wore masks, door drop-offs, and waved from the driveway or street.
Additionally, a weekly email was sent with the inquiry of any COVID-19 related PPE need to help support the community. If a need was communicated a District 34 employee would drop off the requested materials to the family that requested the support. This to me was going above and beyond during a pandemic crisis.
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: From my standpoint a few learnings that I would like to see continued in spring would be the required temperature checks at the door for the children. I believe this is the most effective way to catch any potential virus and protect all children and teachers by minimizing exposure quickly before the school day starts.
Without this first line of defense the risk of a virus spreading is stronger. Another learning from the fall that I would personally like to be carried into the Spring season is the mask wearing for the younger children. Not only has the required masks help minimalize the spread of COVID-19, mask wearing helped minimize the spread of other illnesses common to the winter months.
Lastly, I believe if there was a way to expand the classroom to utilize the outdoors on nice days this would positivity impact children and provide for a more relaxed school environment during these stressful times.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: As for high school sports continuing during this pandemic, it is my recommendation to find a way to proceed in the safest way possible. Research has been well-defined that students participating in high school sports receive higher grades, score higher on tests, miss less days of school with fewer corrective issues than those students who do not participate in recreational programs, specifically, high school athletics.
Unfortunately, the pandemic limited the access to Sports for this age group and others. While completely understanding the need to do so, for safety of all, as a parent of a high school athlete I was saddened to see opportunities limited. Having children return to positive reinforcement activities as quickly and safely as possible should be an initiative especially for this age group.