Roxanne Wittkamp: 2021 candidate for District 211 School Board
Nine candidates for three 4-year terms
Occupation: National faculty, Assistant Professor in Business and Management
Employer: DeVry University
Civic involvement: Bridge Youth and Family Services board; Abraham Lincoln University advisory and curriculum committee
Q. Why are you running for this office? Is there a particular issue that motivates you, and if so, what is it?
A. I have served and advocated for our community's educational needs as a District 211 teacher and as a college professor. I am running for a seat because I want to see D211 continue to be a stand-Ard of excellence in education. I want to see students continue to grow into contributing members of society, and I want to ensure that students are treated equally, fairly and their educational needs met. My primary concern is the current board's ability to work as a team after attending several school board meetings. I could see and feel the animosity between some of the members and with Dr. Small. The pandemic has put board members and Dr. Small in a position they haven't experienced before, so now more than ever, the board members must work as a team and address the community with unity. Another concern is ensuring all student's educational needs are being met. Curriculum updates and new materials along with updated technology are needed to help D211 students succeed. I advocate for learning technology and professional development for teachers to learn the latest technology to be used in the classroom.
Lastly, the school district's biggest challenge in the next year or two could be the possible gap in learning from the pandemic. Depending on the subject, students will need more help and support through tutors and small group learning.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. I believe the district has the responsibility to keep students and staff safe, so moving to remote learning wasn't a choice. It needed to happen. Like all other school districts and colleges, teachers and professors needed to be trained on remote learning technology and strategies to keep students engaged when learning remotely. Dr. Small had to make hard decisions on the pause back in December of 2020 and starting back to remote learning in January. I believe these were the right decisions. As the number of infections has decreased, the district is back to face to face learning for students.
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. The school board has the responsibility to keep students, staff, and administration safe. I would support Dr. Small implementation plan which included the pause and remote learning.
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. I believe D211 served students during the disruption caused by the pandemic through continuing to supply lunches at no additional costs, school-issued iPads to access the LMS (Schoology), teachers are available before and after school to support students, technical support was offered from each school, and the district's social workers, psychologist, and guidance counselors were available to talk to any student.
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. (Did not respond.)
Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. I support high school sports to continue during the pandemic as long as students socially distance and where masks where ever possible.
Q. What other issues need to be addressed?
A. (Did not respond.)