Cara Steetz: 2021 candidate for Lake Park District 108 school board

  • Cara Steetz

    Cara Steetz

 
Updated 3/17/2021 10:41 AM

Seven candidates are running for four, 4-year terms on the Lake Park High School District 108 board. Anthony Gironda, Christoher Casaccio and Thomas Rofrano did not complete a questionnaire.

Bio

 

Village: Roselle

Age: 50

Occupation: Assistant Director, Northwest Educational Council for Student Success (NECSS)

Civic involvement: Lake Park Athletic Boosters board; Lake Park Choral Parent Association member/president; Lake Park Theatre Booster board/member, 2017-present; Lake Park Parent Grant Advisory Council; Medinah School District 11 District Wide Advisory Committee; St. Walter Catholic Church Catechist and volunteer; Roselle Chamber of Commerce board member

Q&A

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. In June 2019, I was appointed to the Lake Park board of education to fill the vacancy for the remaining two years of a four-year term. The original motivation for seeking the position was to participate in the selection process of our new superintendent. On the forefront of my motivation now is to be a part of the strategic planning process, as we strive to meet the needs of all our community -- students, staff, and taxpayers -- during this pandemic and beyond.

Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?

A. What is it the current board members are being graded on, specifically, with regards to its response to the pandemic? I've always preferred objective grading standards. In the absence of clear criteria, I will base my grading on the feedback received. On our response to the SAFETY of our students and staff, while not contributing to community spread -- I give us an A. On our response to our taxpayers to continue to show FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY -- I give us an A. On our effort to evaluate and learn from our experiences first semester and apply them to second semester to provide a CHOICE for a HYBRID learning opportunity for ALL STUDENTS -- I give us a C.

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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. This is not an "or" rather, an "and" question. My role as a school board member is to serve my community. I do my best to provide leadership, give a voice AND defer to the authorities, both local and state.

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. Lake Park has continued to serve students throughout the pandemic. In response to concerns about the amount of screen time a remote learning model requires and the SEL of our students, the bell schedule was adjusted to reflect screen breaks throughout the day and the opportunity for meaningful supports and engagement was included every day, rather than Wellness Wednesday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Meeting the needs of all students, especially those in special populations, has been difficult. There is always opportunity to do better.

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. We are safely and effectively conducting classes in a hybrid model which allowed families a choice for remote or in-person instruction. The plan was created over time and continues to evolve as we apply process improvement. The responses from our surveys, community feedback opportunities, ongoing meetings with our staff and guidance from local and state authorities all continue to influence the plan.

Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.

A. Sports has largely been governed by the state safety guidance and IHSA. Athletics, activities and academics have all been impacted by the pandemic and all three are important for the development and well-being of our students. After all, they are student athletes, and the student part comes first. The same interest and effort there have been to determine if sports are deemed safe to return, should be placed on getting students back into the buildings for learning, socialization, activities and performances.

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