Jin Lee: 2021 candidate for Maine Township High School District 207 school board
Five candidates for four open seats
City: Des Plaines
Occupation: Business Consulting at JLEE & ASSOCIATES, LLC
Civic involvement: Northeastern Illinois University board of trustees for the past 11 years; served as commissioner at Economic Development Commission at city of Des Plaines; received President's Lifetime Call to Service Award (4,000 hours or more of volunteer service recognized) from the president of the United States
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: Maine Township played a vital role in the educational and social development of my children and therefore, I want to give back to the community by serving on the school board. As a current school board member and a third term candidate, I would like to focus on four things that are important to me: 1. Student First: Decisions made are for the students. 2. Character Development: Developing good morals and values to play a positive role in society. 3. Global Education: Provide opportunities for students to engage in education around the world. 4. Referendum Follow up: Ensure proper referendum budget allocation.
Q: How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A: I wanted to say that overall, we have done a good job. Our high schools have been open more than any other high schools in the North Cook region for in person learning, even though the majority of our students have chosen at home learning. As a board we have met our needs of our students and staff. We work closely with our leadership team to serve our 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: We have listened to the science, which has evolved as you'd expect. We respectfully listen to everyone, but, this is a situation in which there is never a single answer, so we have provide both in person and virtual learning opportunities to meet the needs of individual families, and we have done so safely by following the appropriate protocols in our schools which has allowed us to not have infections caused in our school buildings in District 207.
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: Yes, our District 207 continued to adequately serve students during the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 and have been following CDC guidelines to ensure health and safety of teachers and students. I'm pleased to see that our teachers and schools have done a great job meeting the needs of our students, and we will continue to help create learning opportunities to enrich student learning experiences despite by the pandemic. Our District 207 raised over $100,000 to support families in need through the pandemic, but our district has attended to the needs of all families equitable for a long time. Our students have had devices and been connected in their homes through intentional efforts, so even though our students come from different backgrounds, our schools have made sure that learning resources were on an equal par.
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 have significantly increased the amount of in-person time for our students, and we have reduced social distancing and added lunches which allow students to attend all day classes. We also been provide with safety and sanitation protocols set for cleaner air filter, hand sanitizer stations, frequent cleaning in high traffic areas, etc. What we have learned is that the protocols work.
Q: What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A: District 207 has followed the IHSA guidelines, but certainly understand the role of sports, and we hope that they are back soon with increased spectators.