Natalia Alvarez Martinez: 2021 candidate for Warren Township High School District 121 board
Five candidates running for four, 4-year terms.
Age: No response provided
Occupation: School Business, Lake Forest High School District 115
Civic involvement: Active participant in fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and volunteering and working with various childhood cancer organizations
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 am committed to represent and advocate for the underrepresented communities here at WTHS. Meaning whether situations are of, single-parent families, differing socioeconomic statuses, varied family dynamics, etc. In order to create a more diverse and inclusive environment for all students and faculty. I pledge to get the students back to school in the fall of FY 2021-22. I myself have a daughter in high school who has struggled with the social and emotional consequences of this pandemic. The negative impacts of e-learning ranges from academic stress, social-economic status, family dynamics, and damaging psychological issues, including increased anxieties, due to current pandemic issues. It is imperative to get back to school, safely and effectively. In addition, I would like to create a better balance for what's best across our students, community, faculty, support staff, and administrators. Everyone's voice must be heard equally.
Q. How would you grade the current school board on its response to the pandemic? Why?
A. I support the current board. They have done a fine job to protect the faculty and the student body. D121 already had a remote learning plan for snow/winter days, therefore they modified that plan to accommodate the best they could to COVID. Every single person at D121 has worked hard to keep things running as smoothly as they can, and I am proud of everyone's hard work.
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. Providing leadership while listening closely to all opinions and suggestions from the community, students, and staff. Of course, using IDPH and CDC guidelines in all decisions.
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 wasn't on the board during this time, but overall the district already had a good remote learning model that was adjusted to accommodate the spring/fall months.
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. I support the hybrid model following all CDC and IDPH guidelines, but it is our responsibility as a community to make sure that we are taking the necessary precautions in our homes so that our children are not potentially exposing their peers or school staff. If vaccination rates continue to progress, I am confident that our schools can safely resume with full in-person learning.
Q. What is your position on allowing high school sports to continue during the pandemic? Be specific.
A. I fully support students returning to athletics in a safe manner while we follow IHSA guidelines. It is important we encourage athletes to follow protocols. If they have symptoms, to be honest about it, don't try to hide it in order to practice or play. Outside of practice, don't gather with a bunch of teammates and friends, that's how many of the quarantines I'm aware of, have been triggered. Not taking unnecessary risks. Practicing social distancing and good hygiene.