Barbara Allen: 2023 candidate for Downers Grove High School District 99 board

  • Barbara Allen

    Barbara Allen

 
Updated 3/22/2023 6:28 PM

Bio

Town: Downers Grove

 

Age on Election Day: 49

Occupation: Mom and administrative assistant

Employer: InciteXP

Previous offices held: None

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?

A: My family and service to our community have been empowering motivators in my decision to pursue a position as a board of education member for District 99.

I firmly believe every school-aged resident in our district is entitled to the best public education. My husband is a graduate of the district and we chose to raise our family in Downers Grove primarily because of the exceptional public schools.

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We have four children and several extended family members who have either attended or will attend District 99. As a long time resident and active member of the community with vested interest through my children and family, I believe I could be a valuable asset in representing the stakeholders of the district ensuring a continuation of a precedence of excellence in District 99.

Q: What is the role of the school board in setting and monitoring curriculum?

A: Adopting and approving curriculum and textbooks is one of the fundamental roles of school boards. School boards are also tasked with the responsibilities of adopting policies, goals, and a budget as well as approving purchases, contracts, personnel appointment, and selecting and evaluating the superintendent who manages the district.

Q: Are there curriculum issues within the district that you feel need particular attention from the board?

A: District 99 has a broad and well cultivated list of course offerings giving our students many opportunities to thrive in their high school years and beyond. It is imperative the district continues to focus on the core subjects of English language arts, math and science to provide our students with a solid foundation so they have the ability to be successful in their futures.

It is also important the district continues to seek curriculum that will challenge and support all students throughout the district. In speaking with students, staff and families throughout the district, particular attention is needed in three areas. The hybrid block schedule, implementing policies that will empowering teachers to teach professionally, and declining test scores.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Q: How do you view your role in confronting policy or curriculum controversies: provide leadership even if unpopular, give a voice to constituents -- even ones with whom you disagree, or defer to state authorities?

A: I believe in bringing people together and hearing all perspectives while keeping students at the center of decisions. My dedication to keeping these principles at the forefront of discussions will ensure all voices are heard and transparently represented in the district.

Q: Concerns are growing regarding a new resurgence of the pandemic. If another massive outbreak of infectious disease occurs, what have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic that will guide your decision making?

A: My decisions will always put the concerns of our students, staff and families of the District 99 community first. As a locally elected nonpartisan position, school board members first and foremost have a responsibility to the stakeholders in the local community they serve.

Q: Describe your experience working in a group setting to determine policy. What is your style in such a setting to reach agreement and manage school district policy? Explain how you think that will be effective in producing effective actions and decisions of your school board.

A: My personal and professional experiences as well as my ability to work collaboratively with others to achieve a common goal will be integral in determining policy for the district.

As a vested parent for almost 20 years combined in District 99 and feeder District 58, my decisions will draw on my extensive perspective when considering how students, staff and families are impacted in our community.

Considering all parameters in a balanced practical way as well as my passion and empathy for children will be paramount in producing effective actions and decisions necessary for positive outcomes.

You

Q: What makes you the best candidate for the job?

A: I am passionate about the lives of children and how I can personally be an example of love, honesty and strength for our future generations. As a parent and actively vested member of the community I have extensive knowledge and perspective involving the achievements and challenges in District 99.

I am collaborative, transparent, pragmatic and dedicated. I will utilize by substantial experience as a current and future parent in the community to ensure all students in the district are provided opportunities for an excellent academic foundation and positive high school experience that will serve them in their formative years at District 99 and well into their futures.

Q: What's one good idea you have to better your district that no one is talking about yet?

A: While I have many ideas I'd like to explore to support the learning and teaching environment at District 99, a cellphone policy stands out as a much needed modification to the school day.

Implementing a cellphone policy during class time would be beneficial in enabling teachers to operate their classrooms more efficiently and effectively with less disruption. Many other schools and districts have implemented cellphone policies with success and I am confident District 99 could do the same.

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