Friday, October 16, 2009

West Side Leader Postion Paper

What are the two most important issues facing the district and how would you address them?

I believe that the most important issues facing the Akron Public Schools are adjusting the budget and school buildings to reflect enrollment and reaching achievement levels that prepare students for the global job market.

The state needs to address the school funding formula. Most of the headway that the Governor called for this year was eventually eaten away by state legislators. Meanwhile, urban districts like Akron need to be fiscally responsible by adjusting our schools to match changing enrollment and making cuts when necessary. These cuts need to be kept as far away from the classroom as possible with a minimal affect on achievement.

Akron continues to match or surpass Ohio’s eight urban districts in the state report card. There were many reasons to celebrate this year with several Akron schools making strides. Much work remains if we hope to reach an Effective rating. Many of the programs instituted this year to help our district’s most at-risk students will hopefully continue to improve these scores. Meanwhile, the addition of the STEM school and the continuation of academic success at Miller South show the district isn’t just treading water but is striving for Excellence.
Achievement cannot take place unless our students and parents are confident about school safety. The district’s zero tolerance policy needs to continue with more than just a shuffling of students between school buildings. Intervention opportunities, such as the latest suspension program recently implemented in the former Erie Island School, will address some of the underlying reasons that children misbehave and will prepare them to be successful when they return to the classroom environment. Parental involvement and participation is key to achievement. Success is often within reach when parents partner with teachers in a student’s education.

What makes you the best candidate for this position?
I am a third-generation graduate of the Akron Public Schools and the mother to three sons currently enrolled in the district. I have one each in high school, middle school and elementary. With this legacy comes an historical perspective on where the district has been, a vested interest in where we are now and a vision of where we need to go. I have spent time connecting with parents from many Akron schools to learn their concerns, and I’m confident that our parents passionately want their children to succeed.
Education has always been a focus in my life. I earned a B.A. in Secondary Education from The University of Akron in 1990 with a concentration in English and History. I student-taught at Garfield High School and served as a substitute throughout the district. I was blessed to be able to stay home when my children were first born before returning to the workforce as they entered school. Still, while I was not in a traditional classroom, education dominated my volunteer time. I led La Leche League meetings to help mothers with breastfeeding and toddler issues, worked with teen moms through the Children Services’ program “Mentoring Mothers” and taught expectant mothers at Pregnancy Care on North Hill.
As Patron Services Manager at Weathervane Playhouse, I often interact with Akron Public Schools students both in and out of the classroom. I helped write curriculum, introduced Kindergarten students to theater concepts through “Akron After School” and served as director of “Neighborhood Playhouse,” a free, two-week summer camp in 2007 and 2008.
My experience, commitment and passion make me the best candidate for Akron School Board.

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