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OUR OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

How do you recommend we renew our schools after this year?

How do we go back to school –  back to normal –  back to the energetic, joyful school buildings with laughter and interactions and students meeting and greeting each other?  How do we do that with sensitivity and empathy because not all children and faculty will be comfortable coming into the buildings with all the people and all the interactions?  We need to plan now for how we can successfully bring everyone back; we will need input and ideas from students, faculty, parents and experts in the field.

 

What do you recommend the district do to close identified achievement gaps?

We are facing schooling loss due to the pandemic that could exacerbate achievement gaps by race/ethnicity and income in the short and long term. I am particularly interested in looking more closely at what economists and educational researchers are calling a “Tutoring Marshall Plan to Heal our Students”. The suggestion is to train tutors to work with students in reading and math, either one to one or one to small group. The tutors could be college and high school students, and community members.  Addressing achievement gaps by working with individual or small groups of students is worth considering.  We also need to look at expanding opportunities by analyzing our curriculum and our extracurricular activities.

 

What ideas do you have for helping the district achieve goals relating to equity and inclusion?

The Shorewood School District calls for “Equity, Growth and Excellence for All.”  The School Board has committed significant resources to achieving this goal, including hiring personnel, facilitating school and community-wide equity training, and developing anti-racist pedagogy. I fully support the equity work of the School District and the outreach efforts to the community. I will work to strengthen these endeavors.

 

How do you recommend we maintain and increase our enrollment?

Here are a few proposals:  Send mailers to every resident with school-age children telling them we will be back in our buildings full time next  fall. Have families visit our schools. Send welcome letters/books  to homes when a new child is born. Reach out to families who left our schools to attend private schools and meet with them to welcome them back and explain our plans.

 

What are the challenges for retaining and recruiting teachers and administrators?

There is increasing pressure on the teaching and administration fields as

fewer students are entering teacher education programs and principal and superintendent licensure programs.  We need professional development programs that help us retain teachers and administrators so they will not be recruited away to other school districts.  We must consider diversity and representation when we recruit teachers and staff.

How do we strengthen and re-energize a partnership with the Village Board and the Community at large?

As a Village Board member for 12 years, I know the importance of the Village Board and the School District collaborating for the well-being of our community.

 

Our schools are central to the health, vibrancy and success of our village. And our community residents are vital to our schools, especially when residential data ( 2020) indicates that  47%  of our residents do not have school age children. We know that community members stepped up to serve on the Medical Advisory Task Force during this Covid – 19 crisis. I suspect many other community members have expertise they can provide the schools – tutoring, substitute teaching, classroom helpers, coaching assistants, and others.

 

We can also include the community in our schools by direct communication to residents without school age children to let them know what we are doing in our schools and possibly offer courses or workshops for community members that will invite the community to their schools.

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