PREA Q & A

Teacher Questions

How will you relate to and communicate with the teaching staff, seek out their perspectives, knowledge and expertise?

This has been something I have recognized consistently. In talking to teachers, and studying the Special Education Departments evolution in particular, we need to improve communication with our educators. I want to compare what the teachers are experiencing against what the administrators are telling us. I am certain hearing from both sides will give us a more complete picture of the state of our departments and schools.

A meet and greet with Board members and teachers by school would be helpful to get a relationship started. Teachers should be comfortable to be upfront with us. This is not a job for people who get offended, it should be for people that want to address valid issues. There are a lot of teachers and a lot of opinions, so I think an anonymous survey should be done to get a pulse on what the teachers think. This can be used to evaluate the administrators, and challenge what they are telling us if it is not consistent with survey results. We should look for consistency between what the teachers are saying versus the administrators. If there are discrepancies, that is an opportunity to lean in, so we can address issues BEFORE they become problems.

How can trust and collaboration be rebuilt between the teaching staff and school board to benefit our students?

In my Pro GOOD teacher post on my website I say that any good relationship is set on transparency and accountability. The expectations need to be clearly set, the teachers need to be given the tools they need, and then we as a board need to hold them accountable. I believe in getting in good people and letting them do a good job. It is not our job as a board to micro manage, but we do need to listen to give teachers what they need within reason, which enables us the opportunity to fairly hold them accountable. If this process is fair and transparent, the trust will come. High performing teachers, who we want to attract and retain, will appreciate this.

Family Questions:

How do the current candidates plan on handling parents/community on social media, misinformed communication, and ultimately making communication better for our district’s community?

One area where we need to improve is on the public comment section of the board meetings. I know it is policy not to address comments in session, and I can understand that, but I feel that it would be great for the board to respond in some way publicly online

We should address the concerns raised and correct anything that was misstated or misunderstood. It is hard enough as a candidate to get my hands around all the issues and even board members need time to be brought up to speed. We cannot allow for misunderstandings to spiral out of control, and cause strain or divisiveness where there should not be any. If the person who gave the comment is not satisfied, there should be an avenue to have a further discussion at next meeting. We need to protect this time and it must be done in the open. We need to also ensure that the people are not pushing agendas but have valid concerns and are being reasonable.

There should be no back and forth between the community and the board on social media. As I have clearly stated on my website, just a few people ruin that process for everyone. We need to increase dialogue, but it must happen in person, with civility and respect and always available for all to see. I want to drive more community meetings where ideas can be shared, and consensus made. My GOP Forum speech goes into this on my website as well. Doing this will allow us to spend our precious time in board meetings more effectively, to present ideas and ask the board to act rather than just to criticize.

Do you have any thoughts/ideas to make permanent solutions/plans to adapt to the obvious growth in our district and the limited space our district currently has?

Crucial here is partnership with city council and get our hands around the housing being built and the strains it is putting on our district. I know some demographic studies have been done recently, but this is not a complete picture and I have more to learn before I can state a definite solution. Ultimately, building new space is not a decision that should be taken lightly. It requires money, time, and energy that is being taken away from education and maintenance of our current assets. It also can quickly become idle space if the projections do not hold true.

There are real issues with space in some of our schools, and I would seek to address them with what makes the most sense for all the people involved. One of the reasons people move to Park Ridge is because of the schools, but if we allow them to become over crowded we will be creating an issue that will hurt our students and our overall community.