Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Previous political experience: No other experience.
Previous community experience:
- Volunteer for Project N.I.C.E.
- Volunteer for Brookfield Beautification Committee including contributing to the establishment of Progress Park
- Active parent volunteer within District 95
Education: Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Type 9 Secondary Education Certificate from Northeastern Illinois University
What should the district do to improve access to technology for students?
The district has made great strides over the past couple of years to bring technology into the classrooms: strengthening the infrastructure to support the demand, having laptops available for use for specific lessons and classroom specific laptops. As a district we will need to make a decision as to what type of instruction we are striving for and determine how technology can augment that curriculum and not let technology drive the curriculum.
I do think that it is important that students are introduced and have access to technology and all that it can afford. However, I am hesitant to fully integrate technology into the curriculum for two reasons. The first being the associated cost and speed at which things become obsolete. Secondly, I am not sure that student led instruction is what is best for the students as a whole.
What are your thoughts on implementing a K through 8 foreign language program in District 95?
The implementation of a foreign language program within the district should be of high importance. The goal of the program should be to produce fluency which has been shown to be realized through daily instruction over the course of several years beginning at an early age.
Studies have shown that foreign language study leads to higher scores on standardized tests, enhanced listening and memory skills as well as greater development of cognitive skills. Of equal importance is the global nature of the work environment and the need for multilingual people in the work force. Finally, it is my belief that the understanding of another language produces a greater understanding of a culture and an openness to engage.
How should District 95 address and fund its ongoing infrastructure needs?
As a district financial decisions should not be made independently of one another but rather a multi-year budgeting plan should be developed. That plan needs to focus on the mission of the district and prioritize the needs to meet the stated goals.
What would you like to see in the next teachers’ contract? What would you change, if anything?
The current contract, effective until August 2014, has been held up as an example for others to follow. As negotiations are a year away and given the fact that the current contract does not have any glaring issues, it is difficult for me to say if there is anything that I would like to see added or revised.
What are your thoughts on District 95 possibly changing its grade-reporting system to one that’s standards-based?
A standards based reporting system should be a welcomed change to the district and lends itself well to the Common Core Standards. I think standards based reporting is more of an individualized assessment of a student’s understanding of the key concepts rather than a generalized letter grade that is more of a relational measurement. Standards based reporting will help all those involved in a child’s education to understand that student’s strengths and weaknesses which in turn will aide in the implementation of differentiated curriculums. As a district we do need to ensure that the measurement of the standards is well defined and inclusive of different learning styles.
What other important issues do you think the next school board will face, and how would you like to see those addressed?
Given the initiatives previously mentioned: infrastructure needs, implementation of standards based reporting, movement to the common core standards and the implementation of a K through 8 foreign language program, the board will need to ensure that the educational standards the board and community expects are not inversely impacted.
Current classroom design does not lend itself well to new instructional methods. Additionally, the number of students continues to grow within the district. These two factors will strain the district’s physical space. Solutioning of this need will be an important line item for the next board to address.
The district will need to be open to and kept abreast of the latest studies regarding instruction in order to ensure that we are exceeding the educational standards that have been set and expected by the community.
Finally, the needs and desires of the district may be challenged by budget constraints. The board will need to take that into account when prioritizing those needs.