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: District 96 Board of Education Member – October 2011-present
Previous community involvement:
Member of Blythe Park PTA Board-5 years (2007-2012); held office of President (3 years), 2nd Vice President (2 years) Active participant in five D96 Study Groups-Enrollment Solutions, Communications, Satellite Kindergarten, Global Connections and World Language Member of Riverside Jr. Woman’s Charity-13 years (2000-present) Coached Riverside Recreation Soccer Girl Scout Leader – 8 years (2005-present)
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Advertising from Michigan State University Master of Science in Advertising from Northwestern University
What do you think of the district’s 1-to-1 laptop initiative? Should it be changed? If so, how?
Today’s generation of children are digital natives. The way they learn is much different than the digital immigrant generations prior to them. So, I believe the 1-to-1 laptop initiative is a good forward thinking initiative by the district. I believe the program needs to continue to be evaluated to ensure that the lap tops are not just “devices” but are used for learning in a way that is rigorous and relevant.
D96 has amassed a large budget surplus since its successful referendum in 2004. Do you think the district should continue to ask for the maximum annual levy it is allowed? Why or why not?
I believe that each year we need to access the district’s financial position both in the short term and the long term. We need to strive continue to keep the district in a good financial position without a referendum. Due to the fact that District 96 resides in a “tax cap” county, this district should continue to ask for the maximum annual levy.
How quickly, if at all, do you think the D96 administrative offices should be moved back into the district? Why?
I believe the District 96 administrative offices should be relocated back to Riverside as soon as space is available. By returning the offices to Riverside, it will be a savings to the district that can be redirected toward programs that directly impact students. I also believe having the administrative team located at one of the Riverside campuses allows for easy accessibility to community, student and staff which is important in building a good working school community.
How could the district’s gifted and special education programs be improved or changes, or are changes even necessary?
Currently, both the gifted and special education programs are under curriculum review. I have limited knowledge of the special education program and will look to the group’s recommendations to help formulate my thoughts on changes/improvements. I believe our gifted math program could improve in the area of rigor.
What are your thoughts on implementing a world language program at D96 elementary schools?
I believe the world the current D96 students will be working within will be a much smaller world than past generations. Being able have the ability to communicate globally will be instrumental for their success. Implementation of a World Language program will empower D96 students with the ability to feel comfortable learning another language and using it to communicate. The program must be implement in a fiscally responsible way to ensure that once introduced it will become part of the D96 curriculum into the foreseeable future.
Do you think the district needs to hire additional administrative staff, such as a business manager? If so, where? If not, why not?
With our new superintendent hired, the administrative staff transition is under way. I believe it is the new superintendent’s job to develop an administrative team recommendation for presentation to the board. There might be a need to add to the current administrative team due to the school district significant enrollment growth. I believe we need to keep the administrative cost in check at current levels.
Do you favor a centralized kindergarten location? Why or why not?
I like the idea of satellite kindergarten. From an academic perspective, there are some tremendous educational gains for students (collaborative teaching opportunities, grouping students by academic need) but the execution logistics are somewhat inequitable across the schools. This summer’s capital improvement project will afford Blythe Park School the flexibility of being a two-section school or a kindergarten satellite location. These improvements will give the district the flexibility needed to adapt if enrollment continues to grow.
What other issue do you believe will be important for the next school board to address?
Two other issues that I believe are important for the next school board to address are the implementation of the common core standards into the D96 curriculum and the implementation teacher evaluations.