Below are candidate-submitted answers to a survey Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.
Office sought: District 95 School Board Seat
Previous political experience:
- Various positions in my local union
Previous community experience: none
- Nazareth Academy ’91 (HS)
- Elmhurst College ’96 (BA)
- Governor’s State University ’06 (MA)
Occupation: English teacher at Thornton Township High School
The school district is experiencing overcrowding, particularly at Brook Park School and the board has taken steps to temporarily relieve that strain. How must the board approach this issue in the future?
The mobile classrooms at Brook Park must be temporary. The district has done a great job tackling the overcrowding quickly and efficiently by using this intermediate solution. The board must approach this issue for the future by finding a permanent solution to ease the population explosion in our community. It is inevitable that a tax referendum will need to take place to find funding to build a new school. This is the most logical approach. Since the district owns 50% of the land at Madlin Park, this would make the most sense.
Should foreign language be expanded in District 95?
Of course foreign language should be expanded in District 95. The offering of a foreign language program will help students compete in a global society. As a high school teacher, most colleges require at least two years of a language for admission. Getting a head start in elementary/middle school will only help students continue with successful immersion in a foreign language.
How well has District 95 integrated technology into its curriculum?
District 95 is keeping up with technology. The use of Ipads in classrooms, upgrading computers, and using online programs for teachers and parents are all valuable uses of technology. Utilizing the technology director is essential to continue upgrading all available uses of technology.
What are your thoughts on the standards based grading system?
Standards based grading is an educational trend that has become a reality. I have been teaching eighteen years and this has been talked about for quite some time. The intention is to align grading practices to the new common core standards, benchmarks, and/or learning targets. I am not opposed to this type of grading since it gives parents and students a more accurate view of which skills have been mastered. It is a much more comprehensive reporting of progress and encourages self-reflection in order to create more independence and accountability on the student’s part. Teachers are asked to teach and assess completely different than in the past. The district should be consistent between the two schools with the type of grade reporting.
How should District 95 address and fund its ongoing infrastructure needs?
District 95 will continually need to address the ongoing infrastructure needs by utilizing all collaborative efforts involving district personnel. The district is very fiscally responsible and will need to continue to make careful decisions in the best interest of the children, parents, and taxpayers.
What other important issues do you think the next school board will face?
Important issues the next school board will face are ongoing growth and funding issues. The district continues to have strong classroom instruction and that is to be commended. With the possible expansion of Brook Park, I’d like to bring a full day kindergarten program to our community.
I have a vested interest in education as an educator and as a new parent. As a veteran teacher with eighteen years of experience, I have extensive knowledge of curriculum development at the high school level. This would bring a completely different perspective to the board. It is my goal to make sure the transition into high school has D95 students well prepared. I would like to see the continued implementation of Common Core without over testing our students. Common Core is a reality in our state and we need to make sure our kids and parents are not overwhelmed. Also, with the impending possibility of expansion at Brook Park, due to rapid growth in student population; I also support an all day kindergarten program. Early childhood education is critical for first grade readiness. I would be honored to serve all stakeholders in District 95.