Barbara Garvey

Below are candidate-submitted answers to a biographical survey Riverside-Brookfield Landmark sent out to all candidates running in this year’s elections.

Age: 43

Previous political experience:

D95 School Board member since 2013
Brookfield Library Board member 2001-2011

Previous community experience: 


Kindergarten Teacher, River Forest School District 90


B.S. Elementary Education ~ University of Illinois – Champaign-Urbana, 1995

Why are you running for a seat on District 95 school board?

I have enjoyed my time serving on the District 95 school board for the last 4 years. I believe it is important to give back to our community. Education is my passion, so this seemed like a good fit for me to be able to share my passion and talents with the community I live in. Maintaining exceptional schools is vital to not only my own family, but to our community at large.

Do you support the plan to expand Brook Park School and renovate S.E. Gross School? If so, why? If not, why not?

I absolutely do support the plan to expand Brook Park School and renovate S.E. Gross School. As I have said before, maintaining exceptional schools is critical and an important factor in the effectiveness of education is small class sizes. Our school population in D95 has exploded in recent years and is projected to continue to grow. In order to continue to provide our students with the best educational system we can, we have to continue to strive to keep our class sizes down. The expansion at Brook Park would also allow space for full-day kindergarten which is becoming ever more important to educating the whole child.

What do you think about standardized (PARCC) test scores and academic performance at schools in District 95? What areas do you believe could be improved and what action can the school board take to help improve student achievement?

I think standardized tests such as PARCC provide only a snapshot in time of a child. Unfortunately, I have not seen that PARCC is able to do what it was promised to do. Assessments should be able to be used to guide future instruction. Because of the timing of administering PARCC and the great delay in getting results returned, this is not possible. PARCC also requires a great deal of time to administer ~ time taken away from instruction. So, while I do believe we need to assess where our students are and their progress toward mastery of the standards, I also don’t put a lot of weight on a standardized test as all such tests have their shortcomings. I think we need to look at the whole picture for each child individually, remembering that PARCC is only 1 piece, while their grade level assessments and classroom performance paint a much more complete picture of their progress. Much work has already been done to align our curriculum to the Common Core Standards and to provide resources for teaching and assessment. We need to continually look at our students’ progress and assess the teaching strategies and resources we are using to meet their needs.

How does District 95 integrate technology into the classroom? What can be done to expand the integration of technology at the classroom level? Is there a wish to implement such initiatives as a 1-to-1 program? Why or why not? 

D95 integrates technology into the classroom in a variety of ways. We have integrated the use of interactive smart boards into the classrooms. We have also increased the number of laptops and iPads available. Looking to the future, I would like to see continued growth in the amount of technology we have available to our students. However, it is not just about how much technology we have, it is also about what we do with it. Now that we have more technology tools available, it is not time to look closer at HOW it is being used and training our teachers on ways to integrate it effectively in the classroom.

Are there programs District 95 could be providing to students that it does not already provide? If so, how might those programs be implemented? 

In looking to the future of education, providing a STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) or STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) Program. Through collaboration between technology, art, and classroom science teachers, such a program could be developed and implemented.

What other issues are important to you as a school board candidate? How would you advocate for them as a board member?

*Fiscal responsibility is always a primary goal.
*Communication on all levels can always be improved.
*Continued professional development for staff. The landscape of education is always evolving and it is important to continue our staff development endeavors.
Advocating at the board level has always led to great, open, honest discussions that I would hope to continue.