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: None
Previous community experience: Member and Volunteer of Brook Park Council and Girl Scout Troop Parent Volunteer
Occupation: Investigator at the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Children and Family Services
Education: Bachelors in Social Work (Siena Heights University) and Masters in Social Work (University of Michigan)
Why are you running for a seat on District 95 school board?
My husband and I moved to La Grange Park 6 years ago because we wanted our children to attend a public school in a close-knit community. I am incredibly proud to live in a school district where the teachers and administrators work diligently to ensure that students receive a quality education. I am running for the District 95 school board because I want to give back to the community. My experience as an investigator providing oversight and my social work background will be a benefit to the school board.
Are there any specific issues you would advocate the school board address, change or implement?
Information sharing and communication are highly important. I would advocate that the school board do more to communicate the exciting things happening in the district. Podcasting or live streaming school board meetings and use of social media are some of the ways this could be implemented.
By the beginning of the next school year, the renovations and expansion projects at Brook Park and S.E. Gross schools will be completed. What does the next school board need to do to ensure that the initiative provides educational value to future students?
The renovation and expansion projects will allow for full-day kindergarten at Brook Park, a STEM Lab at the Middle School and expansion of the district’s Early Childhood Education Program which will all provide tremendous value to future and incoming students. The school board should continue to monitor and evaluate the district’s long-term strategic plan and curricula to ensure the changes promote meaningful student growth. Additionally, the board should continue to foster open communication with teachers and parents to ensure the changes in the learning environment meet their expectations.
What do you think about 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?
While I would never advocate that a school spend a lot of time on standardized testing. I do think it is important to have a reliable means of evaluating student performance and progress. A combination of teacher designed assessments, MAP testing and State Standardized testing will demonstrate areas that need improvement. Just as the reading specialists have provided a great service to students. I would love to see a similar model developed to assist students with math proficiency in both the Elementary and Middle School.
Are there programs District 95 could be providing to students that it does not already provide? If so, how might those programs be implemented?
Currently District 95 does not have a before and aftercare program like other nearby Districts. Although there are programs in the community, these programs either have waiting lists or do not operate on the same school calendar as the district. In talking with parents and evidenced by the success of the extracurricular programs in the District there is a need for a quality aftercare program with a learning component that can accommodate the influx of students moving to the district. I would advocate that the administration work with existing programs in the community to better meet the needs of our students.
What other issues are important to you as a school board candidate? How would you advocate for them as a board member?
The current school board has done an excellent job of ensuring that the district is being fiscally responsible while also ensuring a high-quality education for our children in the community. As the district continues to grow and expand, I believe that it will be important that the school board seek to support teachers in the classroom by providing the tools they need to be successful; hire and retain the best personnel and administration; and work cooperatively with district leadership to promote the most successful student learning environment for our students.