1) What background or prior life experience qualifies you for a position on the Board of Education? What inspired you to run for a position on the BOE at this particular time?
As a graduate of the University of Connecticut, and since I have recently finished my educational tutorage at Central Connecticut State University, I am educated in the most recent and valuable educational theories and practices. I am continuing towards my Masters degree, so I am still continually being introduced to new learning that I can bring to the board. I am in my third year of teaching at Global Collegiate Academy in New Britain, and I am passionate about guaranteeing a quality education to all my students. That is why I chose to become more active in my school district and joined the curriculum writing team. We realize that we need a consistent curriculum that will elevate our low achievers and challenge our high achievers, and guarantee that all students are given the same and the best educational strategies that directly connect to the state standards. I believe what I have learned at both Universities and what I have experienced in the teaching field can serve this office.
2) If elected, what would be your immediate priorities?
I believe we have a very responsible Board of Education in Bristol, and a supportive city government. Bristol should be proud of its accomplishments and its educational strives. The greatest challenge facing any School Board is the current fiscal climate. We are all being asked to do more with less, therefore we must always stay focused on our number one resource in the country, and that is the education and well being of our children. Lack of funds can lead to outdated resources, oversized classrooms, deterioration of the buildings and the total educational infrastructure. A way to meet this challenge is to constantly apply for grants and analyze the budget and spending regularly. In the budget we have to make sure there aren’t any unnecessary costs and make cuts where it is needed, to ensure that the critical areas are appropriately funded. Creative minds and thinking are a necessity for today’s Board members, Government officials; managers, teachers and parents.
I also want to focus on the curriculum and make sure that we are keeping it aligned to the common core standards. We need to make sure that our students are having common learning experiences across all schools. This is essential in securing culture literacy in our society. This should be a global goal: students every where need to be addressing similar standards, so our country can have unifying educational goals.
3) What is the role of parents and teachers in educational decision making? How will you seek out the input of each and maintain communication?
A challenge we have is maintaining parent participation in their child’s education and extracurricular activities. With both parents working one or two jobs, this has become a major challenge, especially with the inner city schools. Parents need to be part of their child’s education, to ensure success. So the education of the parent becomes equally important when it comes to making them understand the importance of their participation. This challenge is met by engaging them in activities, parent teacher conferences, continual open lines of communication between them and the teacher, and volunteer opportunities.
4) What are the dividing lines between parents, teachers, and administrators when it comes to accountability for student progress?
There is no dividing line. All four groups need to be working collaboratively to ensure student success. Everyone including the students have a role. The parents need to give their students support at home and support that the teachers and administrators are looking out for their child’s best interests. The teachers need to maintain giving their students a quality education and are keeping open communication lines with the parents. Administrators need to be the calming supportive force behind it all. They need to make sure their teachers are confident, equipped, and comfortable with the curriculum and the demands of the classroom. They also need to be there for parents who need extra support and who want to take a more active role in their child’s education. The students need remember that their education is their job and responsibility. They need to take control of their educational career. The students need to know that their education is a serious matter, and us as teachers, parents, and administrators need to be there to support their individual needs.
5) What is your opinion of the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) act and its legacy?
The NCLB has done nothing to help our students. It had good intentions but poor follow through. It has only added stress and pressure on the school systems. We can not measure student achievement based on standardized tests. Multiple choice questions do not sufficiently evaluate student understanding. Student achievement needs to be addressed on an individual level with multiple measures and the teachers need to be a part of this evaluation process.
According to Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators, we are ranked 14th in Reading, 17th in Science, and 25th in Mathematics. As stated by this survey we are considered average in Reading and Science, and below average in Mathematics. This is unacceptable. If this continues our students will be ill-equipped to compete in the global market. This is a wake up call for all of us educators, administrators, parents, and government officials. We need to make sure that our students are working under a curriculum that is meeting state standards. We need stay consistent in giving our students reading content that is grade level and that they are learning skills to comprehend and analyze what they are reading. Their writing, science, and math skills need to meet grade level expectations as well. We can’t keep pushing students ahead who are lacking these basic skills, we need to make sure we take the time to ensure that all our students have met their grade level skill before we push them forward. If they have not reached these expectations, then we need to be ready to offer them extra resources to aid in their progression. This is what the government should be focusing on and researching before they propose a bill that can have detrimental effect on our student’s education. We don’t need anymore quick fixes or mandated target performances, without the resources to get there.
6) What else would you like our members to know about your candidacy?
The board of education is responsible for providing the best education to all its students. As a teacher this is my responsibility everyday in the classroom. I am constantly trying to ensure that my students’ individual needs are being met, and they are getting the education they deserve. I want to run for office, so I can further promote this ideal. I want to be part of a team that is making sure the students are receiving the best educational practices and the resources they need to be successful in their educational career.