What’s the biggest issue currently facing the district?
The biggest issue is the reopening of our schools to ensure a NEW normalcy. If we are going to make a real impact, we must listen to the voices of students, parents, staff, and the community when implementing protocols, procedures, and guidelines for reopening. Safety must be the number one priority with any decisions. Understanding the unreadiness of many families and staff members, and the impact this may have on the system. Having in-depth conversations relating to what face-to-face and virtual instructional options will be. Professional development for staff members teaching virtual classes…
How can Christina best recover from learning loss suffered during the pandemic? Do you agree with the recent credit recovery expansion or should other techniques be used?
I support the various efforts the district has developed to assist students in closing the learning gap. During this time, students should be able to access multiple opportunities available to get or keep them on track for the completion of their high school diploma. I am hopeful they CSD will continue to monitor the situation and provide additional options as needed. I am concerned that about 25-30% of CSD students have not been a part of the school year. We need to apply resources to locate, reconnect, and provide them with extensive supports to catch up with their peers.
Some students have benefited from completely virtual learning. Should a virtual option exist for students even after the pandemic? If so, what should it look like?
To meet the needs of all students, as a district, we must transition to provide innovative and competitive learning opportunities. We should provide opportunities for students to engage in face to face and virtual learning. There are students that flourish in the virtual environment and we must support them. There are staff, students and families that are not ready to return to face-to-face learning. We must support them. We should request approval from DDOE to offer virtual learning beginning with the 2021-22 school year. How it should look will depend on a number of factors to include all voices, a survey to determine level of interest from staff (trained to teach in a virtual environment) and students, and the selection of appropriate grade/age curriculums, resources, and materials.
The district is about to receive an influx of federal funds from the latest stimulus bill. How would you vote to spend that money?
Our primary focus should always be student achievement and professional learning for educators. We need to invest in professional development for educators to effectively provide and improve in-person and virtual instruction that will continue to prepare students for college and career readiness. We will need additional Social Workers/Visiting Teachers, Teachers, Psychologists, and Support Staff. Programs such as SEL, Restorative Practices, and Equity training. We must make needed repairs to aging buildings, while creating a comprehensive plan that supports major and minor capital improvements. These decisions should be collaborative, transparent, and the district held accountable for outcomes.
Christina currently has the lowest graduation rate in Delaware. What would you do to try to improve that statistic?
We must develop a team approach that includes school counselors, visiting teachers, school leaders, and social workers to begin monitoring all students, with specific emphasis on seniors to ensure they are on pace to meet graduation requirements. This should be a yearlong process. Hiring/Training Graduation Specialist to support struggling at risk students and families could benefit the districts efforts. In the past Sarah Pyle has been a great resource for non-traditional programs that helped increase the graduation rate. I suggest we increase career related courses and enrollment at Sarah Pyle, and technical courses at the other high schools to increase graduation rates in CSD.
With increased competition from charter schools, how would you try to improve enrollment rate and public perception?
Parents have left the district because they are seeking better opportunities for their children. We must listen and learn from past mistakes, address parent and student concerns/needs, improve the design and technical capabilities of our schools, renovate aging facilities, provide student-centered instructional programs and pathways. Support equitable and inclusive classrooms that focus on the needs of every student, promote a safe and welcoming staff and leaders who care.