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Welcome to the OrangePolitics forum for CHCCS School Board candidates. This is Barbara Fedders, Clinical Associate Professor at UNC School of Law. I'll be moderating the forum. I'll post a new question every ten to fifteen minutes; candidates will receive approximately 9-10 questions. I'll ask for any closing remarks and edits to posts. The forum will close by 9 p.m. Let's jump right in.
Good evening. Many thanks to the moderator and everyone at Orange Politics for hosting this forum.
Every child can and will succeed and we will do so by ensuring a year’s worth of growth for all students and that every child enters a classroom with all adults believing in highest of expectations.
Instructional Excellence plays a key role and we can ensure this by supporting teachers who are doing excellent work in the classroom, skills development and professional learning opportunities, collaborating with Schools of Education. But most of all by ensuring that we have good salary and benefits for teachers. Project Advance http://www.chccs.k12.nc.us/home/featured/project-advance must be used as a dynamic tool to identify, support and provide professional development opportunities and implementation support for teachers.
I believe we must ensure that we can measure and focus on the goals of the Strategic Plan http://www.chccs.k12.nc.us/about/plans-reports/long-range-plan-for-chccs-2013-2018 and make course correction when necessary and when new information compels us to through the lens of high expectations for students.
I would also work to highlight the value of Birth through Pre K services. We know this work not only closes achievement gaps but also provides a boost in social and behavioral interactions and long-term success. My professional experience has afforded me broad experience with 0-5 education and the School Board and district must be fully invested partner in community-wide initiatives that are providing support for 0-3 services and Pre K. Evidence-based programs like the Nurse-Family Partnership, Early Head Start, and the Family Success Alliance are innovative ways to prepare both children and parents for school success. Creating more partnerships similar to Smart Start and NC Pre K would allow our School District to maximize limited funds for a very important cause. Early literacy programs can help to bridge the 30 million word gap that exists between children from low income and high income households – research shows that by age three children from low income households have heard 30 million fewer words than their more privileged counterparts, which means when they start school they are already significantly challenged. Thankfully, we live in a resource-rich community and increased collaboration could help us bridge this gap and ensure that all children in the District ready for school.
Students enter the District schools at every level. Mentoring programs, and initiatives like Parent University, can help to provide additional support. I would also like to applaud the Superintendent’s initiative to provide additional academic support and opportunities to under-enrolled students in High School who have demonstrated the ability to perform in Honors/AP classes but need help in unlocking that potential. This should lead to increased enrollment and increased achievement.
I would advocate for creating a culture of excellence for all students, teachers, and administrators. I would advocate for those programs that have proven effective to eliminate the achievement gap. Those programs and policies that eliminate the achievement gap contain these components:
I support the District's recent emphasis on the improvement of instruction and would include persistent and long term equity training. Finally, I would advocate for a regular and timely review of all policies that are implemented to eliminate the achievement gap. I would also repeatedly express the theme that the elimination of the achievement gap requires long term and consistent effort.
We need to start early to solve this and we can act as a Board in several ways.. I will advocate for continually raising Pre-K Head Start programs’ eligibility thresholds so that voluntary Universal Pre-K is available to every CHCCS child. Second, parents must be more, not less, involved with their student’s education. I will encourage Parent Partnerships for engagement with parents, their student’s teachers and school administrators as a way to END PARENT PUSH OUT practices now endemic in our District. Third, recruiting and retaining great teachers for math, English, science and technology curriculum is most important. Whatever the core standard, engaged and competent teachers are a must and we must recruit more of them for ALL our children to be prepared for the future. Fourth, .I will advocate for a Pledge of Performance from all District employees to model their shared experiences of justice, fairness, recognition of every contribution and encouraging ALL students to develop to their full potential.
As a current Board member, I have advocated for efforts that minimize race as a predictor of success. That does not mean that teachers should not see color. There should be efforts and strategies in place that support all children and recognize their gifts. I applaud our teachers for their hard work. But I know our instructional can be more effective with the right resources.
1. Prepare teachers to teach all students, specifically all learners. The district is currently working to train teachers on effective lesson planning that recognizes and supports diverse learners. The plan will include pre-teaching for those who come to the lesson behind or with gaps, teaching for those on grade leverl and acceleration for those who have already have an understanding for the lesson. This type of plan will allow teachers to identify which students need more assistance and it will allow them to identify what interventions are necessary.
2. Thoughtful equity training for all teachers and staff can be effective in minimizing race as a predictor to academic success. Currently, all schools have Equit Teams. I will continue to urge our superintendent to monitor the work of each team, its responses to school based issues and its outreach/training to the school community.
3. The need for a iscipline referral must be determined using consistent criteria and made necessary only when the teacher has exhausted all efforts to manage inappropriate in the classroom. Of course safety of all is paramount to the need to enlist the SRO response. But if it is not necessary, the SROs should not be called upon at a teacher's discretion. I will continue to urge the district to provide training for our staff and provide explicit expectatoins about the use of SROs. Additionally, I would urge the district to ensure that our SROs are not using documented past discipline referrals as a basis for judging a student's propensity to misbehave in the future.
Teachers must have both heart, desire and skills to be effective. They must believe that all students can learn, grow and that each has value.
Academic success is very difficult without a robust support system that includes strong teachers who support students and motivate them and a broad community that provides resources and believes in their children.
The consequence of generations of people being excluded from the education system has had profound impacts on today’s children. The fact that some parents could not learn to read because there was no effective system for them factors into their children’s success. Generational compounding has such strong impacts; if your grandmother couldn’t read, it’s less likely that your mother could read and less likely that you can read proficiently.
This is the context some people of color in our community come to our schools with and unfortunately, this history was not that long ago and persists in some elements of our society. We continue to see issues of disparate discipline, resource gaps and other issues that impact our students.
We need to address the issue holistically following two paths of action:
Educational outcomes are highly affected by family engagement, economic resources and community support. It is imperative to strengthen children’s environments by supporting efforts to enable access to good nutrition, stable housing, employment opportunities, and mentors who can provide exposure opportunities. The school board and the district can partner with community groups (TABLE, Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocate, Family Success Alliance, Parent University, etc.) to support these efforts.
When students first enter the system, they should be labeled first and foremost as learners that trust us to help them achieve their potential. We should not pre-judge them by race or socioeconomic status. We need to ensure that we eliminate any biases in identifying the needs and abilities of all students. This means we should examine the tests and selection/recommendation processes for AIG programs and AP to eliminate language-based and social inequalities. We should also work to encourage black and Latino students and parents to avail themselves of AIG programs and AP courses.
We need to continue the work that has begun to eliminate the racial disparities in discipline – students that are not in school cannot learn.
We should work more closely with the community to engage family support and counseling resources to help students both in and out of the school. Students struggling outside of schools cannot succeed in them.
We must continue to advocate for resources to expand pre-K education for at-risk students so that they can enter the K-12 system with a firm foundation in learning and the mindset and tools for academic growth.
Beyond this, we need to continue to push programs to provide career growth and reward excellent teachers as they are the ones at the forefront of closing the achievement gap. We also need to continue to develop a comprehensive and rigorous K-12 curriculum so that we provide a challenging education to all students.
Unfortunately these issues of inequity have plagued our school system and many others for decades. I think that there are a few key things that the board can advocate for to help close the disparities.
I submitted my answer, however, I don't see my response. Is it possible I replied to one of the candidates
Board being instrumental in educating the public about AG programs beginning with students entering k/1st grade, since idenification begin at 3rd grade. Schools should take a closer look at their discipline data to ensure that black and brown students are not being reprimanded at greater rate than their majority peers for the same offenses.
2. The Orange County Commissioners, Carrboro Board of Aldermen, Chapel Hill Town Council and the Orange County School Board all adopted resolutions in 2014 supporting immigrant children, regardless of whether they are documented or not. The CHCCS School Board refused to consider the matter, even though the Board was requested to do so.
Will you support adoption of a resolution supporting the right to public education of all children regardless of immigration status?
Yes, I fully support the right of public education for all, regardless of immigration status. Public education should provide an equal opportunity to succeed to every student and we have an obligation to provide the same high quality education in every school in the district. Education has the potential to reduce poverty and inequality by allowing each individual child to realize his or her full potential. Investment in public education is essential to the growth of our local community – good schools and an educated workforce attract outside investment. To ensure every child in the district is properly served we must continue to stay abreast of cutting edge research in education and continue to fund innovative programs in all areas including early childhood, and programs for children with disabilities and issues that affect learning.
We must, as a community, continue to champion the highest possible levels of quality education and outcomes for all students. A quality education is the right of every child in our school district. My goal is to help teachers harness each child’s unique talents and support them on their path to success. Voters entrust school board members with creating a blueprint for educational excellence, but we can only achieve this if we partner with students, parents, teachers, administrators and the community at large.
Yes. Parents not children make the choice for immigration. The United States is a country of immigrants. While we have no authority to resolve the immigration issue in this country, we do have a responsibilty to give all children who live in our District an education.
A central theme of my life is understanding and respecting connectedness of all of our communities. We are all connected so everyone’s success matters. I would definitely be supportive of a resolution to educate all children in our community. I would also want to understand the legal ramifications of such a resolution and how the current board came to its decision.
Without knowing the CHCCS School Board's reasons for not considering the matter, the question presumes some reluctance. If it all the procedural obstacles were set aside when I'm on the School Board, I would be able to make a sensible, prudent and balanced analysis of all the suirrounding issues. It seems like an issue of equity and fairness on the surface, which I will always support in favor of public education for all..
CHCCS schools do not ask for immigration status of any student. It is already the policy to admit ALL residents of the district regardless of immigration status. The district is already performing the act of supporting all chilren, so I don't feel that an additional resolution is necessary.
The district does not turn away children based on their immigration status.We have policies in place about domicile and residency. If families can prove domicile and residency to be within the borders of our district then their child can be registered to attend our schools.
Absolutely, I believe that education is a right not a privilege. Providing an education for all children benefits the entire community. Undocumented immigrants are some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community. Denying education to any child in our community would likely impair that child’s opportunities for the rest of their life. No community should do that to their children whether documented or undocumented . . . breaking our children into groups that can and cannot receive public education creates a division in our community that is unjust and unfair.
Yes, I believe all children have a right to an education. Childen do not choose to be undocumented; therefore, we should not hold them accountable for their parents' choices. If we are to build a society of problem solvers and thinkers, we can not afford to leave this segment of the population behind. Uneducated children grow up to be uneducated adults which increases the likelihood of poverty, incarceration and violence.
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How can the Board ensure that upper-middle-class parents, who typically have the resources and social capital to attend Board meetings, lobby Board members, and be a visible and strong presence in the schools, do not unduly influence Board policies?
I believe that the board strives to be equitable and consider all voices, even the ones that are not speaking the loudest, in its decisions. I understand that the parents who write emails and speak up in board meetings represent only a minority of the entire school community, and that we must consider the ramifications of any policy decision we make in light of how it impacts the entire community.
Board members regularly attend SIT meetings where they can be apprised of issues confronting schools, including the challenges of the neediest populations. I seek out, and am especially keen to hear from the counselors and social workers at schools who often advocate for those who cannot participate in board meetings. I also listen carefully to community organizations who speak for many of those who cannot speak for themselves.
Beyond what we're doing now, we need to seek out new avenues for talking to and listening to the community. Recent public fora that have been held at schools in the evenings is a good start, but to ensure that more have access to the district leadership and the board, we will need to step out of our offices and schools and hold meetings at other sites in the community.
The BEST OUTCOMES occur when parents must be more, not less, involved with their student’s education. When elected I will encourage policy changes to establish Parent Partnerships for engagement with parents, their student’s teachers and school administrators as a way to END PARENT PUSH OUT practices now endemic in our District. At the Northside Elementary Community Forum on September 26th I heard a great many parents telling about Parent Push Out beginning in 7th grade. Fix this one embedded practice and we'll have a good start towards making sure EVERY PARENT VOICE IS HEARD.
Board members need to be actively engaged in the community. During this campaign season it has been wonderful to see our elected officials attend community events, churches and listen to community members. Board of Education members have a responsibility to be engaged in the community throughout the year, listening and engaging parents and community members particularly where we know challenges to participation exist. We often create a process and want everyone to fit in that narrow process. Serving all children requires us to meet people where they are.
We also need to elect board members who are comfortable with difficult conversations and will bring the perspective of those who may not be included to the discussion.
As a former PTA Council President I have worked on initiatives involving co-sponsporing a grant with Parent University for "Take Our Parents to School" Week. These types of initiatives encourage parents from all sectors of our community to be involved and be exposed to all school processes. Individual schools have worked hard on developing programs through their PTAs to ensure participation and access of all families. We will draw on the successful models that some schools have developed to institute a systemwide process. I firmly believe it is the school board's responsibility to respond to all parents. As a school board member, I will make accountability and transparency my watch words in ensuring that all parents have a voice.
We encourage all stakeholders to participate in Board meetings. For those who cannot attend, they can submit letters to board members or call us. The meetings are recorded and can be viewed via the district's website.
As part of my approach to thoughtful discourse and consideration of an issue, I always urge administration to reach out to stakeholders who are not represented in a live audience and to those that we may not be hearing from via letter, call or email. I also take it upon myself to reach out personally to individuals that will be impacted by an upcoming Board discussion or decision.
An audience presence does not unduly influence my decision. I cast my vote on a decision by considering all aspects of an issue, its impact on the district and/or school community, compliance with public school laws and how it will improve student success outcomes.
Though we have a community with many involved and active parents, this reflects only a fraction of the entire parent and student population of our schools. We need stronger outreach from the board. The board should approach parents that might be uncomfortable speaking out at a board meeting. There should be ways for parents that are working during board meetings to speak to the board. And parents that do not have internet should be able to easily reach out to the board through clearly communicated and reasonable means. I would like to see the board define outreach metrics and set an expectation that each board member would reach out to segments of the community that are not normally engaged with the board. The board should ask those that are not normally at board meetings for their opinions on important topics. A survey, a request for comment, an email is not enough. We need more face to face communication throughout the community.
I believe the upper middle class parents will continue to have their voices heard. However, for groups whose voices are not typically heard, the board must be willing to go out into those communities. For example, the board can host back to school events in different communities, which gives them the opportunities to talk to those stakeholders. They should also host events throughout the school year. It is not enough for the superintendent and the assistant superintendent to represent our school district at events happening within various communities. The board needs to commit to taking an active role in attending and reaching out to all communities. This will give the board an opportunity to learn and embrace other cultures.
I would work diligently to seek all points of view and positions in any decison that has to be made. I would seek out the opinions and the concerns of those groups, communities, and persons who are not normally heard at Board meetings or who send emails. I would go out to meet with everyone where they are most comfortable, including churches, community centers, and other places where groups meet. I would also work to change the accessiblity of the District, by making it more inviting to all concerned parents, grandparents, and students.
Frigid weather, snow and ice storms will be part of North Carolina winters for the foreseeable future. Many expressed dissatisfaction with previous years' inclement-weather policies, particularly make-up days on Saturdays, which were under-attended and reported to be of limited educational value. What changes, if any, do you support in CHCCS inclement-weather policies?
The decision to hold make-up days on Saturdays was poorly received by the community. Weekends are an important time for families - both those of our students and our teachers. In the future the Board should look more seriously at less disruptive options for families, such as adding additional time onto existing school days. It should also continue to advocate for more local control over the District calendar. Any make up time needs to provide instructional content.
Board policies should focus on minimizing disruption to instruction time. Given the “new normal” of challenging weather, planning becomes even more important. As much as possible, we should include extra time into the school calendar to avoid unplanned changes to schedules.
As the parent of two high school juniors last year, who attend both Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill High Schools, I can attest that the least supportive members of the school communities were the teachers. Those Saturdays were definitely under-attended and of practically no educational value. Other districts added time to regular school days to compensate and did not have the dissatisfaction by teachers, parents and families with religious observance conflicts. I will not vote for any more Saturay makeup days. There are far better alternatives.
First and foremost, we need everyone in the community to help our legislators return control of the school calendars to local authorities. Our representatives are already working on this, but they’ll need additional support from people outside of Orange County, so please encourage all of your friends and relatives to ask their state representatives to return the calendars to local control.
Given the constraints on how many days/hours students must be in school and the narrow window when the legislature allows us to keep traditional schools open, there is not a lot that can be done. We have put in place an inclement weather plan for 2015-16 that we hope will avoid the situation of having to go to school on Saturday or Memorial Day.
I would like the district to work with the towns and county to look at the option of having snow emergency routes to deal with inclement winter weather. If practical, this solution could allow us to run a more limited set of bus routes, requiring students to walk further to get to their bus, but might allow us to open schools on all but the worst snow days. While these days might need to be shortened to allow for safe transport of students to/from school, it could alleviate some of the calendar problems.
The district has already begun to prepare for inclement weather days or adverse events. Current NC statutes dictate when traditional schools can start and end the school year. There are also required teacher workdays, national holidays, religious observances/days on which students cannot attend schools. There are considerations that are unique to each school district and for us we have to consider our current secondary class schedule, bus routes and the distances that our staff have to travel to get to school. While some parents believe we should have attended school on days that we were closed, the administration has to consider the safety of all students and staff. While some families believe that the district has complete control over its academic calendar, it does not. The Board has engaged with it legislative delegation on the issue of local control of the school calendar. Our community is well supported by a delegation that believes in local control but more advocacy is needed to changed the state statute.
I will continue to urge administration to ensure that learning takes place on all days that students are in school. Yes, there will be days that students will be absent, but the district does allow excused absences for specific reasons including family religious observances.
I think that the District should bank good weather days at the beginning of the school year so that when inclement weather occurs, the instructional time will not be lost. While I am cognizant of the state control over the calendar, I would also look at the school bus routes to determine if the District can avoid closing school if the majority of the routes can be driven by school buses, and modify the pick up locations. In addition, the District needs to reexamine the lead time before cancelling schools if the weather clears up sufficiently for students and teachers to travel safely to and from school. Finally, because the teachers and the students had already been in school for six days, the Saturday school days were ineffective for instructional purposes.
School on Saturday was a lousy idea . . . the students were disengaged. The parents schedules were upset The staff and teachers had to work on Saturday. In many classrooms there probably wasn't a lot of learning going on. Did this make anyone happy?
I'm not sure why we went with this policy . . . it offended some of our faithful in our community for whom Saturday more than just another day of the week. We've been emphasizing the value of inclusion, diversity and equity in our schools. Unfortunately the example set by school on Saturday emphasized none of these.
No one can predict the weather. Not the board, not the administration, not the parents. Let’s admit this to one another. Let's tell parents explicitly how many snow days are built into the academic calendar. Let’s tell parents that if we have more snow days than this we will tack them onto the end of the year. And let’s recommend that parents leave a buffer between the end of the school year and vacations, etc. This isn't a perfect solution but if we provide transparency to parents and make them aware of how we're all at the mercy of state laws and the weather when it comes to the school year, then at least there are no surprises like school on Saturday.
I would support more teachers workdays/inclement weather days in the second semester in the school year. Historically, the inclement days scheduled in the first semester happens before inclement weather occurs. It may mean re-examining the calendar.
The General Assembly has been extremely hostile to public education. Caps on charter schools have been lifted; vouchers for private schools have been approved. Total state funding for public schools remains below pre-recession levels. Teacher pay continues to stagnate. More than 1000 North Carolina teachers left the profession in 2014-2015 to teach in other states. Another 1200 said they were dissatisfied with teaching and would be changing careers. What if anything should the Board do to help reverse political attacks on public education at the state level?
No doubt the current legislature seems bent on dismantling public education. Fortunately, Orange County and the residents of the CHCCS district remain very supportive and are doing what they can to close budget gaps. Ultimately, we need to turn the perpetrators of these bad policies out of office. While that can’t be done as a board, as an individual, I am working with others in the county and the state to do so.
The board can and should continue to advocate for a return to appropriate funding to traditional public schools, and limits on the inappropriate poaching of public funds for charter and private schools. The board does this through its work with the NC School Board Association and the Public School Forum, the PTA Council and others.
We need to expand those efforts and do additional community engagement to get them to encourage our representatives, and more importantly to influence representatives from other counties to ensure that the current trend is reversed and that quality publication education is returned to a top priority for the state.
As for recruiting and retaining high quality teachers, we are challenged buy the poor funding from the state and the drumbeat from the legislature and NC conservatives like the John Lock Foundation about how bad teachers are and how high turnover is good so that we can get rid of them faster. Who would want to come to work in such an environment? The district is implementing Project ADVANCE, which will provide a platform for career development and growth, and a concomitant growth in financial reward that will send message to teachers that they are appreciated. Hopefully this will counter the message at the state level and improve our recruitment and retention of the best teachers. We should also add to these efforts by working with the towns and county to ensure an adequate supply of housing that teachers and their families can afford.
The board should continue to work with other education boards, community groups and advocates of education to lobby for stronger support and development of our teachers.
Defending public education will require ground level support and as we continue to see further erosion of support for education in the General Assembly, the impacts will be increasingly painful in other areas in the state where there are fewer economic resources. We must ensure parents, teachers and community members know how to combine to advocate and win with strength in numbers.
In addition, while we fight the good fight with Raleigh, we also must strategically plan what we can do locally to support our teachers in professional development and think about how to ensure a healthy pipeline.
First, I would have the Board continue to collaborate those local, state, or national groups that advocate for the strong support of public education and increased teacher salaries and benefits. Second, I would seek to have the Board at every opportunity emphasize the importance of a strong public education to North Carolina's state economy. I would remind everyone that this state's strong public education gave rise to the tremendous economic growth of the Triangle and other parts of the State. I would emphasize that without strong public education we would not be able to have gone to the moon or even to Mars. Third, I think that I would use the example of those states with weak public education that continue to be mired in underwhelming economic development to policy makers. Finally, I would work to elect as many people as possible would believe in a strong well funded public education, and increased access to quality pre-K education.
The truth of the matter is the current legislature does not consider quality public education a priority.
This creates a difficult environment where teachers feel unsupported and where resources are becoming more and more limited. Locally we have always championed public education. We should continue to strive to provide a quality education for all despite the diminution of state support. We need, as a community, to identify and leverage any resources by working with all of our stakeholders.
We need to ensure that what we have success within our school system is visible and acknowledged and continue to work with our local legislators to bring the message to the state level. We must maintain and strengthen any relationships we have at the state level and participate in all advocacy opportunities for public education like the NC PTA, PTA Council and NC School Boards Association.
The attack on public education is real and this attack appears to run down party lines. Advocacy for public educaton cannot be limited to Board members. It must come from communities that desire a strong local economy driven by an educated work force. Our legislative delegation has supported limits on charter schools and consistent evaluatoin measures and services. Funding for schools has also been determined along party lines and will require that all stakeholders be committed to their civic duty to elect officials who support public schools. Most teachers are paid by the state with a supplement from the local district. But there are some school districts whose county commissioners do not or cannot provide local funding to supplement teacher pay or increase the workforce. We are fortunate here in Orange County to have the support of a Commission who supports public education. While teachers have left the state for higher wages, my efforts as a Board member would be around reversing any dissatisfaction that teachers have with our schools. School culture is a factor to job satisfaction and academic success. The school culture is established by a strong school administrator who believes in his/her staff and the value of all children. Principals must be the instructional leaders - encouraging, coaching and evaluating high quality instruction. Teachers have reported on multiple surveys across many districts that there primary reason for remaining in the profession is because they feel supported by their principal.
The board should be the loudest advocate in our community for school funding, equitable pay for teachers, and the negative effects of vouchers and charter school funding on our private schools. Though the board cannot change these policies, the board is in the best position to let the state legislature know the effects of these policies on the community. Though the board may say that it cannot take a political position on these issues, the board can and should provide factual and evidence based predictions on the effect of these policies on our schools. For example charter schools drain funding from our public schools, and they are not always required to meet the same standards as our public schools. Vouchers may offset part of the cost of private schooling, but it is unlikely that a voucher would pay the complete cost of private schools. This means that only those families that can afford to pay the difference cost between vouchers and private school tuition would be able to take advantage of vouchers. And those that couldn’t afford that difference would be stuck in a public school with funding that has been cut by vouchers and charter schools. The board should provide fact sheets to the public and to our state legislators to ensure that they know all the facts around these policies.
The board should be providing leadership and partnering with our allies in Raleigh to give our representatives the facts and evidence they need to show that the current strategies for funding education have consequences that are going to make it harder to deliver the education our students need.
In the meantime we have to do what we can locally to address the reality of the current situation. We need to foster an organizational and community culture that treats teachers as the professionals they are. We need to ensure that teacher feel that they have the resources they need to be successful and the training they need to develop their skills and careers.
The board should provide the facts to Raleigh and solutions to the local challenges at home.
Public education have served many children well in this community. For the legislature to take from public schools to give to charter/private schools seems counterproductive. Since there are many charter schools that are closed each year for various reasons, I believe that the number of charter schools should be limited. Private school should not receive any public funding. In addition the board should be in regular communication with state and local policymakers so that their voice could be heard. Teachers’ salaries continue to be an issue and our district needs to be at the forefront of making sure our teachers are well compensated for their accomplishments. Project Advance have the potential to solve a lot of issues as it relates to teachers’ salaries.
What should the Board do to attract and retain high-quality teachers to CHCCS? Please offer specifics.
From my comment above:
The community does a lot to show its appreciation for our teachers through breakfasts at teacher workdays, Teacher Appreciation Week events, and words of thanks and support throughout the school year. I believe that, in general, our teachers feel loved and supported by the community. If they don't feel that same love and support from leaders in the schools and in Lincoln Center, the community efforts are not likely to be enough for them to stay. In addition to career growth, pay, and housing, we need to ensure that all teachers are given adequate support and mentoring by administration in each school and from the central administration. The board will need to ensure that this happens, and that it has a good understanding of the reasons for teacher departures to correct any deficiencies in teacher support.
The desire to secure funding for quality education is a driving factor in my candidacy for school board. One of my son’s favorite elementary school teachers left for a job as a real estate agent. This was a person who loved teaching, who was enthusiastic, talented and a tremendous asset to our School District. We cannot afford to lose people like this and it is the School Board’s responsibility to find a way to keep them. We face serious financial challenges, but we cannot let this undermine the quality of the schooling we offer, or the compensation packages we offer our teachers. I understand the role of the General Assembly, County Commissioners and Federal Government in the funding process for education and I have worked extensively with county and state legislators and officials. I have also managed large budgets and overseen complex programs. I believe that by bringing this experience to the School Board I can help to secure the funding we need to invest in our school system, and to support and retain high quality teachers.
Having worked extensively in early childhood education – I know that quality teachers who are well compensated are the number one factor for successful outcomes. We must do better as a community. Our teachers have an excellent reputation and they are always in demand in school districts seeking to raise the level of services they provide. We have lost too many excellent teachers over the years because of pay-related issues. This is unacceptable. High turnover rates and uncompetitive salaries will inevitably result in a decline in standards. The School Board must prevent this from happening. Chapel Hill and Carrboro City Schools have recently begun implementing Project Advance, a new professional development system that is intended to reward teachers for lifelong learning and innovation. As a School Board member, I would ensure that we closely monitor this new initiative and require school administrators to provide the data that the School Board will need to evaluate the effectiveness of this program.
We must also focus as a district on ensuring a long-range funding plan to complement our long-range outcome plan. We must continue to advocate at the State level for the funding our school district needs to move forward. Stagnation is the mother of decline. We must also build partnerships at the local level to ensure that our county places school funding at the forefront of every decision.
Salary raises and benefits are critical to attracting and retaining high quality teachers. In addition, a supportive work environment that provides both adequate and secure facilities, teaching resources and teaching assistants. Ensuring a manageable teaching environment, for example class size. We need to work with our towns and the BOCC on challenges like affordable housing.
As I previously stated, school culture is critical to student success and a teacher's desire to remain with a school. Teachers who are well trained, supported by their principals and who can demostrate student growth are most likely to remain with a school.
As a Board member, I do ask about recruitment practices, job desciptions, search processes and new employees support resources. I'm very interested in how new teachers are mentored upon their arrival to the district. It's critical that new employees understand and accept that collaboration with fellow teachers, lesson planning and rigorous instruction and the use of formative assessments will be required of them.
As we recruit teachers, the district can also support its efforts by demonstrating how we do business and how it supports student success. High quality teachers will more likely be attracted to us if we utilize tools that are best practice.
The district continues to struggle with recruiting science, math and EC teachers. There are times when the district is able to offer bonuses for particular high needs subject teachers. With limited funding, this is not always a possibility. We're also at a disadvantage when current teachers leave mid year after most highly qualifed teachers have secured new employment.
Advocating for the implementation of Project Advance beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year with its four levels of supplement pay raises (based four levels of competency teachers can obtain) should be modified to include communication with and input from parents and students. But the Board should wait no longer to do this, recognizing that some adjustments may need to be made to turn this into an engine of instructor productivity for the benefit of our children. Establishing better partnerships with Carrboro's Board of Aldermen, Chapel Hill’s Town Council, the Orange County Board of Education and our School Board is most important. We need workforce housing to attract teachers to LIVE where they WORK, not commute for an hour each way from an affordable place to live. Plus, teachers want to be part of the communitiy their students are part of.
THe Asheville apartment project was a joint effort between Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County Schools, Eblen Charities' Center for Social Enterprise, Buncombe County and the State Employees' Credit Union Foundation. And Roy and Wanda Williams. Ashville's project addressed two of the community's most pressing needs — affordable housing and teacher recruitment and retention. Smart people in Ashville: he county owns the property and leasesleasing the land to Eblen Charities for $1 a year. Eblen owns the building. The State Employees' Credit Union Foundation is providing a no-interest loan. As the loan is paid off, the apartments will provide a source of revenue for Eblen programs that benefit area schools, teachers and students in need,
Workforce housing, especially for teachers, must be part of every development project approval in CHapel Hill and Carrboro. WIthout fail. A strong partnership between the School Board and Town Governments is required.
For teacher retention, I would first treat all teachers as professionals. I would seek to create a culture in the District that rewards teachers for excellent teaching and that provides for teachers to advance professionally. I would reward those teachers who are enthusiastic about teaching and want to see their students succeed.
I would advocate for those policies that would encourage teachers who seek greater education for instructional techniques and content knowledge by insuring that the educational opportunities are actually designed to meet those goals and compensate those teachers for doing so by either greater pay when they complete that education or tuition assistance.
Additionally, I would advocate for policies that compensate teachers who have had consistent success in achieving student learning growth with all students and reducing the achievement gap.
Finally, I would seek to provide teachers with greater benefits that would assist with living in the District including workforce housing and also greater transit benefits if they do not live in the District. Also, While I understand teachers may have their children in the District schools, I would make the process easier for teachers who do not live in the District to permit their children to attend District schools.
Teachers deserve a competitive wage for their services as the professionals they are. Unfortunately state funding changes have made that more and more difficult. Our board should strongly advocate for more competitive teacher salaries.
Additionally the board should evaluate the organizational culture of the school system. For example:
Do teachers feel like they have the resources to be successful at their job?
Do teachers feel that they work in a supportive environment where the teachers feel that the administration wants them to be successful?
Do teachers feel that there is a longterm career path for them in our schools?
Do teachers feel that the community hold them in esteem?
The board should be asking these questions and getting real and meaningful answers. If the answers to these questions are consistently, “No” then we will have difficulty retaining our teachers. Organizational culture is difficult to change and must be actively curated to be maintained. If the culture inside our schools isn’t where it should be this should be one of the highest priorities for the board. The board can advocate for additional money for teacher salaries, but the board has the resource to influence and shape the organizational culture in our schools. Our board should be addressing both of these.
1. Continue relationships with colleges and universities in the areas; UNC-Chapel Hill, NCCU, NCSU, Peace, Meredith, UNC-G, NCA&T, etc.
2. Continue mentorship program were new teachers are paired with veteran teachers
3. Provide professional development opportunities
4. School leaders serve in the capacity of supervisors concerned with teachers professional growth
5. Have a competitive starting salary and opportunities for timely pay increases
CHCCS Board policy prohibits discrimination on a number of grounds, including sexual orientation. What specific measures, if any, would you support to make schools more welcoming and comfortable to LGBT teachers and students?
Everyone should feel welcome and valued in our schools. CHCCS have a number of policies that have been implemented to further this goal. Beyond policies, I would seek feedback from the community as to other necessary actions.
As noted, the board already has a policy specifically forbidding discrimination. The board can set an expample for others by acting in a welcoming manner to all that come before it with issues. Privacy isses can make it difficult to proactively approach individuals to be certain that they are treated fairly, but we can ensure that we seek and listen to feedback from any LGBT student or teacher organizations, or others that may represent them
I support measures that comply with our current anti-discrimination policies. I also support measures that are welcoming and demonstrate an acceptance of diversity. A person's sense of reception/acceptance and comfort is very personal. The district will ensure that their access is not restricted based on discriminatory practices related to their sexual orientation and enforce discipline when appropriate.
I believe our entire educational community deserve equal treatment and the ability to lead the life they choose for themselves. I am proud to live in Chapel Hill and Carrboro where we have been leaders in the state in providing protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual and transgender community members. A total review of policies to reflect our commitment to LGBTQ teachers, staff and students may be necessary. We live in a resource-rich community to aid us in continually working toward the goals of providing a comfortable and welcoming space.
First, I would ensure that all administrators, teachers, and staff understand that the culture in the community is the Golden Rule, to treat everyone as I would like to be treated and to treat everyone with respect and kindness. Second, depending upon the circumstances, if there are incidents, the District needs to take the necessary actions to prevent such incidents from occurring by way of persistent and continous training, education, and if necessary discipline. We need to be proactive to work to make everyone feel comfortable and safe in the District. Finally, we need to remind everyone that school is a place of safety and diversity, and everyone is entitled to thrive and not just survive in the school environment.
A policy that prohibits discrimination against LGBT teachers and students is “table stakes,” in other words it’s the minimum we should do. In addition we should provide sensitivity training and training and awareness around some of the bias that some in our schools may harbor. Our teachers and administrators should know what constitutes discrimination and what doesn’t and what to do if they observe discrimination. Our school should provide a safe environment for all employees and students regardless of their sexual orientation.
Chapel Hill already has a comprehensive equity mission. This plan includes the LGBT community. The culture of our schools should be one where everyone feels invited. Our positive behavior support system is designed to make sure that teachers and students treat each other with respect, regardless of their orientation.
The Board of Commissioners has approved a motion to move forward with a bond that would be worth $125 million, $120 million of which will go toward repairing school buildings in the county.Assuming the bond measure passes, how would you ensure it is implemented efficiently and effectively?
As a current Board member, I can say that the Board has been very involved in the process of assessing the state of our campuses and determining its needs. We have been in real need of capital improvement funds for all of our campuses but of particular concern has been our older schools/facilities. While the County Commission is supportive of our school districts, capital improvement funds have not kept up with the needs. I do support the bond referendum and the majority of the funds going to the district's effort to make improvements to our older campuses. Extensive rehabilitation is necessary to improve air quality, safety and securtiy. We have worked with an architectural firm to analyze our needs and develop a plan to address the needs in a prioritized fashion. I will work with my colleagues to monitor the detailed plan, question the impact and benefits as well as its appropriateness for improving student success. I want to be accountable to our community who will support funding of these capital improvements. I will also be thoughtful in my decisions on its implementation and managed disruption to the current school schedule.
As Board Members, we first need sensible analysis of how maintenance is being performed and budgeted. Without knowing all the particulars, it appears past Board decisions may have deferred too many projects for the wrong reasons and now resulting in higher costs (and taxes) because of those delays. As a Board Member, I will require analysis to inform the Board of the value of every Budget Proposal (from these Bonds or otherwise) to students now and in the future. I will not recommend or vote for anything without enough information to help ensure Board decisions are prudently making the most of the resources we have available to our School District.
My long experience with large capital improvement budgets permits me to dig deeper into proposals and costs to ascertain where the funds will go and how the expenditure will benefit students and teachers.
1. The board has completed a need assessment. However, in the future I believe that the board should be mindful that repairs will be necessary and plan for repair.
2. In addition, I believe that the school board should take a look at the possibity of the school look to be a tenant where repair are made instead of a owner building. Then the repairs would be the responsibility of the owner
I worked as an engineer on a project team responsible for the construction of a $30 million manufacturing facility as my first fulltime job after finishing my undergraduate degree. I understand the value of the design process, the extremely expense cost of change orders (changes made after the design process is complete), the value of providing incentives to a construction firm for finishing ontime and underbudget, and the importance of strong project management. Throughout my career I've continued to provide project based consulting services to manufacturers, hospitals, governments, and other organizations. '
Additionally I was the VP of strategy for an organization that was one of the fastest growing private sector companies in the Triad for several years. I understand the value of a big picture strategy that provides guidance to several projects over several years.
Paying close attention to spending is a priority for me. As the CEO of a non-profit I have a track record of finding efficiencies, and I would bring this experience to bear on the bond measure. We must look at our CIP and ensure that we are as transparent and collaborative as possible during this process. All of our needs, must be in alignment and must have a realistic and concrete plan. The current three phase plan presented to the BOCC is a first step toward addressing capital needs. Funding from this bond is not completely sufficient to meet all of our needs. Going forward we must have an improved plan with the BOCC to ensure that funding for capital needs. We have to course correct when necessary and be mindful of our most serious projects that need to be prioritized. The board must be integrally involved and must not only have updates from staff but be hands on in this process.
As I’ve attended board meetings over the last two years, I’ve heard a lot of conversation between the board and the district focused on understanding and prioritizing the capital needs of our schools. I will encourage the board to share plans with community members and to continue to prioritize focus on spending related to instruction.
The district will also be requested to provide periodic progress updates to the board and the community.
I would use the Board's current criteria for selecting what facilities need to be fixed first, focusing on critical infrastructure repairs, increasing capacity to delay the construction of new schools, safety, handicap accessibility, and that the repairs can be maintained in a fiscally responsible manner.
I would analyze whether we could use common materials to make the repairs and renovations to lower costs if possible. I would seek frequent and regular updates of how the funds were being spent and whether there are costs that the District could not have foreseen.
I would then set out to develop a long term maintenance plan for the other repairs that are not being funded by the bond so that the District and the County in the future will not be faced with such a large and costly list of repairs to be made to all of the schools in the District. Finally, if we have to build a new school, then I would seek to account for the maintenance and repair costs as part of the overall budget when presented to the County Commissioners who make the funding decisions.
First, the board will need to work with Orange County Schools and organizations like the PTA council that directly support the schools to advocate to the community for passage of the bond. The board will also need to work with other organizations like the Chamber of Commerce to get the word out on the positive impact of the bond and the importance of people voting for it.
District administration have spent the past few years carefully examining all of the capital needs of the schools and developing a high level ten year plan for addressing the needs of our oldest facilities that has already been shared with the community. Now that we know how much money we can expect to receive, we can begin fleshing out those plans. The additional money that the county has committed to the yearly capital improvement budget will allow us to better address the most pressing maintenance needs of all of our schools (e.g., HVAC system replacement) and focus the bond money on renovations, additions, and replacements that will both address the immediate problems and provide additional capacity for growth. The board has already been involved in review of the plan and I believe it provides for the most effective and efficient use of limited capital funds. The board should continue to follow the development of the detailed solution and its implementation.
The last question for the evening: What can the Board do to encourage walking and biking to school, given ever-increasing auto congestion?
After answering this question, feel free to go back and edit any of your previous answers and to give any closing statements you would like to give. This forum will officially close at 9:05 p.m. Some folks have posted questions and comments in the open thread. You can go to that thread if you'd like to continue the conversation. http://orangepolitics.org/elections-2015/forums/chccs-forum-open-thread
Work with the Commissioners and Local government to create better and safer bike lanes and sidewalks
Working with the towns to create safe paths for walking and biking as well as events encouraging students to walk/bike are two measures. When new schools are built, consider what is needed for safe routes for walking and biking to school.
If we can help ensure that students will be safe when they walk or bike to school this will ensure that parents feel that walking and biking are viable alternative forns of transportation for their children. The board should work closely with our partners in our town councils to understand the overall citywide strategy for biking and pedestrians thorughout our community. Together with city partners we should develop a joint plan around bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks and walkways that can keep our students safe when they choose to walk or bike to school.
Partner with Chapel Hill and Carrboro to ensure that areas around the schools have sidewalks and bike lanes that enable walking.
The district can also play a role in creating programs around walking or biking such as take your bike to school day or walk with a friend day.
I would collaborate with the towns when they first have development plans submitted to staff and to planning and advisory boards to seek designs that would encourage walking and biking to schools. I would encourage the Board to ask the Towns and developers as a matter of standard procedure to think about walkabililty and bike travel as part of the design process prior to submitting the final plans to the towns. I would work to increase the number of sidewalks and bike lanes when some streets are being repaired or widened.
When new schools are being planned, I would encourage that they be sited in such a way that encourages biking and walking.
The board can ensure that any new redistricting takes into account the inclusion of walk zones that truly allow walking/biking to schools.
The board can direct the district administration to work with the city and county to promote the addition/development of bike lanes greenways and sidewalks that allow pedestrian and bicycle traffic to get to the schools, and also work with transportation departments to install crosswalks with lights that would turn some barriers to expansion of walk zones into opportunities to walk to school.
I would also like to see the district poll parents of students that live in the walk zone but are still driven to school so we can understand why there are so many seemingly unnecessary cars in pick-up/drop off lines, and determine if a change in bus routes or schedules would correct this.
Thanks to Orange Politics for hosting this forum. Thank you to Barbara Fedders for moderating and thanks to all of you who are reading these comments.
I’m running because education is a critical foundation which impacts so many issues (hunger, violence, health outcomes, environment, etc.). When my family and I moved to the district we heard a lot about the high quality of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City schools (CHCCS). As I become more involved in the school system, I observed that the quality was largely the result of the engaged parents, students and community members and that the district at its core was not effectively educating all students. Teachers and administrators were working hard but in some cases lacked consistent direction and the necessary resources.
As a parent of four children, I have a strong motivation to work toward improved education outcomes for all children and the background to drive positive change in the district. My background includes:
Priority focus on raising outcomes for all children with particular focus on students who have historically been underserved. The gap in testing outcomes in some communities has been persistent and it is critical to raise this to the top of every agenda. A community is as successful as all the individuals who make it up. Because we’re all connected, everyone’s success matters.
Increased community interaction/communication
We are fortunate to have a strong, engaged community of parents and other interested parties in the district. I’d like to help the board strengthen communication by holding listening sessions and being more engaged in community events.
I ask for your support and will continue to engage to hear all voices as we work to improving education in Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools!
I would appreciate advice or feedback which you can provide at email@example.com or by visiting my website at: http://www.dasiforschoolboard.com/
Advocating for walking and biking is important to reducing emissions and auto congestion but equally important to improving overall health. Healthy kids learn better. There are efforts in place to increase walking and biking but for our district, there are some schools that do not have walk zones.
Reducing auto congestion is an effort taken on by the towns as they support public transit. I would advocate for more frequent bus routes to areas that support our teachers, staff and students. There are many families who do not have transportation and are prohibited from participating in some school activities because of the lack of public transit in their neighborhoods.
In closing, many thanks to OrangePolitics for the opportunity to engage with the community. It's my intent to continue to serve our students and staff with enthusiasm, thoughtful discourse, fiscal responsibility and accountability to our district's mission. I believe that all children have value and I want to support families in this district. Thanks to all who have supported me in the past and thanks to those who will in the coming days.
Thank you to Orange Politics for organizing this forum and thank you to everyone who logged on!
My vision is for a school system that produces young adults who achieve academic excellence, and also demonstrate social and emotional intelligence. I will work to create an environment in our district that places an emphasis on strong professional development and access to resources for teachers, and that will support evidence-based instructional excellence with measurable outcomes. I will ensure that district staff are held accountable for the effective implementation of the CHCCS long-range plan, while keeping the focus on student achievement. Over the past decade we have seen our district placed under increasing financial pressure and this has had pretty serious consequences for our students. Thankfully our community genuinely values education and we have found the will to make it work. As a professional who has worked in early childhood education and disability services in North Carolina, I have managed the allocation of large budgets and overseen complex programs. I have extensive experience with funding for education in our State and community, and I am profoundly committed to ensuring a well-funded future for our schools. We must engage parents, support teachers, ensure that district staff are meeting goals, and that the Board is fully engaged in shaping the strategic outcomes of our district. I ask for your vote and promise that I will be a transparent and accessible board member who will ensure the highest outcomes possible for our children.
Thank you and I hope you will cast your vote for Margaret Samuels. Please log onto the link below for additional information or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Vote for Gregg Gerdau will add a sensible and balanced voice to the decisions made on behalf of our children and our community by the School Board: The three most pressing issues are preparing our students and our schools for the future by implementing better technologies with adequate support and training. As a board member, I will carefully examine and question all proposals and plans to ensure sensible goals are met.
Second, we must stop losing good teachers to other locations and industries. I will support Project Advance to retain and reward great teachers. And I will advocate repositioning our recruiting policies, practices and budgets to successfully attract new teachers.
Third, I will require analysis to inform the Board of the value of every Budget Proposal to students now and in the future. I will not recommend or vote for anything without enough information to help ensure Board decisions are prudently making the most of the resources we have available to our School District.
I look forward to continue to serve the children of our community on the Board of Education.
Thank you for allowing to participate in this forum. I am running to:
We have a lot to be proud of in our schools; we lead the state in many measures. However, this masks a gap in performance between some segments of our community. We've tried to close this gap in the past. But we are stronger when we try together. I am convinced that with the right leadership, we can address the disparities in our schools in more meaningful and effective ways than ever before.
We need leaderships that is transparent and willing to orchestrate the many different resources in our community. We need a singular plan to make our schools stronger that includes parents, teachers, administrators, local government and the community. We need honesty and inclusion, and a plan based on consensus, not compromise.
If you agree with this, I hope that you will support me with your vote for Pat Heinrich. Thank you.
If you are interested in learning more, please visit http://patheinrich.org
If you have questions, reach out to me at: email@example.com
Like me on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patforCHCCS
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