Asking – Listening – Advocating
Monika has been traveling across District 2 asking and listening to parents and students.
She has heard many concerns and is advocating on their behalf for:
I am running for School Board to ensure equality in our schools, parents have a voice, teachers receive more support, and all students have access to a quality education. I will be a passionate advocate to ensure all school children will have access to an education that enhances their abilities and interests. I am dedicated to advocating for our teachers so they receive the support they need to provide a quality education and return to teach year after year. I am committed to making sure that parents have a voice on the School Board on issues that affect their families and District 2.
Quality Education for All Students
I believe every child—regardless of where they live—deserves an equal opportunity to learn with today’s technology and be exposed to innovations of the future, innovations that will prepare our children for the modern global workforce. I will work to make sure:
- The School Board is putting children first, not politics! The focus should be on student achievement for each child while at the same time making sure District 2 is a great place to educate our children.
- Equal access across District 2 to rigorous academic opportunities that prepare students to compete in todays—and tomorrow’s—workforce.
- Collaboration with the business and civic community to support our schools and help our local economy.
Amplifying the Voice of Parents
I believe parents are vital to how and what a child learns before they start school. Parents I have talked with want to make sure their child is learning the needed skills to succeed in school. They understand there is more to their child’s ability than what is often reflected in test scores. The system needs a more comprehensive approach to determining student achievement. I will work to ensure parents and residents have a voice in School Board decisions by:
- Asking and listening to what parents need through community meetings across District 2.
- Advocating for the needs of families across District 2.
- Working to find ways the school board can strengthen the school to home connection and communications.
- Creating ways to improve parent and community engagement by listening to teachers and parents.
I will ask and listen to what teachers need in order to find ways to provide them additional support. I will also:
- Advocate for teacher assistants in the lower grades.
- Support an increase of local supplemental pay so our school system does not lose qualified and experienced teachers.
- Expand professional development opportunities to help teachers keep up with new curriculum standards and related instructional strategies.
Creating Quality Educational Environments
To me this means creating schools where teachers want to teach and students learn using cutting edge technology. We need to make sure we are helping, not hindering, our teachers and their students!
- I am committed to improving classroom resources, including access to technology, at each school because it is proven to increase student achievement.
- I believe we must prepare all children for the modern global workforce that includes educating them on how to understand and utilize technology.
- I will push for a review of existing policies to ensure they encourage improvement of our school environments.
- I will protect and expand our magnet system and to support policies that discourage concentrations of disadvantaged students.
Every school must have a clear plan that ensures each child reaches grade level (or higher) at the end of each school year. This must be the focus from the very first day of school. Every principal must be held accountable for working with teachers and parents to determine the appropriate pathway to success for each child. Whether it is a plan to help a child reach grade level or a plan to allow a child to soar beyond their grade level; we must not allow one child to fall behind nor allow one child to remain unchallenged academically. Just as I do not believe that teachers should be judged solely on one or two student test scores, I also do not believe that a child’s “achievement” should solely be based on one or two test scores. The skill set that each child needs to move from grade to grade or from high school to job or college is broader than “student achievement” in the assessment world. As a member of the School Board, I will work to make sure our student achievement levels increase at all of the schools in District 2 by:
- Working with the Superintendent and members of the school board to set clear goals to improve student achievement at each school.
- Advocating for adequate funding, strong leadership from the Central Office leadership, and professional development opportunities for teachers so they are always at the top of their game.
- Working to ensure teachers have the time and support to meet new curriculum standards that require teachers and teacher assistants to learn and develop new instructional materials.
Funding for Schools
The value of public education as the cornerstone to our democracy has been overshadowed in recent years and our teachers have been under attack. Our schools are severely underfunded. I will be a strong advocate for increased funding so our schools can operate effectively and our children’s education is not compromised. Our state and federal constitution requires that every child receive a free, high quality education and that is what I will fight for. I will:
- Advocate for continued investment in our public school system to our county commissioners and the local delegation of state representatives.
- Work to ensure as WakeCounty adds new schools that it is also a priority to keep existing school facilities up to date and so all schools are academically successful.
- Build relationships with the organizations asking the NC General Assembly for increased funding for schools.
Wake County School Bond
It is the decision of the Wake County Commissioners to determine the best way to collect funds for school construction and renovation not the School Board’s role. The School System, working with the County Commission, carries out the construction and renovations of schools, once a bond is passed. I do support the School Bond because there are clear needs for renovation in our older schools. Wake County could see 20,000 additional students by 2018, according to a report by the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. I know that Garner and Fuquay-Varina, as well as many other across the county, have been waiting a long time to improve their facilities. I believe we must provide high quality learning environments for all students. Our community cannot be a great place to live or start a business without adequate schools preparing a skilled workforce. In addition to my support for the school bond, I will advocate to making sure we are using existing space efficiently and always looking for innovative ways to stretch our resources so that we keep the burden on taxpayers as low as possible. District 2 is included in the bond and if passed build a new high school in Garner as well as renovations and upgrades other schools in Garner and Fuquay-Varina.
Racial Disparity and School Suspensions
A child can only learn and achieve if they are in the classroom and they are behaving appropriately. Research shows that students of color are suspended more often for non-violent violations than their counterparts. The same studies show that suspensions increase the probability of these students dropping out of school and not graduating from high school. I believe we need to look for other alternatives and strategies to deal with behavior/discipline problems. We must work with teachers to make sure they have the support of the principal and the parents/guardians. It does not serve our community well if our students fail grades or drop out of school due to problems with discipline at school that leads to expulsions. Making better progress in this area will increase student performances in schools and increase graduation rates.
- I will work with students, parents, teachers, principals and the Superintendent to identify ways to keep kids in school, successful and on track to graduate from high school.
- I support the review of suspensions for Level One Offenses (talking back, being tardy, etc.) and seek ways to effective deal with these violations with using out of school suspension.
- I will work to improve the relationship between parents and the school. Research shows that resolving minor behavior problems in a positive manner can keep them from escalating to more serious behavior problems at school or home in addition to keeping students in school.
- I believe school resources officers, administrators, and teachers should have the training needed to address behavior problems in ways that keep children on track and in school whenever possible.