Why Me and Why Now?
As a life-long Park Hill School District resident who has been a student-athlete, coach, parent, and mentor serving this community for over 30 years, I am passionate about returning our school district to being an industry leader and one of the top public school districts in the country. I am a facilitator who has a skillset to help bring about positive change and restore a culture and identity that seems to have been lost along the way. As a district we should be striving for excellence in all facets of education, demanding accountability and proper oversight, improving our facilities so that they are at the forefront and making sure our educators and students feel safe, well supported and are excited about coming to school.
I’m running for the Park Hill School Board because I feel called and convicted to do everything in my power to improve upon a district that is falling behind in a multitude of categories. I have spent a life’s work within the district and feel that it is my civic duty to be proactive and not just sit back and watch the district deteriorate further. Our district’s brand and culture has been lost – our facilities, school pride and commitment to excellence as a district have taken a hit over the past decade. I’m running to help shape a future where Park Hill becomes the district of choice again. It is time to restore Park Hill to greatness!
How do we do that? First, the school board must be connected with the community and it must pay attention to what is going on in other neighboring districts. The vision and policies should reflect the community it serves, making the district more competitive – not less. Being connected with many families as a coach, mentor, and serving the community’s legal needs in my profession, it is my privilege and passion to serve you and be connected to the community as a whole – to be your advocator and facilitator.
HOW DO WE RETURN PARK HILL TO GREATNESS?
Four Key Focuses:
The Park Hill School District is significantly behind its neighboring schools in the Kansas City area when it comes to facilities and resources. We have gone from being an industry leader to being less than competitive. How many years will our students be educated in trailers or steel boxes? Parents of elementary and middle school students are now exploring other options outside of the Park Hill District for their student’s educational opportunities. For example, parents are looking at private schools and/or moving to a neighboring district versus remaining in the Park Hill District. We are failing to keep our appeal to our own community. Facility improvement and innovations in all areas is long overdue and must not be pushed to the wayside any longer. The district needs outside the box thinking to bring in private revenue streams and to explore corporate partnerships. A review and restructuring of the current budget also needs to occur so that our students are not left with subpar facilities and resources that are only getting worse.
The Park Hill School District should use student utilization and data-driven metrics to audit and evaluate where money is spent. Is our current budget helping achieve district goals and the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan (CSIP) in serving our students and faculty? In addition, how can we pay staff members more? When neighboring school districts have a higher base salary and better benefits, is our reputation enough to bring in new, quality candidates and keep the ones we currently have? We also have a substitute shortage. Is a raise in the pay for substitutes being considered? Many highly qualified retired educators are no longer subbing in Park Hill due to receiving lower pay than neighboring districts. Are we spending too much in other areas? Can we stop spending money where there is limited student return on investment? All of these questions are items I believe need to be addressed.
Access & Inclusion
The Park Hill School District must ensure opportunities for success of all students, regardless of background, socio-economics, race, gender, and religion. It is vitally important that all district students feel comfortable, safe and connected in order to excel in a productive learning environment. How do we create low stress and low conflict situations for our students and teachers so learning stays the focus? It is necessary for fellow students, staff members and administrators to promote access and inclusion, diversity, equity and unity within the district. At the same time, it is equally essential for all district students to be equipped with requisite conflict management skills, including the ability to process and control their emotions and to combat issues that divide the student body and student-educator relationships. Our district needs to make sure our teachers are properly supported by the administration in controlling their classrooms and the conduct of students. It is also a necessity to have effective policies in place that mandate professionalism and appropriate behavior for all students with procedures spelled out that have consequences for actions that violate the student handbook.
Special Needs & Education
The Park Hill School District must close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for students with special needs. The district needs a research-based curriculum that encompasses a sustainable approach to inclusion, differentiation of learning programs and activities, and a range of assessments to support teaching and learning. A curriculum that encourages teachers and school leaders to focus not only on the academic aspects of education but the social and emotional growth of the student. In addition, the value of parent input is paramount and promotes the forming of parent partnerships to enhance student learning and wellbeing. The inclusion of students who receive special education services accompanied by the same high expectations and opportunities as general education students are a necessity. Special education classrooms and teachers need to have the proper equipment and professional development required to meet the needs of their students. Current practices should be reviewed and modified to successfully raise achievement for students with special needs.