In the coming years, Minnetonka Public Schools will have to tackle many complex issues. Patch asked this year’s School Board candidates about how they’d handle some of the major issues facing the district.
Today’s question is:
- What issue or program would you like Minnetonka Public Schools to focus on more? What issue or program would you like Minnetonka Public Schools to focus on less?
Minnetonka Public Schools’ focus on child center excellence by providing a wide variety of educational choices and models needs to continue.
Child Centered Innovation, designed to deliver incremental measurable results and meet the financial realities of public education, will need continued focus across our district. One area that more focus is needed is differentiated learning, across multiple subjects and accommodating multiple learning styles.
The District’s commitment to increase options in World Language is commendable. Continued focus is needed to ensure the students and teachers have the resources to extend the classroom-based learning. Investments are needed in target language books; guided reading materials and other resources at all levels.
As a member of the Board for the past eight years, I have worked hard to be responsive to the needs of our students, the concerns of parents, and challenges facing our staff. Overall, I am pleased with the direction of the Minnetonka School District. Student achievement and engagement, staff attraction and retention, and parental satisfaction have improved each year that I have been a member of the Board but we must remain responsive to the needs of each of these groups. In the next four years, I will focus on continuing to achieve superior academic results for our students, recruit and retain outstanding staff, and meet the expectations of our parents and our community. There is nothing more important than this and we need to focus on academic achievement of our student as much as we possibly can.
As for what I wish we could focus on less, I wish we did not have to worry about having adequate funds to support the needs of our students. There is a lot of effort that Board members and Administrators place on lobbying the legislature for funding and policy changes as well as time needed to run referendum campaigns. Although I do not believe that this time has negatively impacted students, I wonder how we could have used that time to benefit our students, staff and community.
I think Minnetonka schools should focus more on developing engineering and technology curriculum in the elementary schools. There are games and other software out there to start our kids learning beginning computer coding, application development and other skills that will be integral to the jobs of tomorrow. The language of technology is one that our kindergarteners need to be fluent in buy the time they graduate.
I believe that we need to give each and every issue its due diligence. I don’t feel that the Minnetonka School District is fixating on any issue that has already been settled or is no longer relevant. Each program that we have in place needs to be regularly monitored. There have been several programs that have evolved along the way through parent and educator reevaluation. Any program that we as a district commit to needs to be maintained.
- In addition to our overall goal of a world class, child centered education for each Minnetonka student, there are 4 specific goals that the Board set for the district that best represent where our focus should be in 2013-2014. Our board goals can be found at: http://minnetonka.k12.mn.us/administration/Board/Pages/Goals.aspx
- Successfully launch the Vantage program and develop 1-2 additional courses that are relevant for all students in 11-12th grade,
- Implement high priority innovate ideas that will result in greater student engagement, achievement, and financial results. Prepare to launch 3 new programs in 2013-2014 (Tonka Online, Summer Academy and Tonka Coding/Programming)
- Deepen implementation of high impact programs already underway including: 21st Century Fluencies in our curriculum, IPAD program, World languages, high school rigor and understanding and removing barriers to success for all students.
- Implement an all-day K program in fall 2014.
- Programs that we focus on less are those that are no longer meeting the needs of the students or relevant to our curricular goals.